Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the risk of space debris in our earth’s atmosphere. Well, according to NASA’s scientists, two asteroids are going to streak by today, within the moon’s distance of Earth. One, which actually already passed by at 5:50 am EST, was estimated to be between 32 and 65 feet in diameter and came as close as 154,000 miles out. The other, which will pass by at approximately 4:40 pm EST is only about 2/3 the size of the first asteroid and expected to come slightly closer.
As the Economist states:
Don’t start looking to hitch a ride on that alien spaceship just yet, though. Neither has a chance of hitting the planet. True, the lunar orbit, with an average radius of 384,403 kilometers, is puny in cosmic terms, but similar near-misses aren’t all that uncommon. A 10-metre sized rock is expected to pass within lunar distance every day, on average. And once a decade, one is likely actually to strike Earth’s atmosphere, though most of these would burn up on entry to the extent that they pose little or no threat. This would probably have been the fate of the 6 metre 2004 FU162 spotted on March 31st, 2004, just hours before the meteoroid whizzed by a mere 6,500 kilometres from Earth, setting a new record for the closest observed near miss.
As we see, there are many risks that are far beyond our current realm. We monitor them all.