NASA Discovers Two Asteroids Hours After They Slipped Past Earth

The two tiny asteroids 2018 NX and 2018 NW sneaked past Earth last weekend and were only discovered hours after their flyby. They flew past our home planet at distances of 72,000 miles and 76,000 miles, respectively, or about a third of our distance from the moon.

The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center said that scientists at an observatory on the Palomar Mountain range in California detected the asteroids on Sunday.

Astronomers estimate that the space rocks spanned between 16 feet and 50 feet in diameter. This size is relatively small compared with other near-Earth asteroids.

The space rocks may have passed Earth almost at the same time, but they were not traveling as a pair. Asteroid 2018 NW hurled toward our planet five times faster than 2018 NX.

The duo traveled relatively near Earth, but they did not pose risk because they were far enough not to penetrate our atmosphere.