According to NASA, a massive space rock known as Asteroid 2019 OK flew 45,000 miles close to the Earth, about one-fifth of the distance to the moon on July 25, 2019. The rock was massive with an estimated 57 to 130 meters wide (187 to 427 feet). According to Melbourne-based observational astronomer Michael Brown, the asteroid wasn’t one that scientists had long been tracking, and this seemingly appeared from out of nowhere.
Based on researchers, the size of Asteroid 2019 OK wasn’t easy to detect, which explains why it went under the radar of astronomers. The last space rock to strike Earth similar in size to Asteroid 2019 OK was more than a century ago. Known as the Tunguska event, the collision caused an explosion that levelled 2,000 square kilometres of forest land in Siberia. The undetected event of Asteroid 2019 OK proves there are still dangerous asteroids out there that astronomers do not know of that can potentially strike Earth in the future unannounced.
In light of Asteroid 2019 OK, astronomers are stressing on the importance of investing in a dedicated global approach to detecting asteroids. With a commitment to this effort, astronomers will have the technology to find and deflect certainly these smaller asteroids. Senior editor of the Planetary Society, Emily Lakdawalla saw this incident as a reminder of the importance to be watching the skies. Additionally, it is essential to help the public to be more aware of asteroids to prepare them for potential disasters better.