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Earth in for another near-miss with an asteroid at end of month

Rick Docksai | Science Recorder | May 17, 2013

Earth in for another near-miss with an asteroid at end of month

Earth will get a close flyby from a massive asteroid.

Earth will get another asteroid fly-by later this month. NASA announced Thursday, May 16, that a 1.7-mile-long asteroid will fly through Earth’s vicinity on May 31.

The asteroid won’t get anywhere near close enough to hit Earth. Its closest point will be approximately 3.6 million miles away, equivalent to 15 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. That’s a very good thing, because a collision would be forceful enough to trigger 300-foot-high tsunamis that could travel 15 or more miles inland, wiping out whole towns and cities living on the coasts. Some 100 million people—10% of the world population—would be within their range. Survivors would have to contend with severe damage to Earth’s ozone layer and massive disruptions to climate everywhere, two other consequences of an asteroid of this size hitting Earth.

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