Queen's University

Asteroid will come close to hitting earth on Feb. 15: Queen's University expert

2013-02-28

Queen’s University astronomy professor David Hanes is available to discuss the 45-metre wide asteroid that is passing by Earth on Feb. 15. Asteroid 2012 DA14 is expected to pass closer to Earth than any other object ever recorded.

NASA is holding a press conference on Thursday Feb. 7 to talk about the asteroid flyby and to assure people the asteroid will not hit Earth and there is no danger.

“Our awareness that we are in a 'cosmic shooting gallery' has been heightened in recent years by continuing astronomical discoveries of large numbers of asteroids, some of them quite large, in potentially dangerous orbits. If one of these were to hit the Earth, the effects could be catastrophic for human civilization. NASA's press conference is reassuring on the one hand, as it confirms that asteroid DA14 poses no immediate threat as it narrowly skims by the Earth this time. But the conference also reminds us of the great importance of monitoring the solar system to identify the many thousands of asteroids that will present future threats, and emphasizes the need to develop a means of averting such a calamity in the perhaps not-so-distant future,” says Dr. Hanes, the former head of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy at Queen’s.

Please note that Dr. Hanes has limited availability between 1:30 pm and 5 pm on Thursday, Feb. 7.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi (office: 613.533.6000 ext. 77513, michael.onesi@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (office: 613-533-2877, Anne.Craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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