Thursday, May 31, 2012
A small asteroid had a close encounter with Earth on Tuesday, according to NASA scientists.
The 5-meter space rock, called 2012 KP42, was not spotted until a day before it came within 14,400 kilometers of Earth. Its closest approach to Earth was less than one-26th of the average distance between the planet and the moon, which is 386,000 kilometers.
However, given its diminutive size, experts say it was unlikely to cause significant damage to the Earth anyway.
The close call on Tuesday came only a day after another asteroid zipped by the planet. This asteroid, called 2012 KP24, was approximately 21 meters wide and zoomed by Earth at relatively safe 51,000 kilometers.
The closest recorded approach of an asteroid was in March 2004, when 6-meter asteroid passed the Earth only 6,500 kilometers away.
According to MSNBC, astronomers believe that space rocks would have to be 140 meters across or bigger in order to cause widespread devastation. A much bigger object would cause global destruction.