NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) Observations Program has discovered and cataloged over 15,000 Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) because they began scouring the skies in 1998. However, every now and again, one manages to escape their powerful telescopes and keen eyes. This became certainly the truth with asteroid 2017 BS32, that has been discovered on January 30 just three days before its close encounter with Earth.
The asteroid, that was moving at 9.9 miles per second, came within 101,214 miles of our planet at approximately 3:23 PM (EST) last month 2. NASA researchers say although flyby was obviously a surprise, practically rock, estimated to be just 39 feet in diameter, do not need caused any damage even though it had hit Earth.
What worries experts, however, is always that 2017 BS32 is the latest from a group of previously unknown asteroids who have snuck standing on us unexpectedly forever of the year. On January 29, asteroid 2017 BH30 came within 32,200 miles of Earth. Measuring 19 feet wide, it was actually discovered just hours prior to a close encounter.
The largest surprise asteroid in 2010 was 2017 AG13, which came within half the length between moon and Earth. In line with “Impact Earth,” an asteroid impact simulator at Purdue University, if your estimated 111-foot long space rock had hit Earth’s atmosphere, it could have exploded and released almost 700 kilotons property value energy. While powerful, it wouldn’t result in much damage because impact would occur 10 miles through the Earth’s surface. NASA researchers point out that the asteroid was roughly the exact same size since the one landed in Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013, which contributed to shattered windows and minor damage to several buildings.
Paul Cox, the principle astronomical officer at Slooh Observatories, says, “It raises a few eyebrows when we experience a variety of close approaching NEAs (Near Earth Asteroids) over a really short time frame.” Slooh’s astronomers plan to investigate cause of this recent barrage of space rocks, research if we have encountered anything similar prior to now, trying to chose the reason the asteroids just weren’t noticed sooner.
Resources: inverse.com, businessinsider.com,space.com