Two Asteroids Buzz By Earth In Back-To-Back Close Encounters
Two asteroids buzzed by Earth in back-to-back flybys on Monday and Tuesday, though they posed no danger to our planed, according to NASA scientists.
On Monday the newly discovered asteroid 2012 KP24 passed by Earth, coming within 32,000 miles on its closest approach, according to MSNBC.
Scientists with NASA’s Asteroid Watch program assured Twitter that:
“We’ll have a close but very safe pass of asteroid 2012 KP24 May 28.”
They also stated that another small asteroid, labeled 2012 KT42, buzzed by Earth early on Tuesday, coming closer than the first. NASA reports that the asteroid came within 8,950 miles of Earth, which easily fits between the Earth and the moon’s orbit, as the moon usually circles the Earth at around 240,000 miles.
Tony Philips, an astronomer with Spaceweather.com, assures that even if the asteroid hit the planed, it would not do much, because it is only about 16 feet wide. Phillips wrote that:
“Even if it did hit, this space rock is too small to cause significant damage. It would likely disintegrate almost entirely in the atmosphere, peppering the ground below with relatively small meteorites.”
Space.com reports that the Asteroid Watch is part of the Near-Earth Object office at NASA’s jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. They reportedly oversee the agency’s efforts to detect potentially dangerous asteroids or comets that could zoom close to Earth, and have the potential to collide with our planet.
According to MSNBC, astronomers believe that space rocks that measure about 460 feet across or bigger would be required to cause widespread devastation if they impact Earth. An object much larger than that would be required to cause global destruction.