Asteroid 2002MN Almost Hits the Earth

ON June 14, 2002, an asteroid of about the size of a football field zoomed by Earth at 10 kilometers per second (23,000 miles per hour) coming within 120,000 kilometers (75,000 miles and less than 1/3 of the Earth-Moon distance) of our dear planet. The object was detected by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research Project, whose observatory is located in New Mexico, on June 17, three days after the object has passed by Earth. The previously undetected and unclassified asteroid was promply named 2002MN. Had it struck Earth, it would have created a crater a kilometer or two in diameter and an explosion of about the power of a nuclear bomb. The incidence underscores the dangers of wandering solar system bodies as emphasized in Jupiter Scientific's original report on Threats From Heaven.

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