Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It almost was like the Film

The Earth had a close shave yesterday, when an asteroid the size of a house flew past in one of the closest near-misses ever recorded.

Admittedly the '2011 MD' space rock still missed us by 7,600 miles and even if it had hit, it would have been expected to burn up high in the atmosphere… but even so.

NASA say the 20 meter wide asteroid was closest to Earth at around 6pm and was bright enough to be seen even with a modest-sized telescope.

Astronomers had only spotted the asteroid last week, having previously thought it was a piece of space junk… maybe that's why they could only come up with such a poor name. A spokesperson for NASA said: "The asteroid was discovered by the LINEAR near-Earth object discovery team observing from Socorro, New Mexico.

"This small asteroid, only 5-20 meters in diameter, in in a very Earth-like orbit about the Sun, but an orbital analysis indicated there was no chance it would actually strike Earth."

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