An asteroid passed a mere 60,000km from the Earth on Monday. That's really close. To put that in perspective, the moon is about 384,000km away. So, in astronomical terms, that's one hell of a near miss. Here's a handy graphic from the Sydney Morning Herald:
I'm not sure why I'm only finding out about this now. I had assumed - foolishly, as it turns out - that the mere whiff of an asteroid would activate a complex alarm system. Grimly competent men in fancy outfits would be on every street corner, calmly explaining the situation. Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck would be dispatched to blow it back to sallow space hole it crawled out of, while Aerosmith played somewhere in the background. Not so. We only get the "oh, by the way..." after-the-fact alarm. "Good news! You know that asteroid you didn't know about that was really close to hitting us? Well, it didn't." Thanks, NASA.
But I guess I'm overreacting. The offending rock - DD40 to astronomers - is only about 30-50m wide. If it hit, it could devastate a large area or trigger a tsunami. But it wouldn't destroy human life as we know it. It might destroy some of us, which is still kind of a dick move. Not cool, Space. Not cool. I just ordered a new MacBook, and if a giant space rock smites me before I can use I will be very put out.