Space scientist say that 2017 AG13, a 111-foot asteroid that flew by Earth along toward a distance of about 120,000 miles on Monday morning (January 9), was seen for the first time only about two day before it passed by. The latest incident has upstretched concern once again about our negligence to ward off a potentially disturbing asteroid impact which experts say it's only a matter of time.
Scholars at the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey spotted asteroid 2017 AG13 on Saturday, two days before it whizzed past Earth at about 7:47 a.m. EST (1247 GMT) on Monday, January 9. It passed at a treacherously close distance of 120,000 miles, about half of the distance of the Moon to Earth, per Slooh.
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Using an asteroid impact simulator called "Impact Earth!" experts at Purdue University said that an impact at a 45 degree-angle by a space rock in the size of 2017 AG13 would cause a forceful air burst releasing energy comparable to about 700 kilotons.
"It is not that unusual of an event, which is one of the motives it is interesting," Business Insider reports that Mark Sykes, director and CEO of the Planetary Science Institute, said. The newly released "National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy" emphasized our unreadiness to defend Earth against a menacing asteroid despite recent efforts by scientists and advocacy groups to galvanize governments into action.
The White House document acknowledged that the world was unpreparedness to face an asteroid threat but said that efforts were ongoing to improve awareness.
Scientists have proposed that NASA launch a superior asteroid-hunting space telescope called the Near-Earth Objects Camera (NEOCam). Per Sykes, NEOcam will detect small asteroids slightly larger - about 460 feet (140 meters) - than asteroids in the 2017 AG13 size range earlier they hit Earth. Such asteroids are capable of wreaking serious local damage if they enter the Earth's atmosphere over major residents centers.