While the whole world was watching the situation unfolding on Saturday around Syria, a rather large asteroid the size of a football field flew past Earth. The most interesting thing about this news is that NASA astronomers working at the observatory in Arizona found this asteroid just a few hours before it flew past our planet, which once again shows the need for the development of our systems of planetary security.
After just 21 hours from the discovery of the asteroid 2018 GE3 approached a very uncomfortable (at least from a psychological point of view) distance with our planet. At a speed of approximately 106,000 kilometers per hour, a space block swept at a distance equal to half the distance between the Earth and the Moon. By Earth standards this, of course, is not so impressive, but on the cosmic … Sure enough, at the time of observation, a chill ran over the spins of astronomers, especially if we take into account the size of this object.
Once or twice a week, scientists notice asteroids approaching our planet at a distance closer than the distance between the Earth and the Moon. True in most cases, these objects are no more than a bus, a maximum of a private house. The dimensions of the asteroid 2018 GE3 are more like the size of a huge supermarket. According to preliminary estimates, the width of the object can be from 47 to 100 meters, that is, it is approximately 3.6 times larger than the object that exploded over the Siberian taiga in 1908. At the same time, the amount of energy released as a result of this explosion was 185 times more than in the explosion of the dropped bomb on Hiroshima.
It is not difficult to imagine what consequences we would expect if the asteroid 2018 GE3 “decided” to change direction and go straight to the Earth.
“Fall 2018 GE3 to Earth – this would cause not global, but regional destruction. It is possible that the object would partially fall apart when entering the atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is a fairly large asteroid. He once again demonstrated that even large space rocks can surprise with their unexpected appearance. The asteroid was first discovered less than a day before the closest rapprochement with our planet, “comments SpaceWeather.com.
The complexity of the detection of asteroids is primarily related to their size and low albedo (reflective features). In addition, they move very fast, so they are difficult to track.
The NASA aerospace agency is conducting a program to detect asteroids, but it is mainly aimed at finding objects larger than 140 meters in diameter. By the boldest estimates, the size of the asteroid 2018 GE3 is only 3/4 of this. Nevertheless, even such “pebbles” can cause serious damage. Recall that in 2013, Chelyabinsk exploded an asteroid. As a result of the shock wave that knocked out the glass in many houses, more than 1,200 people were injured. This stone, by the way, was 3-6 times smaller than the object 2018 GE3.