Scientists Reveal 'City Killer' Asteroid Nearly Struck Earth Earlier This Week

Airplane-sized asteroid detected at 11th hour sneaks up close whizzes past Earth

Representational image. Credit Pixabay

Asteroid 2019 OK came hurtling toward Earth at a speed of almost 15 miles a second, before flying past. "With just a day or week's notice, we would be in real trouble, but with more notice there are options".

Most importantly, it wasn't one that astronomers had been tracking, although information had earlier surfaced that some asteroids would be passing relatively close to our planet.

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"The lack of warning shows how quickly potentially unsafe asteroids can sneak up on us", Brown wrote.

The asteroid took the scientists by surprise, as astronomy teams in the USA and Brazil were able to detect it only on Wednesday when it was too close to the Earth's surface. There is no immediate global level threat at the moment, but astronomers did just miss an asteroid that could of caused a nuclear-level destruction.

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A 427-foot-wide asteroid with the potential to wipe out an entire city passed by the Earth earlier this week. Astronomers will still continue to monitor asteroids and better yet NASA are now working on ways to deflect asteroids that are in route to collide with Earth.

According to Professor Brown, there are certain ways to do something about an asteroid potentially taking a collision course, but this is only possible when the notice isn't so short. For instance, there are ongoing missions to near-Earth asteroids, like Bennu and Ryugu, which are looking intoslightly changing their velocity - "by just 1km per hour, over years that adds up to thousands of kilometres' difference in position", Brown noted.

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