If you read this, the earth is intact. That's good news, as a couple of asteroids came reasonably close to our planet this morning. The rocks 2019 QS and 2019 OU1 both raced safely past the earth on their way around the sun.
Of the two rocks, QS is the smallest with a width between 30 and 60 meters. OU1 is much larger and estimated to be up to 170 meters in diameter. Neither object fulfills the Planet Killer criteria, but both can do a fair amount of damage depending on the location of the impact.
NASA has done a really good job of monitoring all potentially dangerous objects that are invading our neck of the Cosmic Forest. A huge database of all these rocks is available online, with updated forecasts and information on the size of each object, when it is expected to pass the Earth, and at what distance these transits will take place.
A scenario with a huge earth -killer space rock emerges from nowhere is incredibly unlikely, even if we expect that from exaggerated science-fiction disaster movies. Even smaller objects can cause serious damage if they appear in the sky over a populated area.
Already in 201
Like a bomb, the explosion caused a powerful shockwave that damaged buildings for miles, shattered windows, and injured some residents with flying splinters of glass. About 1,500 people were treated for various injuries, but the event did not require fatalities.
If such a small rock can do this kind of damage, you can imagine what a 170-meter wide rock could do if it were turned on a collision course with our planet. Luckily, the asteroids from this morning passed without creating a scene, and we keep our fingers crossed that the Earth will keep its winning streak for the foreseeable future.