On April 15, 2018, asteroid 2018 GE3 set a record as the largest-known asteroid of its size to make a close pass to the Earth–and at less than half the distance between the Earth and the Moon, that’s a fairly close shave. The 48 to 110 meter (157 to 361-foot) object is between three to six times the size of the object that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013.
2018 GE3 was only spotted by the Catalina Sky Survey the day before its close, 193,000-kilometre (120,000-mile) pass, moving at 29.5 km/s, or 66,000 mph. As it whizzed away from us it passed even closer to the Moon, only one-third the distance between La Luna and Terra Firma.
Thankfully, asteroids such as 2018 GE3 routinely hit the Earth’s atmosphere, typically exploding high in the sky without incident, long before the bulk of their mass reaches the ground. This asteroid is, however, the 32nd known asteroid to visit Earth within 1 lunar distance since the start of 2018; however, 2018 GE3’s two-and-a-half year orbit will have it fall out of sync with our own, so another close pass with our new-found neighbor won’t occur for a long time to come.
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