On Saturday morning, an asteroid dubbed "2018 LA" that measured an estimated 6 feet across was discovered hurtling toward Earth.
Luckily for us, the asteroid was small, as mentioned above, and burnt up in the atmosphere without causing damages. While above Africa, not a long way from the ground, it caught fire and disintegrated in smaller pieces, producing an impressive display of lights. Videos posted to YouTube reportedly show the fireball streaking across the night sky, including one captured on a South African farm's security camera.
And while 2018 LA was discovered shortly before it arrived at our atmosphere, there are numerous organizations searching for potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) that could seriously impact life.
Initially, it was predicted that the range of impact would extend from southern Africa over the Indian Ocean up to the New Guinea. This is only the third time an asteroid was detected before it made impact.
This weekend, NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) and the IAU Minor Planet Center confirmed that an asteroid (named 2018 LA) was headed our way just hours before it struck the atmosphere above Botswana. "It is also only the second time that the impact location was predicted well ahead of the event itself".
'However, this real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object'. The space agency is focused on saving lives and property by predicting where an asteroid will strike.
Meteorites probably reached the floor because the asteroid broke apart, Brown stated.
Fortunately, NASA didn't have to rely on Bruce Willis or Ben Affleck to blow up this asteroid before it entered the earth's atmosphere, but it still looked arguably more risky than Dottie, the Texas-sized asteroid in Armageddon. Soon after they spotted the small asteroid, they calculated its trajectory and saw it would come really close to Earth.
The first event of this kind was the impact of asteroid 2008 TC3, which lit up the predawn sky above Northern Sudan on October 7, 2008.
A 2014 asteroid was discovered by Kowalski just a few hours before entering over the Atlantic, with little time for tracking.