These three images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on December 15-17, b-2018.
(NASA / JPL-Caltech / GSSR / NSF / GBO)
A rogue asteroid in the form of a wading hippo has just skimmed past the Earth.
The space rock, which measures a mile long, was ‘potentially dangerous’, says NASA.
The close flyby saw the object called 2003 SD220 – expert within 1.8 million kilometers from Earth, or about seven times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
Nasa researchers took radar measurements of the space rock, comparing the form and shape of the exposed portion of a hippopotamus wading in a river.’
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This was the closest approach in more than four centuries, and the object will not come this close again for 52 years, said scientists.
Images revealed of the rock rotates once every 12 days and has a complex spin similar to a poorly thrown American football.
The asteroid, first discovered in 2003, is classified as “potentially dangerous” by the size and close approaches to the orbit of the Earth.
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However, the latest radar measurements confirm the do not pose a future impact threat to the Earth.
Scans were taken by the coordinate of Nasa’s 70m antenna in California, the National Science Foundation 100m telescope in West Virginia and the Arecibo Observatory 305m antenna in Puerto Rico.
“The radar images to an unprecedented level of detail and are comparable to those obtained from a spacecraft flyby,” said observation is a scientist Lance Benner of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Click here to read more from The Sun, where this story was originally published.