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SPACE 15 Feb 2013 Another asteroid passes by
Asteroid 2012 DA14 passes by Earth on Feb 15 almost on the tail of asteroid Apophis, which passed by on Jan 9. Though only 185-foot-wide and puny compared

February 15, 2013 - NULL

SPACE 15 Feb 2013 Another asteroid passes by
Asteroid 2012 DA14 passes by Earth on Feb 15 almost on the tail of asteroid Apophis, which passed by on Jan 9. Though only 185-foot-wide and puny compared to 1065-foot-wide Apophis, 2012 DA14 is causing some anxiety because it will pass inside the orbit of geostationary satellites. Asteroids represent a lurking worry because they can't be counted on to miss Earth. Some quarters see only opportunity in them. NASA is assessing the feasibility of a proposal that involves landing on one of the thousands of near-Earth asteroids

SPACE 15 Feb 2013 Another asteroid passes by
Asteroid 2012 DA14 passes by Earth on Feb 15 almost on the tail of asteroid Apophis, which passed by on Jan 9. Though only 185-foot-wide and puny compared to 1065-foot-wide Apophis, 2012 DA14 is causing some anxiety because it will pass inside the orbit of geostationary satellites. Asteroids represent a lurking worry because they can't be counted on to miss Earth. Some quarters see only opportunity in them. NASA is assessing the feasibility of a proposal that involves landing on one of the thousands of near-Earth asteroids. The technologies developed to accomplish the feat would benefit future missions to Mars and Deep Space. Planetary Resources wants to mine the rocky, metallic bodies for platinum and other rare materials.

Space.com notes that a 2004 study predicted a 2.7 per cent chance of Apophis hitting Earth when it returns in Apr 2029 and passes within 22,364 miles of the planet. The risk was recently downgraded. Apophis returns again in 2036.

The landing proposal before NASA includes the identification of the right asteroid, capturing and exploring it. A robotic spacecraft would transport the body to the lunar orbit by 2025.

At least one private company isn't planning to wait for NASA or other space agencies to move forward on asteroid exploitation. Slate magazine reports that Eric Anderson, co-founder of space tourism company Space Adventures in 1998, launched Planetary Resources in 2010 to develop the technology to use robots to mine asteroids for platinum group minerals. The president of Planetary Resources is the former NASA engineer Chris Lewicki, who was flight director for Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The company has assembled some 40 engineers, including NASA veterans, to move the plan ahead. Ross Perot Jr., Google's Chief Executive Officer Larry Page, Chairman Eric Schmidt and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Co-Chairman John C. Whitehead are among the big names who have bought into the plan. (WRITTEN JAN 2013)

KEYWORDS: Asteroid 2012 DA14, asteroid Apophis, Planetary Resources, asteroid, asteroids, asteroid mining, platinum, rare minerals, asteroid landing, Space Adventures, Eric Anderson, NASA, robots, geostationary orbit, satellites, Space news

RELATED READING:

NASA Eyes Wild Plan to Drag Asteroid Near the Moon (Space.com 8 Jan 2013)
http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-eyes-wild-plan-drag-asteroid-near-moon-133639284.html

So You're Going to Mine Asteroids? Oh, Really (Slate 19 Aug 2012)
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2012/08/asteroid_mining_by_planetary_resources_google_billionaires_are_backing_an_outlandish_venture_.html

Space Law: Is Asteroid Mining Legal? (Wired News 1 May 2012)
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/opinion-asteroid-mining/

Near-Miss Asteroids of 2012 and Beyond (Top Secret Writers May 2013)
http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2012/04/near-miss-asteroids-of-2012-and-beyond/

Celestial flybys set to thrill (AFP 6 Feb 2013) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gBZkBVsWTUwSfKhB-RpYDfh79wZA?docId=CNG.1886228dc630be395bc5b0e8d90b791f.01

Potentially Dangerous Asteroid Apophis Bigger Than Thought (8 Jan 2013)
http://www.space.com/19193-asteroid-apophis-bigger-live-webcasts.html

Date written/update: 2013-02-15