All eyes were on the sky on 17th February, 2014. While NASA was ready for planetary defense if something would happen. They were closely watching the presumably harmless object with an approximate diameter of three football fields. Astronauts were worried because of what happened the last year, when a meteorite showed up unexpectedly over Russia then exploded. This event of the tiny asteroid is a reminder of last year’s event in Chelyabinsk, Russia when an asteroid exploded 18 miles above Siberia and released the equivalent energy of over 20 atomic bombs.
Astronomers stated that the near-Earth object will make its closest approach on 17th February, 2014; starting at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and the moment will be monitored by the robotic telescope Slooh from the Canary Islands. The asteroid that passed near Earth posed no threat to people and it passed at a safe distance from the Earth. NASA was ready for planetary defense thanks to its newest program, Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).
According to what the agency intend to do in the next decade, there would be a robotic system which would be able to grab any asteroid for 12 meter and put it into the space “shopping bag,” and then push it to the Moon. The Astronauts will be sent on the asteroid in an Orion spacecraft in order to take some samples and then return them to Earth. Although, the problem with the agency’s plan is that the small objects do not reflect plenty of sunlight; so they cannot be spotted. “The best time to discover them is when they are brightest, when they are close to Earth,” Chodas said.