Giant asteroid 2018 GE3 makes a surprise flyby past Earth on weekend

Giant asteroid 2018 GE3 makes a surprise flyby past Earth on weekend

Registered as G018 GE3, the asteroid made a surprise flyby on Sunday, passing our planet at roughly a third of the distance to the moon, or just 119,500 miles (192,317 kilometers). According to NASA, hours later, at about 5:59 a.m. EDT on April 15, the space rock passed even closer to the moon than it had to Earth. The asteroids which are present in this belt do not pose any threat to the Earth.

Just a day after being discovered dangerously close and approaching Earth, an asteroid, potentially capable of causing significant damage, has darted past our planet almost missing it on an astronomical scale.

The asteroid is three to six times as big as one that broke up over Russian Federation in 2013, injuring over 1,200 people and damaging thousands of buildings up to 93 km away from the impact site, "Space.com" reported.

NASA, which funds the Catalina Sky Survey, noted that 2018 GE3 passed even closer to the moon about four hours after its close call with Earth.

Five years ago, the 10,000-ton, 56-foot Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russian Federation with the force of 30 atomic bombs.

"It might make you feel better (or worse) to know that asteroids enter Earth's atmosphere unnoticed on a fairly regular basis".

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The April asteroid, however, traveling at a speed of about 66,000 miles per hour, would have likely broken down "due to friction with the air" as soon as it entered Earth's atmosphere, EarthSky reported.

If asteroid 2018 GE3 had hit Earth, a great portion of the space rock might have disintegrated.

NASA tracks asteroids that make close approaches to Earth, providing data on the distance and estimated diameter of each object.

A preliminary analysis of the orbit of 2018 GE shows this is the closest this particular space rock has come to Earth at least since 1930.

Illustration of the orbit of asteroid 2018 GE3. "2018 GE3 was found less than a day before its closest approach", said the report.

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