A Jumbo Jet-Sized Asteroid Just Flew between the Earth and Moon

NASA tracked three asteroids that came close to Earth, with one being the size of a jumbo jet. However, none of them posed a threat.
Chris Young

NASA tracked three asteroids that flew safely past Earth on Wednesday this week.

Though the famous space agency said none of these posed us a threat, one came closer than the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

NASA keeps track of asteroids in order to research how they would approach the event of an asteroid that is a danger to humanity.


Within 222,164 miles 

The closest passing asteroid, NASA says, was 2019 OD. It flew closer than the Moon is to Earth, reaching within 222,164 miles of the surface of our planet — the Moon is 238,900 miles away.

It was first observed only three days before its approach, as per the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN).

The asteroid is 393 feet wide, making it roughly the size of a jumbo jet. It was traveling at a speed of 42,926 miles per hour as it zipped by Earth.

As Space writes, two other asteroids flew near Earth, though not quite as close as 2019 OD.

Asteroid 2015 HM10, which is up to 360 feet wide, also flew by Earth. It was considerably further, reaching 2.9 million miles from our planet — more than 12 times the distance to the Moon.

Lastly, asteroid 2019 OE came to within 601,000 miles of Earth. However, it is smaller than the other two asteroids at 75 to 170 feet in diameter.

Potential impact hazards

On NASA's Sentry earth impact monitoring page, the space company says, "one must bear in mind that an Earth collision by a sizable NEA (near Earth asteroid) is a very low probability event."

A Jumbo Jet-Sized Asteroid Just Flew between the Earth and Moon
Images of asteroid OSIRIS-REx. Source: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

However, NASA and IAWN do track asteroids in order to keep track and research asteroids in the unlikely event that a big one does approach Earth. In April, a lot of data was recorded of a close flyby of asteroid 99942 Apophis

Though a big impact any time soon is extremely unlikely, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine recently warned that the space agency's work on asteroid tracking and protection is just as important as getting us back to the Moon and Mars.

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