A Tiny Asteroid Just Hit Earth, Sparking Fireball Over South Africa

NASA news Asteroid heading towards Earth

GETTY STOCK IMAGENASA asteroid The speeding space rock was deemed harmless due to its small size

"However, this real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object", Johnson pointed out.

A small asteroid slammed into Earth's atmosphere on June 2 just a few hours after it was discovered racing toward the planet, according to NASA.

If one of them comes hurtling to Earth, we could have only days, if that, between when it is spotted and when it hits-and that result would be more devastation than dazzling.

When 2018 LA reached Earth, it was traveling very fast at around 10 miles per second (38,000MPH) and disintegrated in the atmosphere on impact.

It burned up safely miles above Earth's surface.

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The astroboffins only managed to get a couple of readings on the asteroid's trajectory, and thought it would strike somewhere in southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, or possibly New Guinea. Assigned a temporary name of "ZLAF9B2" while it was evaluated, the astronomers passed on their observations to colleagues at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics' Minor Planet Center, and the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. That trajectory plot was the first hint that 2018 LA could hit Earth.

Video posted on YouTube, from a farm just across the border in South Africa, showed a fireball swiftly descending and getting bigger, and then a blinding flash in the sky.

The space rock, dubbed 2018 LA, was first identified by scientists with the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey, organized by the University of Arizona, on Saturday morning.

According to the Sky & Telescope, the meteoroid grew into a spectacular fireball while travelling at a speed of 17 kilometres per second. However, the asteroid was determined to be very small and therefore harmless.

An asteroid four times as big exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 in an airburst blowing out windows and injuring over 1,500 people with cuts caused by flying glass and debris.

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This is the incredible moment a high-speed asteroid the size of a vehicle explodes over the South African wilderness just seconds before impact.

The Minor Planetary Centre said 'object no longer exists (in its original form), following its entry into the Earth's atmosphere on 2 June 2018.

But in a nice bit of detective work, two additional observations were obtained by the ATLAS asteroid survey that were used by the Scout system to narrow down the predicted impact points in southern Africa.

There have been only two other times when asteroids were detected so soon before impact.

In 2008, an asteroid measuring 4 metres was spotted 19 hours in advance. The Catalina Sky Survey has been responsible for discovering all three of these small asteroids on impact trajectories, and all on the watch of the same observer, Richard Kowalski.

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