Massive Football Field-Sized Asteroid Comes Close to Earth in Surprise Flyby

Doug Carpenter
April 18, 2018

An asteroid the size of a football field buzzed by Earth Sunday in one of the closest encounters the planet has seen in a while. It's half the distance to the moon and it's at this distance from the Earth that an asteroid has passed, on Sunday, April 15th. 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). If they can't, failing to detect an asteroid could happen again and it could come with devastating consequences next time. Those asteroids, however, pose no threat to Earth.


Space Weather reported, '2018 GE3 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey approaching Earth on April 14th. 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. Some hours later, Spaceweather.com reported that an amateur astronomer Michael Jager of Weibenkirchen Austria has posted the video of the asteroid that was recorded when asteroid fly past through the southern constellation Serpens.


The asteroid's diameter was estimated to be between 48 and 110 metres, and it was travelling at 106,497kmh. Nevertheless, a few of an asteroid this size may have gotten across Earth's surface area, and an asteroid this huge can triggering some local damage, depending upon different elements such as structure, speed, entry angle, and area of effect. "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.


Was Earth in risk from 2018 GE3? It may make you feel much better (or even worse) to understand that asteroids get in Earth's environment undetected on a relatively routine basis.

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