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Posted: 6/21/2002 5:20:26 AM EDT
CNN) -- An asteroid the size of a football field passed extremely close to Earth last week but it remained undetected until days later, astronomers said Thursday. The space rock missed our planet Friday by only 75,000 miles (120,000 km), about one-third the distance to the moon, making the near collision one of the closest ever recorded. Cruising at 6.2 miles (10 km) per second, the big boulder could have unleashed some major firepower had it struck, according to the NEO (Near Earth Objects) Information Center in Leicester, England. The destructive force might have been comparable to an asteroid or comet that exploded over Siberia in 1908, which flattened 77 square miles (2,000 square km) of trees, according to the NEO. EXTRA INFORMATION NASA animation of the orbital path of 2002 MN But the asteroid, designated 2002 MN, is not in the same league as potential killer rocks measuring more than 0.6 miles (1 km) in diameter, some of which are known to lurk in our space neighborhood between Mars and Venus. "2002 MN is a lightweight among asteroids and incapable of causing damage on a global scale, such as the object associated with the extinction of the dinosaurs," the NEO center said in a statement. 2002 MN was first spotted on June 17 by scientists with the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project in Socorro, New Mexico. The closest near miss in recent decades took place in 1994, when asteroid 1994XL1 passed within 65,000 miles (105,000 km) of our planet.
Link Posted: 6/21/2002 5:27:34 AM EDT
That's just great. Their whole mission in life is to detect asteroids coming close to earth, and on the one that gets the closest: THEY MISSED IT![sleep] nice job guys.[stick]
Link Posted: 6/21/2002 5:43:18 AM EDT
Cman, it is always the one you don't see that hits you the hardest...
Link Posted: 6/21/2002 6:12:01 AM EDT
Well with math like that, who's suprised they missed it. 77 square miles is just over 200 square Km, NOT 2,000!
Link Posted: 6/21/2002 7:51:38 AM EDT
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