A massive Asteroid recently flew dangerously-close to Earth. Despite the fact that the asteroid—which could have destroyed a city the size of New York—missed us, NASA didn’t see the space rock coming.
An asteroid skimmed barely past Earth recently. If it had crashed into Earth, it could have ‘erased’ a city the size of New York.
The city-killer asteroid flew past Earth at speeds close to 9 kilometers per second. NASA astronomers only detected it a day later.
The space rock, called 2017 VL2, is the size of a blue whale it skimmed past Earth at a distance of only 117,480 kilometers- a third of the distance between Earth and the Moon.
The space threat was first observed by the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii at 11:24 UTC on November 10.
However, this was too late, as the asteroid had already passed near Earth at that time, having achieved its closest approach at 9:50 on November 9.
Had it impacted a city on Earth, the asteroid would have left a 6 km crater and wreaked havoc.
“The space rock measures between 16 and 32 meters in diameter, and belongs to the group of Apollo asteroids,” explains The Watchers site. It will not pass near Earth again until the year 2125.
Currently, astronomers have identified more than 8,000 Apollo-type asteroids.
According to reports, around 1,500 Apollo asteroids are large enough and may get extremely close to Earth to be considered as potentially dangerous asteroids that could impact our planet.
Astronomers say that in theory, all NEOs or Near Earth Asteroids, are considered by NASA in order to predict potential impacts.
NASA says that all NEOs that are greater than 100 meters in diameter and pass within 4.6 million miles are classified as PHAs or potentially hazardous asteroids.
However, another eery encounter is set to occur just before Christmas when a massive asteroid dubbed as 3200 Phaethon is due to pass near Earth on December 17, Russian astronomers have revealed.
It is this asteroid which is believed to be responsible for the Geminids meteor shower which occurs between December 13 and December 14, resulting in hundreds of bright meteors to illuminate the sky as they are consumed by Earth’s atmosphere.
However, despite the fact it offers a stunning night sky view, the massive space rock is considered as a potentially hazardous asteroid whose path misses Earth’s orbit by only 2 million miles– which is small in galactic terms.