Undetected Asteroid Nearly Missed The Earth, Shows Glaring Holes In Detection Capabilities

Muriel Hammond
April 17, 2018

Registered as G018 GE3, the asteroid made a surprise flyby on Sunday, passing our planet at roughly a third of the distance to the moon, or just 119,500 miles (192,317 kilometers).

"Asteroids of this magnitude are often not approaching our planet, perhaps once or twice a year", said Paul Chondas, head of the NASA Earth Sciences Center for Objects. The estimated diameter of the space rock ranged from 131 to 328 feet, CNEOS reports. Most asteroids can be measured to about 580 miles across, but they usually circulate between Mars and Jupiter and don't pose a threat to Earth.

The sheer size of 2018 GE3, estimated to be 3.6 times larger than the Tunguska asteroid that wreaked havoc in 1809 when it exploded over Siberia in Russian Federation, was enough to pose a genuine threat.

The asteroid was first detected by astronomers over at the Catalina Sky Survey on Saturday, April 14th, EarthSky reports.

In contrast, the space rock that exploded in an air burst over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February 2013, was about 20m in diameter. Some hours later, Spaceweather.com reported that an amateur astronomer Michael Jager of Weibenkirchen Austria has posted the video of the asteroid that was recorded when asteroid fly past through the southern constellation Serpens.

Five years ago, the 10,000-ton, 56-foot Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russian Federation with the force of 30 atomic bombs. "A 10-meter size object already packs the same energy as a nuclear bomb", Andrew Cheng, who led a 2000-2001 mission for NASA to orbit and land on an asteroid, told Fox News at the time.

Just a day after being discovered dangerously close and approaching Earth, an asteroid, potentially capable of causing significant damage, has darted past our planet almost missing it on an astronomical scale.

The safety of our planet, however, was jeopardized over the weekend when scientists nearly failed to detect a football field-sized asteroid heading towards Earth.

That's significantly smaller than the 2018 GE3 asteroid.

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