Previously unknown asteroid just whizzed past earth at close range

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Previously Unknown Asteroid Just Whizzed Past Earth At Close Range

NASA has been tasked with finding giant asteroids that pose a potential threat to Earth, but the smaller, less destructive ones aren't always on their radar.

Such was the case with 2016 QA2, which came within 50,000 miles of our planet on Sunday. In astronomical terms, that's quite close. The moon is an average of about 239,000 miles away from our planet.

According to Seeker, the asteroid was discovered about a day before it passed.

It is, at minimum, about 80 feet wide, a bit larger than the one that caused damage and injuries in Russia roughly 3-and-a-half years ago.

Had it entered Earth's atmosphere, the fallout would not have been dinosaur-extinction level, but may have caused some troubles in the immediate area.

Notably, NASA is in the process of engaging equipment that will allow for the detection of such small and close space objects.

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IN SPACE - JULY 10: This handout image provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the asteroid Lutetia at closest approach July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. Lutetia, about which little is known although it was discovered in 1852, is believed to be 83.3 miles (134 kilometers) in diameter. The Rosetta, which was launched in 2004, flew by Lutetia tonight at a distance of 1,900 miles (3,200 kilometers). (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)
This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Asteroid Vesta shows Licinia crater, which is the large crater in the center of the image. Licinia has a fresh, sharp rim that is scalloped in shape. Around the side of Licinia crater there are many streaks of dark and bright material cascading towards the crater's center. This image is located in Vesta's Floronia quadrangle, in Vesta's northern hemisphere. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 11, 2011. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
The large asteroid Vesta is shown in this image taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. Astronauts and scientists are training in waters off Key Largo, Florida as part of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) which is meant to test equipment and man's reactions for a human rendezvous with an asteroid. (Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
IN SPACE - JULY 10: This handout photo illustration provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the final sequence of images before the closest approach of the asteroid Lutetia July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. Lutetia, about which little is known although it was discovered in 1852, is believed to be 83.3 miles (134 kilometers) in diameter. The Rosetta, which was launched in 2004, flew by Lutetia tonight at a distance of 1,900 miles (3,200 kilometers). (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on July 17, 2011. It was taken from a distance of about 9,500 miles (15,000 kilometers) away from the protoplanet Vesta. Each pixel in the image corresponds to roughly 0.88 miles (1.4 kilometers). (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Image of the Vesta Ateroid. This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows linear grooves and ridges in Vesta's regolith. These linear features generally run diagonally across the image from the top left to the bottom right. They are less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in width and some have lengths that extend across the entire image. This image is located in Vesta's Tuccia quadrangle, in Vesta's southern hemisphere. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image on April 8, 2012. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
As NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes off for its next destination, this mosaic synthesizes some of the best views the spacecraft had of the giant asteroid Vesta. Dawn studied Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012. The towering mountain at the south pole -- more than twice the height of Mount Everest -- is visible at the bottom of the image. The set of three craters known as the 'snowman' can be seen at the top left. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Asteroid 2015 TB145 is depicted in eight individual radar images collected on Oct. 31, 2015 between 5:55 a.m. PDT (8:55 a.m. EDT) and 6:08 a.m. PDT (9:08 a.m. EDT). (Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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