The Latest News On 2002 NT7
An Asteroid 2 Kilometers Wide
May Impact Earth February 1, 2019
Shave In Years
(AFP) June 20, 2002 - A football-pitch-sized asteroid
capable of razing a major city came within a whisker of
hitting the Earth on June 14, but was only spotted three
days later, scientists said Thursday.
2002 MN, estimated at up to 120 metres (yards) long, hurtled
by the Earth at a distance of 120,000 kilometers (75,000
miles), well within the orbit of the Moon and just a hair's
breadth in galactic terms.
is the closest recorded near-miss by any asteroid, with
the exception of a 10-metre (33-feet) rock, 1994 XM1,
which approached within 105,000 kilometers (65,000) miles
on December 9, 1994, they said.
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 Near Earth
Object (NEO) Information Centre of Britain's National
Space Centre said in a press release.
if it had hit the Earth, 2002 MN may have caused local
devastation similar to that which occurred in Tunguska,
Siberia in 1908, when 2,000 square kilometres (800 square
miles) of forest were flattened," it said.
Kevin Yates told AFP that the asteroid was only spotted
on June 17 -- three days after its flyby.
it collided with the Earth, "the most likely thing
is that it would have detonated in the atmosphere, creating
a blast wave," he said.
talking in the region of 10 megatonnes -- quite a lot
of energy to be released in any one place," he said.
To SpaceDaily Express Free Newsletter
risk of the Earth being hit by an asteroid or comet is
very remote, and most objects never come so close as 2002
Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program website confirmed the
incident and said 2002 MN was spotted by the Lincoln Near
Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), a project funded by
the US Air Force and NASA and located in New Mexico.
website of the US magazine Sky et Telescope voiced alarm
at the near miss.
is most shocking is just how close it came to Earth,"
the exact details of an impact scenario depend on the
rock's composition, had it hit the Earth, the event would
have been 'Tunguska-like', with a force rivalling the
and other astronomers are working hard to map large asteroids,
greater than a kilometer (five-eighths of a mile) across,
that could inflict lasting climate change.
such monster is believed to have wacked into the Earth
65 million years ago in what is modern-day Mexico, kicking
up dust and debris that swathed the planet, unleashing
a prolonged winter that ended the long reign of the dinosaurs.
many specialists are worried that little sustained effort
is being made to spot smaller space wanderers, which could
still unleash the energy of an arsenal of nuclear bombs
if they collided with our home.
addition, the search for dangerously asteroids is overwhelmingly
conducted by telescopes in the northern hemisphere. A
rock approaching from the southern hemisphere could go
spot asteroids thanks to the light they reflect from the
Sun, which means that smaller ones are frequently only
discovered when they are very close to the Earth and become
one of these were on a collision course, that would leave
no time to launch a rocket or missiles to try to deflect
or destroy it, or even prepare cities for a potential
are often described as the rubble left over from the building
of the Solar System.
orbit the Sun, but the paths are never eternal, for the
trajectories can be deflected by gravitational pull whenever
the asteroid passes by a planet or goes around the star
latest calculations of 2002 MN suggest it has an orbit
of 894.9 days and is unlikely ever to be any future threat
to the Earth, said Yates.
next close flyby will be in 2061 but the distance will
be much greater than in the June 14 episode, he said.
are a very remote yet real peril, because they move at
such speeds that they unleash terrific energy on impact.
Tunguska event was caused by an object estimated to be
60 metres (200 feet) long. It exploded in the atmosphere
with the force of 600 times the Hiroshima bomb.