interesting Every Single Recorded Close Call Earth Has Had With An Asteroid  

Eric Vega
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List Rules Only asteroids that have passed within one lunar distance (LD) of Earth without impacting.

With all the problems we're dealing with on Earth, it's easy to forget the constant threats floating around in the darkness of space. Just like the dinosaurs, humanity could be instantly wiped out by an impact from a flying chunk of space rock traveling roughly 25 km per second. A big enough asteroid could have apocalyptic repercussions, which is why NASA constantly monitors the skies for potential threats.

How close do asteroids get to Earth, exactly? Too close for comfort, according to data from NASA. The amount of close calls experienced in the last century alone is enough to keep most people up at night. At least 52 asteroids larger than a meter in size have passed within one lunar distance (LD) of Earth since 1910, and prediction models say there are plenty more to come.

The closest some of these asteroids have come to hitting the planet may surprise you. An LD is an astronomical unit of measurement based on the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon, which is pretty darn close when it comes to space travel. It's important to keep a list of asteroid passes, if for no other reason than to remind ourselves of how fragile we are. Luckily, only an asteroid that measures larger than 25 meters has a chance of making it through the atmosphere without burning up. This is a comprehensive list of all the times asteroids almost hit Earth – in case you were hoping to develop a phobia of meteors.

2011 CQ1 - 11,900 km


Date: February 4, 2011
Size: 1 meter
Damage In The Event Of Impact: None

In February 2011, a relatively small asteroid made big news when it whizzed by the Earth. It is the closest an asteroid has ever been to the planet without making landfall. It was a bit of a surprise for scientists, who weren't even aware of its existence until it was spotted just 14 hours before it passed by.

2008 TS26 - 12,600 km


Date: October 9, 2008
Size: 0.5-1.6 meters
Damage In The Event Of Impact: None

2004 FU162 - 12,900 km


Date: March 31, 2004
Size: 4–12 meters
Damage In The Event Of Impact: None

In 2004, an asteroid known as 2004 FU162 zipped by; it was the closest object to pass by the Earth at that time. Scientists were amazed by the asteroid, which made an unprecedented 20 degree course change due to the effects of Earth's gravitational field.

2016 DY30 - 14,300 km


Date: February 25, 2016
Size: 2–5 meters
Damage In The Event Of Impact: None

Asteroid 2016 DY30 was traveling at speeds of 17 km/s when it passed the Earth in February 2016. This is one of many near-Earth collisions that took place that year, a phenomenon that was reported widely across the Internet.