A small asteroid barely missed Earth just hours after the car-sized rock was discovered flying through space.
The asteroid, dubbed 2021 RS2, came within 9,532 miles of the earth’s surface on Tuesday. The close call was slightly farther than the Earth’s diameter, 7,917.5 miles, according to EarthSky.
RS2 was first observed by researchers at Mount Lemmon Survey in Arizona on September 7 as it barreled Earthward at 39,366 miles per hour.
If the asteroid had come any closer, it would have mostly disintegrated while burning up in the atmosphere and posed no real threat to the planet.
It is the closest flyby of the year and the 21st closest on record, sharing the place with 2021 CZ3 which flew past us on February 9, 2021.
According to The Watchers website, RS2 is the 81st known asteroid to fly within one lunar distance [239,228.3 miles] of Earth since the start of 2021.
In case an asteroid one day threatens Earth’s existence, NASA has developed a contingency plan to launch a spaceship right at the rock.
“Up until now, we haven’t had too many options for what we might do if we found something that was incoming,” Johns Hopkins planetary astronomer Andy Rivkin told Vice News of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission in April. “DART is the first test of how we might be able to deflect something without having to resort to a nuclear package, or sitting in our basements, waiting it out and crossing our fingers.”