Saturday, January 28, 2012
An asteroid the size of a city bus passed between the Earth and the moon on Friday, making one of the closest approaches to our planet in recorded history, scientists said.
Asteroid 2012 BX34 — discovered on Wednesday and considered “small” at 11 meters in diameter — never posed any threat to Earth.
“It’s one of the closest approaches recorded,” Gareth Williams, associate director of the U.S.-based Minor Planet Center, told BBC News.
“It makes it in to the top 20 closest approaches, but it’s sufficiently far away… that there’s absolutely no chance of it hitting us.”
The asteroid traveled within 60,000 kilometres of the Earth on its closest approach at 10:30 E.T. The average distance to the moon is roughly 385,000 km.
It would have likely broken into pieces if it entered our atmosphere, according to NASA scientists.
It’s common for asteroids to cross the Earth’s orbit but it’s rare for them to make contact.
On Nov. 8, 2005 YU55 — an asteroid size of an aircraft carrier — passed by Earth, although it didn’t come as close as Friday’s event.
NASA announced in September they’d identified about 90% of large nearby asteroids that could pose a threat to the Earth.
Large asteroids are generally the size of a mountain or bigger, according to Space.com.
An asteroid or comet between five and 10 km in diameter is believed to have smashed into Earth some 65 million years ago, triggering global climate changes that led to the extinction of dinosaurs and other animals.
National Post, with a file from news services
Friday, January 13, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 (Bernama) -- Payment of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) or 1Malaysia People's Aid will start this January 15, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah announced Thursday. In a statement here, Ahmad Husni said the BR1M payments will be made in the form of cash vouchers.
"Special events to hand over the BR1M vouchers to successful applicants will be held in batches nationwide," he said. The vouchers will be handed over a period of two months until March 15. "This is to ensure that payments are made in an orderly and smooth manner so that no one who is deserving of the assistance is left out."
Ahmad Husni said all applicants will be informed of their results via post. "During the two months, each successful applicant will receive an acknowledgement letter informing them of the date and venue for the collection of their vouchers," he said.
The letters will be sent out in stages. Applicants meanwhile can also check the status of their application by calling the hotline 1-800-222-500/1-300-88-3010 from January 16 onwards. The toll free line will be operational from 9am till 5pm each working day.
A statement from the ministry also said that in order to make it easy for the people to cash their BR1M vouchers, the government will get ready mobile Bank Simpanan Nasional, CIMB and Maybank counters during the special events to handover the vouchers. The vouchers, valid until April 15 this year, could be also cashed at any branch of the three banks in the country.
As of January 10, there have been 4,123,713 applications for the BR1M assistance from the whole country. From these applications, 3,850,668 applications have been entered into the data system for verification. As of January 10, a total of 3,102,054 applications have been also approved. The rest of the applications are undergoing verification and this is expected to be completed by January 13.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Husni said for late applicants the government has also decided to extend the deadline for sending in the BR1M applications by another month to February 10. The public can send in their BR1M applications to branch offices of the Inland Revenue Board or other related agencies until February 10. "Those who are unsuccessful can also appeal," Ahmad Husni added.
The Finance Ministry has also prepared a special form of appeal for the BR1M and this is available at all IRB branch offices and related government agencies. Alternatively, the form for the appeal can be also downloaded from the ministry's website at (www.treasury.gov.my).
Source: Bernama Online, 12 Jan 2012