On June 15, 2002, an asteroid barely missed the Earth by 75,000 miles. The space rock, which was designated as 2002MN, was traveling at a speed of 6.2 miles per second. Astronomers were unable to immediately detect it because it was coming from the sun's direction.
The space rock was detected days after it had missed planet Earth. The Near-Earth Objects Information Center is located in Leicester, England. Initial citing of the space rock was done by LINEAR, which is an MIT Lincoln Laboratory situated in New Mexico. After this, there were 14 more observations of 2002MN.
If the object had succeeded in striking the Earth, it would have caused a similar amount of damage reported in Siberia in 1908 when a space rock hit the surface. Since then, NASA has been making tremendous investments in locating these space rocks with the intent of establishing countermeasures should one of them head towards planet Earth. It has detected 602 near-Earth asteroids over 1km large. Space rocks larger than 1km can cause global devastation given their sheer size and speed.
Scientists have forecasted the future trajectory of 2002MN. Luckily, the space rock won’t have another near-miss with Earth for several years. Moreover, no potential impacts are expected until at least 2050.