Sunday, May 4, 2014

Asteroid narrowly misses Earth on May 3rd. Does this even trouble anyone?

A small asteroid about the size of a city bus zipped by Earth at a range closer than the moon early Saturday (May 3, 2014), but posed no threat to our planet.

The newly discovered asteroid 2014 HL129 came within 186,000 miles (299,338 kilometers) of Earth when it made its closest approach on Saturday morning, which is close enough to pass between the planet and the orbit of the moon. The average distance between the Earth and moon is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km).

The asteroid is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide, according to NASA's Asteroid Watch project based at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. It made its closest approach to Earth at 4:13 AM EDT (0813 GMT).

While this particular rock would never pose a threat to our planet even if it were to hit (too small). I have to wonder how well a grip our scientists have on potentially much larger rocks that may be hurtling our way? Specifically, is there a scenario where we'd only get about a weeks notice before something the size of Mount Everest hit us? And, how would that be presented on the evening news?
Fox News anchor: 'And this breaking news just in from the folks at NASA [cue artists graphic of earth being blown apart] It seems a rather large 25 mile wide asteroid was just discovered barreling towards Earth...pause for dramatic effect... with a collision expected to occur sometime next week. According to the scientists this behemoth, when it does hit, will likely cause what planetary scientists call an 'Extinction Level Event' or E.L.E. to occur! Well, what do you all think of that news? Twitter us at hash tag Fox! We'll introduce our panel of experts to see what they think... right after these words from our sponsor!' [Cue anti-anxiety commercial #452134].

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