An asteroid skimmed past the Earth last week at just 3,000 kilometers away from the planet’s surface, but no one noticed until after the fact, as noted by NASA data.
Dubbed 2021 UA1, the asteroid, which skimmed by Antarctica last Sunday, was very small — Only around 2 meters in diameter, which is roughly the size of a golf cart. As such, it is unlikely it would have actually done any damage if it impacted the planet, as it would likely have burnt up in the atmosphere.
But while the damage it could have caused should it have impacted was minimal, the true danger is that an asteroid came so close to the planet and nobody noticed until after the fact.
2021 UA1 flew very close to the planet, and is estimated to have been the third closest asteroid flyby ever recorded without impacting, following 2020 QG in August 2020 and 2020 VT4 in November 2020.
With a distance of just 3,000 kilometers, 2021 UA1 was far closer to the Earth than the Moon, which orbits at a distance of 384,400 kilometers from the planet.
Read more at JPost.