Eyes on Asteroids

The asteroid 1862 Apollo is whizzing by Earth today. While it doesn’t pose a danger, scientists say it’s just a matter of time before an asteroid puts the planet in its sights.

(AP Photo )


May 8, 2007

Hello, 1862 Apollo.

Yes, your visit will be quick as you whip by planet Earth today, and you aren’t getting close enough for us to get a good look unless we have a pretty good telescope in our backyard. But every time an asteroid comes close, we start to wonder when we will get hit.
No one is worried about 1862 Apollo hitting Earth — its approach puts it 6.84 million miles away as it passes by. So named because it was the 1,862nd asteroid to be discovered, 1862 Apollo travels with a tiny moon as well.

The Odds

What are the odds an asteroid will hit Earth again? Pretty good, according to some experts.
There are millions of shooting stars, and about 200,000 to 400,000 of them get close enough to be classified as asteroids that could come within range of Earth. But it only takes one as anyone who has studied the dinosaurs will tell you.

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