If you were around back in the late 1990s, you probably remember the brief love affair that America had with asteroid disaster films ("Deep Impact" was clearly the superior film). The movies brought an awareness to the general public of the possibility that Earth could be destroyed at any moment by a random, giant rock from space.
Luckily, we have the folks at NASA watching out for us and keeping an eye on the sky. With all their great technology, there's no way an asteroid could possibly sneak up on us…right? Well, that's where you'd be wrong.
This week, NASA researchers spotted and catalogued a rather large asteroid by the name of 2016 QA2. Barely hours after it was first spotted, QA2 zipped by Earth, at a distance even closer than our moon.
Luckily, in the case of QA2, even if it had struck Earth, the damage would have been minimal — at least compared to the kind portrayed in various Hollywood films.
Unfortunately, there are a ton of asteroids out there. Which makes it kind of an impossible task to spot and catalogue them all.
To protect Earth from further asteroid impacts, Congress tasked NASA with an ambitious goal to be able to detect 90 percent of all asteroids 450 feet in size or larger by 2020. Sadly, funding shortfalls have put a damper on accomplishing this on time.
(via Unexplained Mysteries)
Alright, now that is terrifying. Just another daily reminder that life on this little rocky planet of ours can end at any second for really any reason at all.