NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has confirmed that a tiny asteroid measuring 42 feet had a close flyby within 65,100 miles away from the earth's surface. During the time of its close approach, the asteroid was apparently traveling at a speed of 19,300 miles per hour.
It should be noted that the moon sits at an average distance of 238,900 miles away from the earth, and it indicates that during the close flyby, this tiny asteroid named 2019 VA screeched at just 0.28 times the distance to the moon. Experts believe that this near-miss was one of the closest asteroid encounters recorded in the entire year.
Interestingly, due to its smaller size, this space rock missed NASA's radar, and the United States space agency detected the asteroid just 24 hours before its close approach. However, quick calculations and analysis made on the asteroid's orbit, NASA came to know that the space rock is not posing any threat to the earth, though its passes very close to the earth.
As NASA has failed to detect this near-earth object (NEO), several people have started thinking that the United States space agency has now become obsolete, and they do not have any proper action plan to develop their proposed planetary defense weapon. Earlier, Elon Musk, the SpaceX founder had revealed that current human technology is not capable of stopping an incoming asteroid. Musk made these remarks on his Twitter page when one of his fans asked whether humans can protect the earth from asteroid Apophis.
A few months ago, a study conducted by experts at the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan has found that asteroids lurking in the asteroid belt could approach the earth one day for a potential collision. The research report revealed that the gravitational pull of asteroids may knock asteroids off their orbit, and thus the chances of a deadly collision with the earth will be elevated to a great extent. As per experts, humans will have very little time to adopt defensive measures if asteroids from the asteroid belt head in a collision course with the earth.