A lot of people fear that our planet could one day be destroyed by a large asteroid, and you don’t need to be a scientist to realize that such a scenario might happen one day. Some astronomers are even convinced that the better question is ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’
It has been reported that an asteroid the size of a skyscraper zipped past our planet. The terrifying news, however, is that astronomers didn’t even see it coming with their advanced telescopes. LiveScience.com tells us more.
So long, 2023 NT1!
The asteroid in question was dubbed 2023 NT1, and it sailed near Earth at a quarter of the distance between our planet and the Moon. Astronomers didn’t notice the space rock until two days later, when a South African telescope, part of the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), spotted the building-size asteroid exiting our neighborhood. Over a dozen other telescopes also spotted the rock shortly afterward.
The pesky space rock measures 200-foot-wide (60-meter), and it passed by Earth on July 13 at a speed of about 53,000 miles per hour (86,000 kilometers per hour).
But in case you’re wondering why astronomers weren’t able to see the 2023 NT1 asteroid coming, the explanation is pretty simple. The asteroid approached from the sun’s direction, making telescopes unable to see it coming until it had already passed. In other words, we simply cannot blame astronomers for this one, regardless of how great NASA haters some of us might be!
Otherwise, NASA is constantly on the lookout for dangerous space rocks approaching our planet. The space agency uses advanced tech to track down any space objects that could pose a threat.