An asteroid the size of an SUV passed 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) above Earth, the closest asteroid ever observed passing by our planet, NASA said Tuesday.
If it had been on a collision course with Earth, the asteroid, named 2020 QG, would likely not have caused any damage, instead disintegrating in the atmosphere, creating a fireball in the sky, or a meteor, NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in a statement.
The asteroid, which was about 10 to 20 feet (three to six metres) long, passed above the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday at 4:08 GMT (9:38am IST).
It was moving at nearly eight miles per second (12.3 kilometres per second), well below the geostationary orbit of about 22,000 miles (roughly 35,405 kilometres) at which most telecommunication satellites fly.
The asteroid was first recorded six hours after its approach by the Zwicky Transient Facility, a telescope at the Palomar Observatory at the California Institute of Technology, as a long trail of light in the sky.
The US space agency said that similarly sized asteroids pass by Earth at a similar distance a few times per year.
But they’re difficult to record, unless they’re heading directly