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NASA reports Asteroid 2002 AJ129 to Fly Safely Past Earth February 4th

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to Earth on February 4th, 2018 at 1:30pm PST (3:30pm CST / 21:30 UTC). At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon (about 2.6 million miles, or 4.2 million kilometers).

2002 AJ129 is an intermediate-sized near-Earth asteroid, somewhere between 0.3 miles (0.5 kilometers) and 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) across. It was discovered on January 15th, 2002, by the former NASA-sponsored Near Earth Asteroid Tracking project at the Maui Space Surveillance Site on Haleakala, Hawaii.

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make its closest approach to Earth on February 4th, 2018, at 1:30pm PST (3:30pm CST). At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make its closest approach to Earth on February 4th, 2018, at 1:30pm PST (3:30pm CST). At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The asteroid’s velocity at the time of closest approach, 76,000 mph (34 kilometers per second), is higher than the majority of near-Earth objects during an Earth flyby.

The high flyby velocity is a result of the asteroid’s orbit, which approaches very close to the Sun — 11 million miles (18 million kilometers). Although asteroid 2002 AJ129 is categorized as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA), it does not pose an actual threat of colliding with our planet for the foreseeable future.

“We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “Our calculations indicate that asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance – zero – of colliding with Earth on February 4th or any time over the next 100 years.”

JPL hosts the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program, an element of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office within the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects can be found at:

https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

For more information about NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense

For asteroid and comet news and updates, follow AsteroidWatch on Twitter:

twitter.com/AsteroidWatch


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