[Representational image]Pixabay

Earth had a close brush with a giant asteroid. The space rock was as big as a double decker bus, and passed by Earth at a distance of just 139,433 miles (approximately 224,396 km).

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Dubbed 2017 YZ4, the asteroid was newly spotted by the astronomers and its flyby was defined as a "near miss" by them.

The asteroid is not more than 15 metres (49 feet) in diameter. The astronomers detected the space rock only on Christmas Day before it passed by Earth on December 28 at a pace of 21,000mph (around 33,790 kmph).

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"This is the first known asteroid to fly by Earth within one lunar distance since two such asteroids flew past us 35 minutes apart on November 21," a NASA spokesperson was quoted by the Express as saying.

"As of December 24, there are 17,495 known near-Earth objects (NEOs) around our planet.17, 389 are asteroids. This year, we discovered 1,985 new near-Earth asteroids. There were 1888 such objects discovered in 2016 and 1,571 in 2015," he added.


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Any celestial body which travels by Earth within the range of 6 million miles is monitored by NASA in order to take the required steps in case of a possible collision. Asteroids that fly past Earth at a distance of 4.6 million miles are considered dangerous.

In case the asteroid was going to collide with Earth instead of zooming by it, it could cause some serious damage.

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In another instance, NASA astronomers had predicted that an asteroid named 2002 NT7 would hit Earth on February 1, 2019 at 11:47am GMT at a pace of at a speed of 17 miles per second and it would have an impact equal to that of 30 million nuclear bombs.

But this statement was changed by the US space agency after four days and they stated that there was nothing to worry about.

NASA changed its statement after re-evaluation but conspiracy theorists were claiming it to be a cover-up by the agency.