Asteroid 2012 DA14, probably made of rock and measuring about 150 feet in diameter, will fly past the Earth on February 15 at a speed of 5 miles per second.
It will only be 17,200 miles above us at the closest point – closer than the moon and many satellites.
The asteroid was first noticed last year by Spanish astronomers. “There really hasn’t been a close approach that we know about for an object of this size,” says Donald Yeomans of NASA in an NPR story.
Oh yeah? Well, there has been in science fiction!
One of my favorite books is Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It’s a harrowing tale of 16-year-old Miranda trying to survive with her family in Pennsylvania after a meteor hits the moon and causes worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions that block out the sun.
Meanwhile, in New York City, Alex Morales is trying to take care of his sisters. His struggle is described in Pfeffer’s The Dead and the Gone.
Finally the paths cross for Miranda and Alex in This World We Live In.