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asteroid-2012-xe43-photo.jpg
A 60-second exposure of near-Earth asteroid 2012 XE54 streaking through the sky on Dec. 11, 2012, during a close flyby that brought it inside the moon's orbit. (Image courtesy Space.com/Ernesto Guido & Nick Howes, Remanzacco Observatory)

Nothing to worry about

Last week I told you about NASA's comforting web video reassuring us that the Mayan Calendar does NOT in fact predict the end of the world nine days from now.

It's just the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one.

Dan Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object program put up the video because of Mayan-inspired concerns about an encounter with a rogue planet.

"This enormous planet is supposed to be coming towards Earth, but if it were we would have seen it long ago," explains Yeomans

Making the point that all this Mayan stuff is a lot of bunk. And then, what pops onto my screen Tuesday but a story from Space.com.

"A newfound asteroid gave Earth a close shave early today (Tuesday,) zipping between our planet and the moon just two days after astronomers first spotted it," the story read.

Several words jump out from that story, the words "newfound" and "just two days", indicating this was a surprise and that we wouldn't have had much time to aim our anti-asteroid rockets, much less build some.

The phrase "between our planet and the moon" is also slightly unsettling, because that seems closer than you'd want nine days from the end of the meaningless Mayan Calendar.

Of course astronomers will point out that this asteroid was just 120 feet across and even though it was between the earth and the moon, it was still 140,000 miles away. But they also point out that a similar asteroid flattened 800 square miles of Siberian forest in 1908, and I want to point out that 140,000 miles is less than what's on my car's odometer.

I'm still willing to believe the Mayan stuff is bunk, but no more surprise asteroids before Christmas, OK?

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
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