Thursday, July 18, 2024

Earth’s gravity knocked pyramid-size asteroid off course during recent ultra-close flyby, NASA images reveal

Late last month, a gigantic asteroid larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza hurtled between Earth and the moon at more than 21,000 mph (34,000 km/h). The rare, ultra-close encounter allowed astronomers to capture the first-ever pictures of the space rock, which revealed that the near-Earth object was lightly knocked off course by our planet’s gravitational pull — forever changing the asteroid’s journey around the sun.

The asteroid, named 2024 MK, is roughly 500 feet (150 meters) across, making it big enough to wipe out a large city. The “potentially hazardous” space rock, which has an irregular and elongated shape, was first spotted barreling toward Earth on June 16 by the NASA-funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) in South Africa.

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