UNDATED (WIFR) -- The Earth is once again safe after avoiding a collision with a nearly 150 foot asteroid earlier today. To put that into perspective, that’s about the size of a half a football field. At about 1:30 this afternoon, the asteroid, labeled DA14 became the closest known fly by for a rock of its size.
Despite being discovered late in its life, NASA has been tracking the asteroid over the last year. Even though it passed within 17,000 miles of the Earth, which is closer than communication satellites orbit, the rock posed no threat to the earth, partly due to Earth’s relatively shallow atmosphere.
“The atmosphere of the Earth is thinner than the thickness of my finger here on this globe. The atmosphere does not go way out. It's very thin compared to objects in space so this asteroid really doesn't get close enough that the atmosphere is going to affect it,
said Michael Forner, NIU Associate Professor of Physics.
Despite the lack of direct impact with our planet, astronomers say this asteroid is a research’s dream come true. Today’s data will likely provide years of new research opportunities and even provide valuable information in the unlikely case a scientist would need to deflect an asteroid collision with Earth.
Scientists say the next big asteroid that poses a threat to Earth won’t be until March 16th of the year 2880. Chances of a direct impact by that asteroid are less than 1%