Newly Found Asteroid Will Pass Close To Earth on Sunday

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( — September 6, 2014)  — 

According to NASA explorers, a space rock discovered just days ago will pass by our planet at a range closer than some satellites. Earth is about to have a close encounter with a house-sized asteroid which estimated to be 60 feet (18 meters) long. It’s expected to fly over New Zealand about 2:18 pm EDT (11:18 am PDT / 18:18 UTC.)

Called 2014 RC, the asteroid was discovered on August 31 by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona.

The asteroid doesn’t pose a threat. NASA also reports that it will also be just out of reach from weather and communication satellites in high Earth and geosynchronous orbits.

There are over 11,000 near-Earth objects passing by at any given time, so it’s not completely unprecedented that one would come this close.

The Slooh Community Observatory reports that if the asteroid were to hit us, it would cause more damage than the impact in Russia in 2013 when an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk.

The asteroid explosion was brighter than the sun, with the force of about 30 nuclear bombs. The blast spread for 100km around, injured about 1,500 people.

The Chelyabinsk meteor was undetected before it was spotted by local residents as it streaked across the sky. It exploded on the same day that Asteroid 2012 DA14, one that was being carefully tracked by NASA, safely passed by Earth.

NASA’s Near Earth Object Program estimates there are thousands of asteroids that could threaten Earth, but experts say none of the ones being tracked are expected to hit the planet anytime soon.

NASA is trying to speed up the way it tracks potentially hazardous asteroids and to learn how to deflect rocks that threaten Earth.

Its Asteroid Initiative includes a plan to capture an asteroid and tug it into orbit around the moon in the 2020s. If it works, astronauts will land on the asteroid, take samples and bring them back to Earth