Planet Earth survives terrifying close shave with a monster asteroid

Planet Earth survives terrifying close shave with a monster asteroid

The last time a giant asteroid swept by within half the lunar distance was in 2002, reports CNET, when asteroid 2002 MN missed Earth by just 120,000 kilometers (74,564 miles) on June 14.

The asteroid, dubbed 2018 GE3, was spotted less than a day before its close encounter with our planet, shows the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union. That's in contrast to the moon's quarter-million-mile (400,000 km) distance. GE3 also passed close to the moon later that morning on its journey around the sun.

Had the object, first observed at the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on Saturday, moving at a speed of some 66,174 miles per hour (106,497 km/h), hit the Earth, its impact would be hard to imagine.

The sheer size of 2018 GE3, estimated to be 3.6 times larger than the Tunguska asteroid that wreaked havoc in 1809 when it exploded over Siberia in Russian Federation, was enough to pose a genuine threat.




SpaceWeather.com reports asteroid 2018 GE3 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on Saturday.

Had it entered the atmosphere, a great portion of the asteroid would have broken up, but some might have made it through to the Earth's surface, EarthSky says.

The asteroid's diameter was estimated to be between 48 and 110 metres, and it was travelling at 106,497kmh. Astronomers across the globe are rigorously applying efforts at detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs).

Planet Earth had a narrow escape over the weekend when a huge space rock barely missed us. It has since been labeled 2018 GE3 and it passed by the planet at close range mere hours after detection. Astronomers have actually increased their programs to look for near-Earth asteroids like 2018 GE3, however in some cases- like this time and as in 2013 with the Chelyabinsk occasion- asteroids do still amaze us. Little did people, including scientists at NASA know that a massive asteroid, the size of a football field, came really close to Earth.

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