Emails Show NASA’s Surprise At Near-Miss Asteroid

Buzzfeed News reports:

In late July, a record-setting asteroid hurtled just 40,400 miles over Earth, the largest space rock to come so close in a century. But perhaps more alarming than the flyby itself is how much it caught NASA by surprise, according to internal agency documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Spotted just 24 hours before a relatively narrow miss with Earth, the incident reveals holes in NASA’s surveillance network to observe incoming space rocks. The football-field-sized asteroid, dubbed “2019 OK,” is also drawing attention to decades of congressional failures to fix the problem, experts say.

Flying at nearly 55,000 miles per hour, the asteroid came lumbering by with little warning, first detected that day by a small observatory in Brazil. The flyby came five times closer to Earth than the distance to the moon — a close shave by astronomical standards.

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