Small Asteroid to Fly Between Earth and Moon Today

Asteroid 2010 WC9
will make a close approach to Earth today
(5/15/18) at 3:04 p.m. PDT (6:04 p.m.
EDT, 22:04 UTC). At the
time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no
closer to
Earth’s surface than about 120,000 miles (200,000 kilometers),
which is about
half the distance between Earth and the Moon.
2010 WC9 is about 200 to 400 feet (50 to 120 meters)
The asteroid’s velocity at the time of closest approach will be
about 29,000
mph (8 miles per second, 12.8 kilometers per
second). This flyby is the closest approach
2010 WC9 will make
to Earth for at least two centuries.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 was discovered on Nov. 30, 2010, by the
NASA-sponsored Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, and
was tracked for about 10 days
before it faded from view.
calculations in 2010 ruled out any chance that the
asteroid could pose a threat
to our planet in 2018, but the
distance of this year’s close approach could not
be predicted
precisely until the asteroid was detected again last week as
approached our planet once again.

JPL hosts the Center
for Near-Earth Object Studies for NASA’s
Near-Earth Object Observations
Program, an element of the
Planetary Defense Coordination Office within the
Science Mission Directorate.

More information
about asteroids and near-Earth objects can be
found at:

more information about NASA’s Planetary Defense
Coordination Office, visit:

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News Media Contact

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


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