Football Field-Sized Asteroid Flies Past Earth: NASA

Football Field-Sized Asteroid Flies Past Earth: NASA
An artist's conception of a giant asteroid hitting early Earth. (puchan/iStock)
Jack Phillips

An asteroid that’s about the size of a football field flew past Earth on Feb. 19.

The object, called the Near Earth Object 2013 MD8, is between 126 and 282 feet in length, said NASA.

It passed by the earth at 12:55 p.m. ET at a speed of 30,418 mph, the agency said in a statement.
 An artist's conception of a giant asteroid hitting early Earth. (Courtesy of NASA)
An artist's conception of a giant asteroid hitting early Earth. (Courtesy of NASA)

There isn’t any need to worry about the asteroid as it will pass by Earth at around 15 lunar distances away. That’s about 3 million miles from Earth.

“On Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, at 12:55 PM EST, Near Earth Object (2013 MD8), between 38 and 86 meters (126 to 282 feet) in size, will pass Earth at 15.1 lunar distances, traveling at 13.60 kilometers per second (30,418 miles per hour),” said NASA in full.

In 2017, a larger asteroid called 2010 NY65 flew past the earth about 8 lunar distances away. Each lunar distance is approximately 238,900 miles.


NASA recently made note of a giant crater beneath Greenland’s ice that might be the result of a giant asteroid hitting the earth.

The crater is about 22 miles wide and buried under about a mile of ice. If it’s confirmed, the crater would be one of the largest impact sites on the planet.

"You have to drill through 2 kilometers [1.2 miles] of ice, and then, depending exactly what element of the crater's history you're interested in, you might have to drill through 100 or 200 m [330 to 670 feet] worth of rock," NASA scientists Joseph MacGregor told LiveScience.

He noted that the equipment would have to be taken about 100 miles inland across Greenland's ice.

"That's a technological challenge," he stated.

It's the second largest crater found in that part of Greenland in recent months. In November 2018, a 19-mile wide crater was discovered under Hiawatha Glacier, noted EarthSky.

"The only other circular structure that might approach this size would be a collapsed volcanic caldera. But the areas of known volcanic activity in Greenland are several hundred miles away," MacGregor said, reported EarthSky.

NASA is particularly concerned about asteroids that are over 500 feet in diameter and closer than 4.6 million miles from Earth. These types of asteroids are classified as Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.
The agency has found about 16,000 asteroids and comets near Earth, and there are another few million estimated to be orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter, where most of them reside.

2018 Flyby

In February 2018, a newly discovered asteroid buzzed by Earth, and may have been as large as the asteroid that exploded over Russia five years ago.
Asteroid 2018 CB that was only spotted five days ago is between 50 and 130 feet in size, said NASA.

“Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet—maybe only once or twice a year,” said Paul Chodas, the manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, at the time.

“Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013,” added Chodas.

Epoch Times reporter Jane Gray contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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