A Building-Sized Asteroid Just Barely Missed The Earth

Photo: Courtesy of NASA/NOAA/GOES Project.
An asteroid the size of a 10-story building narrowly missed the Earth on Monday morning, and we had very little warning that it was even coming. The University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey discovered "2017 AG13" on Saturday, Business Insider reported. The object is estimated to be between 50 and 111 feet long, and was moving at 9.9 miles per second when it passed our planet. According to Slooh, which broadcasts live views from space, the giant rock flew within about half the distance that the moon is from Earth — translation: too close for comfort. "This is moving very quickly, very nearby to us," Eric Feldman, an astronomer with Slooh, said during a live broadcast of the event Monday in the early a.m. "It actually crosses the orbits of two planets, Venus and Earth." How bad would the impact have been, you ask? According to Slooh, this rock was "roughly the same size as the asteroid that struck Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013," which was about 66 feet in diameter and damaged buildings, shattering windows, as well as injured around 1,500 people.

Business Insider
reported that about 38 more "close approaches" like this one are expected in January alone, according to NASA's Near Earth Object Program. If we detect a large Near Earth Object (NEO) well ahead of time, there's still a chance to be able to redirect its trajectory. But unfortunately, NASA has just passed on the full $450 million funding for a telescope called the Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) that would do just that, leaving our asteroid-detecting future uncertain.

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