While we have a tremendous ability to scan the skies these days, trying to spot asteroids in our solar system is the equivalent of trying to find a specific pebble in a pitch black cave.
It’s fucking hard. Which is why astronomers were only able to spot asteroid 2016 QA2 until hours before it had a close call with Earth.
How close? Less than a quarter of the distance from Earth to the Moon. So like, close as fuck. It was a big one, too, estimated to be between 50-150 feet wide.
For comparison sake, the asteroid that mercked up Chelyabinsk, Russia three years was around fifty feet. Imagine something three times that size.
That’d put a hurting on Earth, and with just a few hours notice, no, that would not have been enough time to get a team of oil drillers to split it in two.
Send a missile, maybe, but America’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is still in its infancy.
Might be time to, you know, get that shit up and running.
God can only send us so many warnings.
[Via Popular Mechanics]