An asteroid the size of a double-decker bus has come dangerously close to Earth – and NASA almost missed it.
The space rock flew past at 3200 km / h and came three times closer to our planet than the distance from Earth to the Moon.
Alarmingly, NASA admitted that the weekend flyby was not picked up by their asteroid radars until it was too late to act.
The rock was discovered just one day before its launch. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA had just time to calculate its orbit and determine that it was not a threat to the Earth before the flyby took place.
Known as 2019 VA, the 42-foot object happened on the afternoon of November 2 within 65,1
That may sound like a distance, but to put it in context, the Moon orbiting Earth at a distance of about 240,000 miles.
NASA sees everything that happens within 120 million miles of Earth as a Near Earth Object "that could threaten our planet.
2019 VA was, surprisingly, only slightly smaller than the famous Chelyabinsk Meteor, which detonated over Russia in 2013.
More than 1,500 people were injured by the explosion, 7,200 buildings were damaged by the tremendous shock wave it produced.
The flyby this weekend is one of several missed NASA passes this year. A 450-foot space rock, "the largest rock that has passed so close to Earth for 100 years," was missed in September due to poor weather conditions.
Although these near failures are more than a little disturbing, there is no reason to panic nonetheless.
NASA believes none of the thousands of NEOs it is tracking are currently on a collision course with our planet.
"NASA does not know of any asteroid or comet that is currently on a collision course with Earth. The likelihood of a major collision is relatively small. "
" As we can best judge, in the next one hundred years probably no big object will hit Earth.
Even If they hit our planet, asteroids of this size would not obliterate life as we know it.
According to NASA, "global catastrophes" are only triggered when objects longer than 300 meters hit the ground.