A small asteroid got here nearer to Earth than even SpaceX Starlink satellites

Shut sufficient for a high-five…


An asteroid set a brand new mark on Friday for the closest go by our planet with out truly impacting.

The area rock was found with the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, or ATLAS, run by NASA and the College of Hawaii. It has been designated 2020 VT4, and it got here inside simply 240 miles (386 kilometers) of Earth’s floor on Friday. That is nearer even than objects in low-earth orbit together with the Worldwide House Station and SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation.

Whereas that is a lot nearer than the document set again in August when asteroid 2020 QG flew by at a distance of 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers), it is common for asteroids to get so up in our planetary grill. 

Loads of bits of area mud and bigger rocks make all of it the best way to the bottom within the type of meteorites. One of many bigger ones in reminiscence induced a stir when it collided with the atmosphere over Russia in 2013. That one was not seen by astronomers beforehand, however 2018 LA was sighted simply earlier than hitting us 5 years later. It is thought that pieces of that asteroid made it to the ground in Africa. There have even been incidents of asteroids “bouncing off the ambiance” and heading again out to deep area.

It is not that we’re instantly getting attacked by asteroids. Quite, enhancements in expertise and observations have allowed astronomers to identify extra and smaller asteroids sneaking ever nearer by our planet. 

Nonetheless, it is slightly unnerving to have direct proof of area rocks whipping by us inside only a few miles of the altitude the place the Worldwide House Station orbits, and simply as a brand new crew is en route inside a shiny Crew Dragon spaceship. 

So preserve a watch to the skies — or throughout you for those who occur to be in area already. 

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