‘City Killer’ Asteroid On Course For Extremely Close Approach


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A “potentially hazardous” asteroid will zip past Earth Friday, February 2, reaching its closest point to our home planet for more than a century.

The football-stadium-sized space rock is named 2008 OS7, and is roughly 890 feet across, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in their asteroid database. The closest approach we should see of 2008 OS7 is around 1.77 million miles, JPL said, which sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t in the context of space. The graphic on JPL’s website appears to show the rock almost colliding with us, but let’s hope that doesn’t actually happen — it probably won’t.

Once 2008 OS7 has whizzed past us, we won’t see it again for another few hundred years.  The Virtual Telescope Project set up a livestream so you can watch this magical moment as it happens.

Asteroids of this size are sometimes known as “city killers.” The name derives from the potential destruction such an asteroid would cause should it enter our atmosphere. And most “city killer”-sized asteroids go undetected by NASA, as Forbes reported. In February 2023, a huge asteroid heading directly for Earth’s orbit went completely undetected by international space agencies, but was thankfully spotted by an amateur astronomer in Crimea. (RELATED: If The Largest Asteroid Near Earth Hit Us, Here’s What It Would Look Like)

These blind-spots in Earth’s planetary threat defense system are significant. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting our last major climate catastrophe and mass extinction event, a period known as the end of the Younger Dryas, was likely caused by an asteroid or series of them either crashing into Earth or bursting within our atmosphere, vaporizing everything in its path — including the ice sheets that clung to North America.

NASA has managed to alter the orbit of at least one small space rock. But the object acted so mysteriously since its path was altered that an investigation was launched by NASA to figure out why.