Earth Just Had A “Near Miss” With A Giant Asteroid

Video highlights from Killer Asteroid

Asteroid 86666 passed our planet over the weekend at a distance of 15 million miles

While everyone was tucked up in bed over the weekend, a giant asteroid was zooming past Earth.

Asteroid 86666, estimated at up to 2.5 kilometres wide and travelling at a speed of 65,000 kilometres per hour, made its closest pass to our planet on 10 October.

While an asteroid of that size is more than capable of causing global devastation, NASA was quick to point out that Asteroid 86666 posed no threat.

The space agency monitors all asteroids with the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Near-Earth Object Observations program.

Paul Chodas, the program’s manager, says there will be no Earth impacts “anytime in the foreseeable future” and all known asteroids have less than a “0.01 percent chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years”.

The next major object expected to come anywhere close to Earth is 2015 RN35, which is projected to pass some time between 2038 and 2114.

Asteroid 86666 was first spotted more than 16 years ago by the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona.

NASA and the European Space Agency have recently announced plans to alter the path of an asteroid by smashing into it with a probe.

Experts hope the same technique could be used on future asteroids heading for Earth.

NASA is also working on a space shotgun that will shoot asteroids to test their strength and composition.

Watch the last closest approach in 2008 and how asteroid monitors picked this up.  

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