Asteroid JO25 WARNING: ‘Rubber ducky’ asteroid skims past Earth | Science | News

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The unusual space rock from beyond the fringes of the solar system could be potentially big enough to have caused major damage on impact.

The , designation 2014 JO25, skimmed past Earth on April 19, 2017.

At its closest point, the asteroid approached the planet within 4.6 lunar distances or more than 1.7 million kilometres from Earth.

This was the closest asteroid approach in 400 years and likely will cling on to that title for the next 500.

But the most interesting thing about the terrifying asteroid is its atypical shape which has gathered a great deal of interest from the US space agency.

said: “The general appearance of the asteroid, depending on viewing angle, is vaguely reminiscent of a lopsided peanut, or a rubber ducky.”

The asteroid is also a dead ringer for Comet 67P which shares an almost identical rubber duck-like shape.

According to NASA, the asteroid is about 650 meters across and its shape can be attributed to the gravitation pool of other planets.

But there is also the possibility the asteroid formed when two smaller objects collided in the deep darkness of space.

NASA explained: “Yet another possibility is that a pre-existing, larger asteroid was shattered by a collision with another object, and some of the remaining debris re-accumulated by its weak mutual gravitational attraction into a few individual rubble-piles which settled onto each other.”

The larger of the two “connected lobes” is estimated to be about 610 metres across.

JO25 was photographed by NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, when it approached within 3 million kilometres from Earth.

Although asteroids approach Earth several times each week, NASA stressed this was the closest known asteroid approach of this size.

Thankfully having passed the planet without crash landing, NASA’s space boffins are not expecting the space rock to come as close again in the next 400 years.

The news follows the shocking discovery another major fly by.

The 68 metre-wide 2018 GL1 will zoom by in the early morning hours of FridayMay 18, coming as close as 14.3 Lunar Distances from Earth – more than 5 million kilometres.

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