NASA has given its standard warning that while this is a little close for comfort there is nothing to fear. Asteroid DX110 is a 100-foot long space rock that will pass the Earth at a distance so close that it will actually be closer than the moon. While current predicted trajectories indicate that DX110 poses no danger to the Earth, possibly the most frightening thing about it is how the asteroid was discovered. DX110 was identified just five days before its flyby on February 28, 2014.
While DX110 isn’t expected to be a catastrophic event, it’s easy to see why this is worrisome. If an asteroid could pass this close and have been so close to going completely undetected, what are the odds that a similar asteroid on a direct trajectory with an Earth collision could also slip through scientists’ nets?
Like most things, it depends on who you ask. Most so-called experts will happily tell you that no asteroid of any significance could strike the Earth without us knowing about it weeks, months, or possibly even years in advance. Then, DX110 becomes the latest in a long line of space rocks to slip through almost unnoticed. And if DX110 was on a collision course with Earth, we would have only five days to figure out what to do about it. That’s five days to find some technological solution to stop a cataclysmic event. What do you think? Are asteroids passing this close just so common that they only make the news when they are extra large? Or is this an example of a huge flaw in our detection systems?