Another Asteroid Passed By Earth
Jan 25, 2017 01:00 PM EST
An asteroid at the size of a building passed by the earth from a distance about halfway to the moon, less than 3 weeks ago. Despite the amiss, another similar space rock was seen yesterday night on its way to zoom by our planet.
Asteroid 2017 BX, nicknamed "Rerun", was discovered on Friday, January 20. It passed by between the Earth and moon on late Tuesday night according to clocks in the Americas at a distance of about 162,252 miles (261,120 kilometers) which is approximately two-thirds of a journey to the moon. The asteroid's closest approach was 11:45 ET on January 24.
The new near-Earth object (NEO), according to Slooh and data from NASA JPL, is similar to asteroid 2017 AG13, which flew by Earth on Monday, January 9. However, this new asteroid was slightly smaller, at roughly 13 to 46 feet across, between the size of a car and a bus, or more accurately, the size of a house.
The estimated velocity of the Apollo-class asteroid at the time of its nearest approach to earth is 4.62 miles per second (7.44 km/s), which is 10 times as fast as a bullet fired from an AK-47. Slooh, a company that airs live views of space, broadcasted a show about this asteroid last night.
Although astronauts assured that the space rock is too small and slow-moving to pose any real harm to the earth, the sudden visit of 2017 BX is just another instance that perfectly illustrates the possibility of millions of NEOs that could hit and intrude into our planet, releasing energy, worth of gigantic atomic bombs. Some of these rocks are big and fast enough to wipe out a major city on the earth.
NASA recently worked on funding a space telescope called NEOCam that would help identify and locate 90% of NEOs made up of a size hard to detect, yet could perilous to human civilization. Details on the project are yet to be released.