NASA is reporting a rather rocky start to the week, as the Earth is set for at least five asteroid flybys. It comes hot on the heels of another asteroid unexpectedly whizzing between Earth and the Moon without anyone noticing.
Four of the five space rocks due to buzz the Earth this week were only spotted in May, raising concerns about just how prepared our planetary defenses are; While we caught them, we cut it very close if we needed to shoot them out of the sky or at least deflect them, our only two options to stave off an asteroid apocalypse at present.
Thankfully, the asteroids, ranging in size from 46 feet to 180 feet in diameter, will miss us by a safe margin of error of between 869,000 miles and 4.1 million miles, so there is no immediate concern about an impending fiery death raining down from the sky to top off the wildfires, pandemic, economic crises, and social and civil unrest which have plagued the Earth so far in 2020.
However, more worrying than this week’s celestial visitors is a guest who visited our backyard and left before anyone noticed – asteroid 2020 LD, which measures 400 ft/122 meters in diameter.
2020 LD passed between the Earth and the Moon, and was the largest space rock to do so since 2011, and no one knew until it was gone; it passed us on June 5, but wasn’t discovered until June 7.