Officials discover asteroid, hours later it approached Earth 100 times closer than the Moon

An asteroid that was discovered very recently zoomed past Earth at a distance that is 100 times closer than the moon or five times lower than satellites.

1 minute & 34 seconds read time

Astronomers discovered an asteroid on Thursday, named it C9FMVU2, and then noticed its trajectory was to approach Earth in just a matter of hours.

Luckily, the asteroid safely zoomed past Earth at a distance of 2,500 miles, which is 100 times closer to the planet than the moon and five times closer than orbiting GPS satellites. Notably, the United States has navigational and positioning constellation GPS satellites at an altitude of 12,550 miles. So, why didn't astronomers or asteroid-detecting technology spot this asteroid days before it approached Earth?

Well, it was tiny, at approximately 6.5 feet wide, making it far too small for it to be detected at a distance, and simultaneously meaning it posed no threat to Earth at all. NASA has cataloged 30,000 near-Earth asteroids, and only 2,300 are considered "potentially hazardous". For an asteroid to be considered potentially hazardous, it needs to be greater than 460 feet wide and has an orbit that's within 20 lunar distances of Earth - one lunar distance is 238,854 miles.

Furthermore, the close pass of C9FMVU2 will significantly alter the orbit of the small space rock due to Earth's gravitational pull.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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