Many asteroids come extremely close to the Earth, but eventually, they all make a safe passage and fly away without posing any risk to us. However, that was not the case recently, when an asteroid darted towards the Earth and would have struck it, if it was not for the atmosphere. The atmospheric drag heated the asteroid up and it exploded. The fireball asteroid was seen flying across the sky over Europe, reminding us that if things had been a little different, it could have struck any of the major cities and caused a big catastrophe. Check the details.
As per a report by European Space Agency, the asteroid was discovered just hours before it entered our atmosphere. “At 20:18 UTC on 12 February 2023, the new asteroid, initially designated Sar2667, was imaged by the Piszkesteto Observatory. Once a second observation was taken, it was reported to the Minor Planet Center,” the ESA statement said.
Earth narrowly escapes asteroid strike
The incident took place less than a year after the asteroid 2022 EB5 crashed into the Earth near the coast of Iceland. Back then, we were lucky since the impact site was an isolated coastal area and the small size of the space rock (3-4 meters in width) meant that it was not able to cause widespread damage. In the same vein, asteroid 2023 CX1 was 3-foot wide (0.9 meters) and due to its small size, it was not able to make it to the Earth in a single piece.
This asteroid burnt up in the sky and turned into a fireball that flew across the sky over Europe. The International Meteor Organization revealed that it received 61 different reports of the fireball across Wales, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. The scary part is if the asteroid was even a few meters larger, it could have smashed into a major city in any of these countries.
The ESA also stated that it is possible that some fragments of the asteroid could have survived and ended up on the north coast of Rouen in Normandy, France. However, there has been no expedition to find or recover the remains of the space rock.
“Of course, one day we’ll find an imminent impactor that isn’t one meter in size, but perhaps 100. To protect ourselves, as NASA’s DART mission has shown is possible and ESA’s Hera Mission will build on, we need to see them coming,” highlighted ESA.