Near-Earth Asteroid Misses Planet by Cosmic Inches

A just recently discovered asteroid will miss the Earth by mere cosmic inches on Monday. The 2011 MD asteroid will pass over the south Atlantic this afternoon around 1PM. The asteroid will squeeze by the planet only about 7500 miles away. For a bit of perspective, the moon is around 384,000 miles from Earth.


Earlier this year, the Earth avoided another close call when asteroid 2011 CQ1 missed impacting the planet by only 3,405 miles, according to As with that asteroid, the 2011 asteroid will come within range of some of Earth’s communications and media satellites.

Although the asteroid passing by Earth today is only about 20 to 50 feet wide, the scary thing is that we only discovered it last week. This size of asteroid would only do damage to a small, localized area if it should hit. Still, the fact that we didn’t know it was coming until it was pretty much already here is a bit frightening.

Actually, that’s been true for quite a few near-Earth asteroids — not knowing they are out there until they are in our face. Granted, there are endless billions of objects flying around out there, but it makes one nervous to possibly have a huge asteroid flying almost directly at you and not know it’s coming until it is definately too late to do anything about it.

For those hoping to spot the asteroid during its flyby, you are probably out of luck unless you live somewhere like South Africa, Antartica or Australia, which will be dark when the asteroid passes.