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National Near Miss Day and the Fragility of Life on Earth

4 weeks ago
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March 23rd isn't just another day on the calendar; it's National Near Miss Day, a day dedicated to a cosmic close call that serves as a stark reminder of our place in the vastness of space.

This day commemorates the near collision between Earth and a mountain-sized asteroid named 4581 Asclepius in 1989.

The 1989 Asteroid Flyby

The story of National Near Miss Day begins not with celebration, but with a terrifying oversight. Unbeknownst to the world, on March 22nd, 1989, a giant asteroid was hurtling towards Earth.

4581 Asclepius, estimated to be roughly 300 meters (984 feet) in diameter, was on a trajectory that could have resulted in a catastrophic collision.

The impact would have released energy equivalent to millions of atomic bombs, potentially triggering widespread devastation.

However, humanity remained blissfully unaware of the impending danger. Astonishingly, Asclepius wasn't discovered until March 31st, a full nine days after its closest approach.

This near miss highlights the limitations of our current asteroid detection capabilities, showcasing the potential for future surprises lurking in the depths of space.



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