Asteroid buzzed Earth this weekend

Asteroid buzzed Earth this weekend

But according to Andrew Rader, a researcher and engineer at SpaceX, 2018 GE3 is "vast enough to destroy a city". The orbit appears to extend to the inner part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

It seemed like just another weekend.

2018 GE3, as the asteroid is named, was identified on April 14 by the Catalina Sky Survey, a project by the American University of Arizona, funded by NASA and dedicated to the search for asteroids and comets near the Earth.

With an estimated diameter of 157 to 361 feet (48 to 110 meters), the asteroid's impact with the Earth could have caused substantial damage. The distance is about the half the distance between Earth and the moon and the estimated diameter of the space rock is about 131 to 328 feet as reported by NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies ( CNEOS). That's in contrast to the moon's quarter-million-mile (400,000 km) distance.

The April asteroid, however, traveling at a speed of about 66,000 miles per hour, would have likely broken down "due to friction with the air" as soon as it entered Earth's atmosphere, EarthSky reported.

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The asteroid is three to six times as big as one that broke up over Russian Federation in 2013, injuring over 1,200 people and damaging thousands of buildings up to 93 km away from the impact site, "Space.com" reported.

"However, some of an asteroid this size might have gotten through to Earth's surface, and an asteroid this big is capable of causing some regional damage, depending on various factors such as composition, speed, entry angle, and location of impact", the space website explains. GE3 also passed close to the moon later that morning on its journey around the sun.

Was Earth in danger?

"Nevertheless, it is a significant asteroid, illustrating how even large space rocks can still take us by surprise".

This is the unnoticed closest asteroid approach to the Earth ever.

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