[an error occurred while processing this directive] BBC World Service | Learning English | News English - Words in the News
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

You are in: Home > General & Business English
Words in the News
Friday 19 March 2004
Space rock makes closest flyby
A Nasa impression of an asteroid hitting the Earth The United States Space Agency, NASA, says that a newly discovered asteroid, thirty metres in diameter, is about to make the closest approach to Earth ever recorded.This report from Helen Briggs.
Listen Listen to the story
The asteroid will brush past our planet within the orbit of the Moon coming as close as the orbit of many satellites. It should be visible through binoculars from parts of Europe, Asia and most of the Southern Hemisphere as a faint star-like object moving slowly across the sky. The asteroid was spotted on Monday during an automated survey by a pair of NASA telescopes.

Similar-sized objects are believed to pass close to the Earth every two years or so but aren't normally detected in advance. NASA says there's no danger of this asteroid hitting the planet. And even if it did, at 30 metres across, it would probably break up in the atmosphere and only small pieces would reach the ground.
It's a reminder, nevertheless, of the risks of near-Earth objects -- there are believed to be more than a thousand asteroids with the potential to collide with the planet at some point in the future.

Helen Briggs, BBC Science
Listen Listen to the words
brush past
to pass very close to something, almost touching it
the curved path an object follows when it goes around a moon, a planet or the sun
it can be seen
not very bright or clear
similar to a star
seen, noticed
a reminder
something that makes you think of something else
collide with
hit, crash into
at some point in the future
any time in the future
blue arrow Read more about this story
Link to Chinese English language teaching pagesLink to Arabic English language teaching pagesLink to Russian English language teaching pagesLink to Spanish English language teaching pages
A space gif
A grey bar A grey bar A grey bar