Asteroid – Near Miss
Asteroid 2017 AG13 just missed Earth by 120,000 miles – and we had no idea it was coming.
The huge rock between 25 and 35 metres tall – around 10 storeys high – and was rocketing towards our planet at 16km every second. It was only spotted yesterday.
In 2013 a similarly sized asteroid exploded in the sky just about Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That blast shattered windows and caused minor damage to buildings over a wide area. More than a thousand people were injured by flying glass and debris.
Last month, the White House released a document outlining a Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy. The document highlighted how early warning remains an issue when asteroids are hurtling towards earth.
In the case of 2017 AG13, the asteroid would likely have exploded high in the atmosphere with the force of 700 kilotons.
Around five asteroids are being discovered every day. Asteroids vary in size, brightness and orbit – making many of them difficult to identify and track. They can range from a few metres to several kilometres across.