Last night, the Yu55 asteroid at the center of dubious earthquake rumors and idle doomsday speculation sped past Earth safely, coming within an estimated 201,000 miles. As the live feeds of telescopes tracked the object, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory tweeted that the asteroid appeared as a dot at telescope view. Just prior to the flyby of the 1,300-foot asteroid, JPL uploaded a radar image movie of the big rock just out of reach of the Earth. To the untrained eye, the video, which was taken when the asteroid was 860,000 miles away from our planet, is a grainy moving illustration of the giant rock. When the asteroid did zoom past, researchers went to work:
NASA blasted the asteroid with microwaves from a radio telescope near Barstow, using the 230-foot-wide aluminum dish to receive signals bouncing off the asteroid. That data revealed its ridges, craters and boulders and provided enough information about its speed, trajectory and physical characteristics to allow JPL officials to plot its course for the next 64 years.
Which means, the Los Angeles Times informs, we'll be seeing Yu55 again in 2075.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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