An Asteroid Could Have Killed Us Tonight

Rejoice, because you are alive: An asteroid named 2009 TM8 just passed only 216,000 miles from Earth, racing at 18,163mph. That's closer than the moon. But don't worry, there'll be plenty of opportunities to panic, says the JPL:

If it's typical density, it would create a 4 kiloton explosion in the Earth's atmosphere if it were to hit, which of course it won't. You'd expect an object of this size to fly within the orbit of the moon every few days or so.

That's what Don Yeomans—manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California—said talking about 2009 TM8 and the other 7 million objects in the near-Earth space which, "needless to say we have discovered only a small fraction of them."

Great. At 30 feet, something like 2009 TM8 is not as big as the killer Apophis or as the superkiller that can destroy everything on Earth. But who cares about destroying everything when this thing is large enough to annihilate Brooklyn.

Ah well, as if I needed any excuses to celebrate after this sodding Friday. Zacapa rum, here I come. [MSNBC]