Asteroid on Collision Course with Earth Breaks Into Pieces Before Impact

NASA discovered a boulder-sized asteroid destined for earth on Saturday but the large space rock broke up miles before impact.
Jessica Miley

NASA discovered an asteroid heading straight to earth but watched it disintegrate before impact. The asteroid was discovered on Saturday with researchers calculating its trajectory would result in an impact to earth. 

Webcam footage of the asteroid captured in a rural area west of Johannesburg showed the asteroid as a glowing orb lighting up the night sky in a huge flash. NASA dubbed the asteroid 2018 LA and had predicted that it would make its entry in an area somewhere over Southern Africa and across the Indian Ocean to New Guinea. 

Lindley Johnson, an official at NASA's Planetary Defense team described planetary defense team's thoughts saying: "[T]his real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object." 

The Planetary Defense team are tasked with tracking and warning of asteroids that pose a threat to planet Earth. NASA say they define asteroids as small remnants of collisions in the solar system's history. They are generally made up of rock-forming minerals like olivine and pyroxene but can also contain iron and nickel.

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