While, admittedly, it would make for fantastic TV viewing... We're probably better off not colliding with it, in the long run.
Near-Miss Asteroid Highlights Earth's Risk Of A Nuke-Sized Collision
“Earth is a moving target, traveling around the sun at 65,000 miles per hour. [Asteroid 2012 DA14] is missing us by only about 14 minutes."--former astronaut Ed
The asteroid 2012 DA14, which will come within about 17,000 miles of Earth (The moon is 238,000 miles from Earth) on February 15, is about half the size of a football stadium, and in a collision would generate an explosive energy equivalent to 2,500 kilotons of TNT. In comparison, the atomic bomb over Hiroshima that instantly killed more than 70,000 people released “merely” the equivalent of 17 kilotons of TNT. Seventeen-thousand miles seems like plenty of room, but in cosmic terms, it's an awfully close shave. “Remember, the Earth is a moving target, traveling around the sun at 65,000 miles per hour,” former astronaut Ed Lu said in a public appearance at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research earlier this month. “So [the asteroid] is missing us by only about 14 minutes.”
To be clear, the asteroid is not going to collide with Earth. But if it did, it'd have a devastating impact -- one that highlights Earth's vulnerability to a tough-to-detect mainstay of the cosmos: mid-sized asteroids capable of delivering nuclear-sized blasts. Comparable in size to the asteroid that destroyed 1,000 square miles of trees and reindeer in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908, 2012 DA14 would be very bad news in a direct collision with a populated area. Imagine a giant explosion in the sky, followed by a blast wave that would level buildings, knock the Golden Gate Bridge into the sea, and subject an area between San Francisco and San Jose to total destruction. A Spanish dental surgeon and amateur astronomer named Jaime Nomen first spotted 2012 DA14 last year –- hence the “2012” in its name –- so you might think that would give officials ample time to come up with an asteroid-deflection plan. But no. “With one year’s notice, there’s absolutely nothing we can do,” Lu said. “There’s no launch opportunity –- the asteroid is orbiting back around the sun. Had it been coming back to hit us, the only option would have been to evacuate. That’s not a good option.”