While NASA promises us the latest asteroid to pass close to our planet is no threat, the fact that a moon was discovered in rotation around Asteroid 1998 QE2, does give us an idea of just how big the traveling asteroid really is. According to a report from Space.com, 1998 QE2 is about 1.7 miles across and the rock caught in it gravitational pull, acting as its moon, is about 2000 feet wide, and you can see it in the lead image. As for the threat level of such a massive space rock, the article assures us:
1998 QE2 poses no threat of hitting Earth during the flyby, space agency officials assure. Its closest approach will occur at 4:59 EDT on Friday (May 31) and it is expected to pass at least 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers) away from the planet.
For those who would like to watch our
impending doom the asteroid pass our planet on a live feed, Space.com will be providing the video. Hopefully, Harry Stamper and his crew will have planted the necessary nuclear devices by then. For those of you who don't know what I'm referring to, this should help:
Granted, that was a fictional account, but what would happen if a sizable space rock hit the planet near a major populated area, like, say, New York City? The following video (which is unfortunately, without sound) gives us a visual idea:
The description from the video offers this explanation:
The impact completely wipes out most of New York, and leaves the majority of the east coast in flames. An initial dome-shaped shock wave propagates outward from the impact, flattening everything in its path. Debris from the impact is scattered into the upper atmosphere & beyond, some of it achieving a temporary earth orbit. Over time, some of that material forms rings around the earth which would gradually vanish as that material either falls back and burns up in the atmosphere as shooting stars, or travels further out into a space, leaving Earth.
Which sounds like a great time for all involved.