Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Earth Has Near Miss With Asteroid Spotted Just Hours Earlier

Earth Has Near Miss With Asteroid Spotted Just Hours Earlier

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. Yesterday, an asteroid three to six times larger than that rock came out of nowhere and passed by the Earth at a distance of 119,500 miles, about half the distance to the moon-and scientists only had a few hours' warning before it closed in.

That's nothing compared to asteroids that make up the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which can measure to about 580 miles across, NASA explains on its website.


Will 2018 GE3 collide with the Earth one day? Those asteroids, however, pose no threat to Earth. However, at 44 to 110 meters in diameter, this asteroid is big enough to cause massive damage if it was to hit our planet. For comparison, the Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russian Federation in February 2013 was about three to six times smaller in diameter, yet its explosion in the atmosphere damaged over 7,000 buildings and injured some 1,500 people due to shattered glass. The asteroid, designated 2018 GE3, made its closest approach to Earth at around 2.41 a.m. EDT on Sunday, according to a Space.com report. "A 10-meter size object already packs the same energy as a nuclear bomb", Andrew Cheng, who led a 2000-2001 mission for NASA to orbit and land on an asteroid, told Fox News at the time. This sized Astroid may make some regional damage according to its speed, angle and impact location. Astronomers have increased their programs to seek near-Earth asteroids like 2018 GE3, but sometimes - like this time and as in 2013 with the Chelyabinsk event - asteroids do still surprise us.

"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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