Football field-sized asteroid zooms dangerously close to Earth

17 April, 2018, 11:04 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Asteroid buzzed Earth this weekend

The safety of our planet, however, was jeopardized over the weekend when scientists nearly failed to detect a football field-sized asteroid heading towards Earth.

Designated 2018 GE3, made its closest approach to Earth at around 0641 GMT on April 15 (12.11 am, April 16 in Indian Standard Time) whizzing by at about half the average distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). That's in contrast to the moon's quarter-million-mile (400,000 km) distance.

The asteroid's diameter was estimated to be between 48 and 110 metres, and it was travelling at 106,497kmh. The asteroid which flies past the earth has a speed about 66,000 miles per hour but the speed will have broken down once the asteroid enters the Earth's atmosphere.

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"However, some of an asteroid this size might have gotten through to Earth's surface, and an asteroid this big is capable of causing some regional damage, depending on various factors such as composition, speed, entry angle, and location of impact", the space website explains. That incident also reportedly damaged thousands of buildings in the area which had their windows blown out by the meteor's shock wave. Astronomers across the globe are rigorously applying efforts at detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs). The survey's task is to discover and track near-Earth objects. For instance, the Tunguska meteorite (200 to 620 feet, or 60 to 190 meters) explosion in 1908 flattened 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of the eastern Siberian Taiga forest.

"A preliminary analysis of the orbit of 2018 GE shows this is the closest this particular space rock has come to Earth at least since 1930", EarthSky reports.

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