Asteroid Just Buzzed Earth—Came Closer Than the Moon
Bus-size space rock could have made "decent-size crater" if aimed at us.
The rogue object—dubbed asteroid 2011 MD—buzzed by at a distance of 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) from our planet's surface, or roughly 30 times closer than the moon.
Researchers with MIT's Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program discovered the asteroid on June 22 and pegged its size between 20 feet (6.3 meters) and 46 feet (14 meters) wide.
Astronomers clocked its top speed at around 63,000 miles (101,000 kilometers) an hour.
Although small by asteroid standards, 2011 MD was close enough for amateur astronomers to spot it with modest telescopes.
If the asteroid had been on a collision course with Earth, the space rock would have been large enough and fast enough that it would have made it to the ground, said MIT