While NASA insists that there is no chance of it striking the Earth, asteroid 2012 EG5 will buzz by on Sunday at an alarmingly close distance. The asteroid measures around 150 feet wide and is roughly the size of a passenger jet. At 4:32 A.M. Central Standard Time, EG5 will pass the Earth at a distance of just 143,000 miles. To give you an idea of what that means, the Earth’s single moon orbits at 238,000 miles away. So, the asteroid will be a little more than half the distance between the Earth and the moon.
NASA’s Asteroid Watch program has been monitoring Asteroid EG5 non-stop and says that it will pass without incident. It is the third asteroid to come precariously close to the Earth in just a week’s time. On Monday, March 26, 2012, two smaller asteroids, FP35 and FS35, both passed even closer than EG5 is expected to. FP35 was just 96,000 miles from Earth, while FS35, despite being only the size of an automobile, passed at 36,000 miles out.
While NASA vigilantly declares that none of the asteroid trio poses any danger to the Earth, they were all large enough that if they did enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they would not burn up completely. This means that if they were on the correct heading to strike the surface, it would happen. A slightly disturbing fact here is that the asteroid that will pass so close tomorrow was only discovered on March 13, just a few weeks ago. This helps fuel fears that an asteroid that no one has discovered could be on a one-way trip to the Earth’s surface with possible cataclysmic results. There is no word from NASA as to why these asteroids seem to be passing Earth this close so frequently.