Asteroid the size of a small truck buzzes Earth: NASA

09.06.2013 05:25

An asteroid the size
of a small truck zoomed past
Earth four times closer than
the moon on Saturday, the
latest in a parade of visiting
celestial objects that has raised
awareness of potentially
hazardous impacts on the
NASA said Asteroid 2013 LR6 was
discovered about a day before its
closest approach to Earth, which
occurred at 12:42 a.m. EDT (0442
GMT on Saturday) about 65,000
miles over the Southern Ocean,
south of Tasmania, Australia.
The 30-foot-wide (10-metre-wide)
asteroid posed no threat.
A week ago, the comparatively
huge 1.7-mile-wide (2.7-km-wide)
asteroid QE2, complete with its
own moon in tow, passed 3.6
million miles (5.8 million km) from
While on February 15, a small
asteroid exploded in the
atmosphere over Chelyabinsk,
Russia, leaving more than 1,500
people injured by flying glass and
debris. That same day, an unrelated
asteroid passed just 17,200 miles
from Earth, closer than the
networks of communication
satellites that ring the planet.
"There is theoretically a collision
possible between asteroids and
planet Earth," astronomer Gianluca
Masi, with the Virtual Telescope
project, said during a Google+
webcast that showed live images of
the approaching asteroid.
NASA says it has found about 95
percent of the large asteroids,
those with diameters 0.65 miles or
larger, with orbits that take them
relatively close to Earth.
An object of that size hit the planet
about 65 million years ago in what
is now Mexico's Yucatan peninsula,
triggering a global climate change
that is believed to be responsible
for the demise of the dinosaurs
and many other forms of life on
The U.S. space agency and other
research organizations, as well as
private companies, are working on
tracking smaller objects that fly
near Earth.