Football field-sized asteroid zooms dangerously close to Earth

How a Football Field Size Asteroid Caught Us by Surprise

An artist's concept of a"generic asteroid flyby. Credit Shutterstock

2018 GE3, as the asteroid is named, was identified on April 14 by the Catalina Sky Survey, a project by the American University of Arizona, funded by NASA and dedicated to the search for asteroids and comets near the Earth.

That such a thing passed so close to us is rare.

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The April asteroid, however, traveling at a speed of about 66,000 miles per hour, would have likely broken down "due to friction with the air" as soon as it entered Earth's atmosphere, EarthSky reported. "Should the 2018 GE3 have impacted Earth, it would have caused a significant amount of damage, however, it would have been regional, not global damage", a space and weather website reported. At least three other small space rocks are set to fly past Earth on Tuesday - with the largest measuring 111 feet around. 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.

In 2013, a 20 metre meteor exploded over the Russian city which smashed windows and caused injuries to more than 1,000 people. There would be no risk to the Earth as a whole if the size of the asteroid is less than 1km.

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Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, from Queen's University Belfast's Astrophysics Research Centre, told a year ago that incidents such as this highlight how unprepared the planet is. Nearly all of the asteroids come from the asteroid belt between Aris-Zeus. Astronomers across the globe are rigorously applying efforts at detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs).

A medium-sized asteroid ringinged by Earth simply hours after being identified this weekend.

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"But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them".

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