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Dark, massive asteroid to fly by Earth on May 31

May 18, 2013

The Extinction Protocol

May 18, 2013SPACEIt’s 1.7 miles long. Its surface is covered in a sticky black substance similar to the gunk at the bottom of a barbecue. If it impacted Earth, it would probably result in global extinction. Good thing it is just making a flyby. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make its closest pass to Earth on May 31 at 1:59 p.m. PDT. Scientists are not sure where this unusually large space rock, which was discovered 15 years ago, originated from. But the mysterious sooty substance on its surface could indicate it may be the result of a comet that flew too close to the sun, said Amy Mainzer, who tracks near-Earth objects at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. It might also have leaked out of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, she said. We will know more after the asteroid zips…

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