Nicknamed “The Beast,” asteroid HQ124 may be the Earth’s closest shave yet. And once again, like with all of these other close passes of late, HQ124 was not discovered until way late in the game. It was first identified on April 23 of this year, leaving a scant month and a half. This one is unique because NASA has actually declared this a “potentially hazardous” object. As you are probably aware, other near passes of asteroids over the last few years did not receive this classification.
The 325 meter wide asteroid is roughly the size of an aircraft carrier, and NASA says that it will pass within just three lunar distances away. Granted that is still a pretty long way by most of our reckonings here on Earth, but in astronomical terms that is a whisker.
As always, there is that group of conspiracy theorists that are convinced that HQ124 is poised to strike the Earth and NASA and our government don’t want to panic us but are declaring it a “potentially hazardous object” so that they won’t look totally clueless when it all goes down. Well, we can all hope that those people are wrong, but if they are right, it wouldn’t make much difference. An asteroid strike from one this size would most likely be the end of most if not all of us anyway, and those that survived would awake in a very different world than the one we know today. What is disturbing is that worldwide technology seems to be quite capable of being snuck up on by these potentially cataclysmic objects that are plentifully dancing in the Earth and moon orbital region.