Asteroid (representational image), photo credit: NASA
Asteroid (representational image), photo credit: NASANASA

An asteroid, the size of a bus, zipped by Earth on 3 May (Saturday). The recently-detected asteroid 2014 HL129 went closer to Earth than the Moon, reported the website.

According to NASA's Asteroid Watch project based at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the asteroid was about 7.6 meters (25 feet) wide. It came within 299,338 kilometers (186,000 miles) of Earth on Saturday morning and made its closest approach at 4.13 am EDT (1.43 pm IST and 8.13 am GMT).

Nasa scientists have been constantly looking for asteroid that could strike the Earth's surface. The HL129 asteroid was discovered only on 28 April (Wednesday) by the astronomers with the Mt. Lemmon Survey team, which uses a telescope at the Steward Observatory located atop Mt. Lemmon in Arizona's Catalina Mountains, the website reported.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has established the Near Earth Object Program to track "comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth's neighborhood."

Astronomers have discovered 10,997 Near-Earth objects (NEOs) as of 2 May 2014. Of the 10,997 objects, 862 are asteroids with a diameter of approximately 1 kilometer or larger. As many as 1469 NEOs are classified as Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs), according to NASA

Photo Credit: NASA