AN ASTEROID was discovered for the first time just two hours before it struck Earth’s atmosphere, scientists have announced.
On March 11, Hungarian astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky from the Konkoly Observatory near Budapest uncovered a small asteroid heading towards our planet.
Designated 2022 EB5, the small rocky object impacted Earth just north of Iceland.
Measuring at just ten feet wide, 2022 EB5 was around the size of an average step ladder.
The asteroid was moving at a speed of about 11 miles per second (or 18.5 km/s).
Due to the intense speed at which it was traveling, the asteroid harmlessly vaporized in Earth’s atmosphere.
However, experts say even if the asteroid would have touched down on Earth, it wouldn’t have caused much damage due to its small size.
At present, it is unclear whether any residual fragments have survived the impact.
Some residents in Iceland have reported hearing a loud boom or seeing a flash of light, prompting the International Meteor Organization to seek out witnesses.
Such reports are not uncommon as asteroid flights through our atmosphere typically cause a bright meteor, or shooting star, often called a fireball, per a report by EarthSky.
When 2022 EB5 struck Earth, it marked the fifth known instance of an asteroid being discovered prior to impact, astronomer Marian Rudnyk noted in a tweet.
Rudnyk added that this statistic highlights just how dangerous asteroids are and “how vulnerable we are.”
In an attempt to address this vulnerability, Nasa recently conducted a simulated experiment to assess the impact of an asteroid smashing into Earth, per a new report.
The simulated exercise spanned a course of two days and hoped to gauge the United States’ ability to respond effectively to an asteroid threat.
It also focused on whether agency officials could coordinate efficiently across federal, state, and local government levels.
An asteroid impact on our planet is one of few natural disasters science is capable of accurately predicting and potentially preventing.