Asteroid 2001 YB5 was only discovered in December and it is now extremely close to the Earth. Although there is no danger of collision, astronomers say its proximity reminds us just how many objects there are in space that could strike our planet with devastating consequences. Astronomers and archaeologists suspect that our planet is struck by an object like 2001 YB5 about every 5,000 years, but this is a guess that?s not based on any definite evidence.
The asteroid passed less than twice the Moon?s distance from us – just 510,000 miles away – on Monday, January 7, which is extremely close in cosmic terms. YB5?s brightness suggests it?s a rocky body about 328 yards wide, which is large enough to wipe out an entire country if it struck the Earth.