Earth was at risk as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in an atypical study led by a group of scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), found that Asteroid AX8 on Tuesday passed our planet around 3:35 am GMT (UTC) at a speed of over three miles per second. The giant asteroid, which was first observed about two weeks ago, made an incredibly close flyby of Earth in early morning of Tuesday.
Dubbed NASA Asteroid 2019 AX8, the space rock is half the length of The Great Pyramid of Giza and measures somewhere in the range of 91.8ft to 206.7ft (28m to 63m) in diameter.
Though the impact chances were low, the massive size and the speed of the asteroid could be incredibly dangerous if their trajectories crossed paths directly with the Earth’s orbit.
Talking about the possible meteor attack, the American space agency said, "Several thousand meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight".
"Those that occur at night also are rarely noticed by people. Due to the combination of all of these factors, only a handful of witnessed meteorite falls occur each year. Thankfully, Asteroid AX8 missed the planet entirely today by more than four million miles," the research team added.
Besides, two more space rocks named - 2019 AM8 and 2019 AG7 - have been recorded under NASA’s near-Earth object (NEO) list and are far larger than its predecessor. Early in the month the duo made a close shave with Earth.
As many as twelve near-Earth objects are expected to fly past our planet between now and the end of this month, meaning the recent phenomenon is not an unusual one. However, after AX8, NASA asteroid trackers do not expect that close approach anytime in the foreseeable future.