When 2018 LA reached Earth, it was traveling very fast at around 10 miles per second (38,000MPH) and disintegrated in the atmosphere on impact.
"However, this real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object", Johnson pointed out.
2018 LA was first detected by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Ariz., which is funded by NASA and is operated by the University of Arizona.
YouTubeNasa's Near Earth Object Centre said that Asteroid 2018 LA was travelling at 27, 738 miles per hour. Researchers there quickly determined its trajectory put the rock on a probable collision course with Earth.
The Minor Planet Center then reported the asteroidto CNEOS. Here's how to know for sure!
Trajectory path of ZLAF9B2 (2018 LA) plotted across Oceania, the Indian Ocean and Africa. Videos posted to YouTube reportedly show the fireball streaking across the night sky, including one captured on a South African farm's security camera.
NASA scans the skies regularly for asteroids and comets that could be a threat to life on Earth. This is because asteroid detection depends on telescopes picking up sunlight reflected off the asteroid's surface.
Asteroids are small remnants of violent collisions in the solar system's history and formed around 4.5 billion years ago. Thus, the asteroid has to come fairly close to Earth before it can be detected.
When it was first detected, the asteroid was almost as far away as the Moon's orbit, although that was not initially known.
Astronomers can easily track massive space rocks big enough to cause the extinction of humanity.
An asteroid four times as big exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 in an airburst blowing out windows injuring more than 1,500 people mainly due to cuts caused by flying glass and debris. It burned up and burst into scraps in our atmosphere. Hours later, it struck the atmosphere. Expert Geoff Notkin tells us how!
"The discovery of asteroid 2018 LA is only the third time that an asteroid has been discovered to be on an impact trajectory, said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, on Sunday".
The first in 2008 was detected 19 hours ahead of impact, and the second was detected a few hours ahead in 2014.
But in a nice bit of detective work, two additional observations were obtained by the ATLAS asteroid survey that were used by the Scout system to narrow down the predicted impact points in southern Africa. The same asteroid hunter, Richard Kowalski, made all three discoveries.