Huge asteroid flies by Earth

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

NEO asteroid
Most asteroids don’t dangerously close to Earth, but it’s still wise to keep our eyes on the sky.

Yesterday, an asteroid named 2000 EM26 flew directly next to Earth. It’s about the size of three football fields and sped along at 27,000 mph! A crash landing on Earth would have been disastrous, but thankfully it whizzed by harmlessly without a fuss.

Even though the speeding rock wasn’t a threat to humankind, the special Slooh Space Camera kept a close eye on it anyway. As chance would have it, just one year ago around this time, two near-Earth objects (NEOs) that were a high threat to the people of Earth came cruising on by. See, on February 15, 2013, scientists had been tracking a 98-foot-long space rock that was flying dangerously close to Earth, when suddenly a different rock entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded 18 miles above ground over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Its detonation released the power of 20 atomic bombs!

Events like these remind us that disaster is nothing more than a space rock away, which is why researchers spend time tracking asteroids as harmless as 2000 EM26. If there is ever a NEO headed straight for Earth, NASA’s comet-catcher should hopefully be ready to save the day.

Featured image courtesy of ESO on Wikimedia.