Asteroid on a collision mission with Earth disintegrates just hours after discovery

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This chunk of space rock, however, was actually detected hours before hit the Earth's atmosphere.

An asteroid on a Crash course with Earth Awakened after Entering the air across southern Africa on Saturday only eight hours later it had been discovered.

When 2018 LA reached Earth, it was traveling very fast at around 10 miles per second (38,000MPH) and disintegrated in the atmosphere on impact.

Catalina Sky Survey astronomers in Arizona estimate the asteroid measured around 6ft in size, meaning it likely fully burned up during its descent.

In fact, the small asteroid was a lot smaller than the equipment is trained to detect.

This doesn't mean the asteroid touched down on Earth and was spirited away by shadowy men in dark suits.

The asteroid, dubbed 2018 LA, was discovered out near the Moon's orbit early on Saturday morning.

Using what information was available, however, they were able to roughly calculate where it would enter Earth's atmosphere: In a swath stretching from southern Africa, across the Indian Ocean to New Guinea. He adds that the event is also only the second time that a location has been identified with enough time before eventual impact. However, since the asteroid was determined to be so small and therefore harmless, no further impact alerts were issued by NASA.

"It shows our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to much larger and more threatening objects".

In addition, the Manager of the Centre for research of Ground objects Floor khodas explained that it was only the third time in history when it was possible to track the trajectory and a high probability of an asteroid collision long before the event itself.

It's happened three times, the most recent coming over the weekend. The space agency is focused on saving lives and property by predicting where an asteroid will strike. "Over 8,000 of these larger asteroids are now being tracked". However, the asteroid of 2008 was detected nineteen hours before it struck the sky over Sudan. The six feet (two meters) broad asteroid was discovered a few hours prior to reaching the Earth. The second was 2014 AA, discovered only a few hours before it impacted over the Atlantic Ocean on January 1, 2014.

And each time, the object was spotted by Richard Kowalski of the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson. NASA scientists and astronomers around the world regularly observe the sky for any signs of potential unsafe asteroids that could pose an impact threat to the Earth.