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(29075) 1950 DA

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Asteroid 1950 DA

(29075) 1950 DA is an asteroid considered to be the near Earth object with the highest known probability of crashing into Earth, according to the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale. However, for a few days in December 2004 it was temporarily surpassed by 2004 MN4.

This Mars-crosser asteroid was first discovered on February 23, 1950 by Carl A. Wirtanen at Lick Observatory; it was observed for 17 days and then faded from view for half a century. Then, an object discovered on December 31, 2000 (provisionally designated 2000 YK66) was recognized as being the long-lost 1950 DA.

It has been given the number 29075, but does not have a name.

General information

Radar observations were made at the Goldstone and Arecibo Observatory from March 3 to 7, 2001 during the asteroid's 7.8 Gm approach to the Earth (a distance 21 times larger than that separating the Earth and Moon). Radar echoes revealed a slightly asymmetrical spheroid with a mean diameter of 1.1 km. Optical observations showed the asteroid rotated once every 2.1 hours, the second fastest spin rate ever observed for an asteroid its size.

Due to its relatively fast spin, it is thought to be fairly dense. If it continues on its present orbit, it will approach near to the Earth on March 16, 2880 with the probability of impact being 1300. The energy released by a collision with 1950 DA would cause an extinction event, destroying most life on the planet.

Since the re-discovery of 1950 DA, scientists have been considering various asteroid deflection strategies.

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The minor planets
Vulcanoids | Main belt | Groups and families | Near-Earth objects | Jupiter Trojans
Centaurs | Trans-Neptunians | Damocloids | Comets | Kuiper belt | Oort cloud
(For other objects and regions, see: Binary asteroids, Asteroid moons and the Solar system)
(For a complete listing, see: List of asteroids. For pronunciation, see: Pronunciation of asteroid names.)
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