But Damn- this thing (2004 MN4) is going to be close. So close they are predicting that parts of the world will be able to see it with the naked eye. Let's turn it over to Paul Chodas, Steve Chesley, Jon Giorgini and Don Yeomans over at NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office-
Radar observations taken at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on January 27, 29, and 30 have significantly improved our estimate for the orbit of asteroid 2004 MN4 and changed the circumstances of the Earth close approach in 2029. On April 13, 2029, the predicted trajectory now passes within 5.7 Earth radii (36,350 km or 22,600 miles) of the Earth's center - just below the altitude of geosynchronous Earth satellites. However, an Earth collision in 2029 is still ruled out. The asteroid's motion subsequent to the 2029 Earth close approach is very sensitive to the circumstances of the close approach itself and a number of future Earth close approaches will be monitored as additional observations are received. However, our current risk analysis for 2004 MN4 indicates that no subsequent Earth encounters in the 21st century are of concern.
And at 1049 feet long, it's a damn good thing this isn't going to hit. For a good example of an what happened when an asteroid about this size smacked the earth, check out the following page from the soon-to-be-added to the blogroll-University of Arizona Space Imagery site-Interactive Map of Terrestrial Impact Craters-
The Barringer Meteorite Crater
That's a crater nearly a mile wide and 570 feet deep. And the blast range killed or wounded most animals within around 15 miles. If something this size hit Nashville, you are talking around 1 million people immediately dead.
Regular readers of this site know the next point I'm going to make -
WE NEED TO PREPARE AND TEST AN ASTEROID MITIGATION PROGRAM RIGHT FREAKING NOW. NO OTHER NASA PROJECTS UNTIL A B612 PROGRAM IS COMPLETED.
See here for more info on the B612 Foundation..