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Asteroid narrowly misses Earth
Posted: Fri, Jun 21, 2002, 10:37 AM ET (1437 GMT)
Asteroid impact illustration (Don Davis/NASA) A small asteroid passed just 120,000 kilometers from the Earth earlier this month, one of the closest observed approaches of an asteroid in recent years. The asteroid, 2002 MN, came within 120,000 km of the Earth, less than a third of distance to the Moon, on June 14. The asteroid was not discovered, however, until three days later, when it was spotted by the automated LINEAR asteroid-hunting telescope in New Mexico. The asteroid, estimated to be between 50 and 120 meters across, could have caused damage on a local, but not global, scale had it collided with the Earth. The last time an asteroid was observed to have come as close to the Earth as this was in late 1994.
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