This is the incredible moment a high-speed asteroid the size of a car explodes over the South African wilderness just seconds before impact.
The spinning space rock was captured by two farmers on CCTV as it hurtled down from the heavens leaving a blazing white heat trail in its impressive wake.
It blew up in a huge fireball 30 miles before impact – but was just two seconds away from slamming into the savannah.
Asteroid trackers at NASA quickly determined the rock – which was about 6 feet across – was too small to pose any danger. It burned up in the Saturday evening sky over Botswana, eight hours after first being noticed.
Incredible footage captures the moment the space rock – which was about 6 feet across – heads towards the earth
As the asteroid plummeted, it blew up into a huge fireball just two seconds before impact above the South African wilderness
This photo shows the trajectory of the asteroid as it made its way across the planet before burning up
Farmer Barend Swanepoel posted this incredible footage of the cosmic boulder heading towards his farm at Ottosdal near the border with Botswana at 6.40pm.
NASA officials said the scramble among scientists and asteroid observers was a good training exercise. Their ability to zoom in on likely impact areas bodes well for the future, if and when a bigger object heads our way.
‘This was a much smaller object than we are tasked to detect and warn about,’ NASA’s planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson, said in a statement.
‘However, this real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object.’
Mr Swanepoel had been having coffee on his neighbour’s farm’ between Ottosdal and Hartbeesfontein’ and was driving home when he saw the ‘huge fireball’ in the sky.
He said: ‘The advantage I had was I saw it in colour and it was not like on the cameras. It was a fireball falling with this red tail behind and I thought that the grassland is going to burn.’
Unfortunately, the trees next to the gravel road concealed Mr Swanepoel’s view of the final plunge.
He later checked his CCTV and said: ‘One of the small cameras monitoring the barn with feed for his animals caught the footage that you saw on social media. It was incredible to see.’
The asteroid crashed down in Ottosdal near the border with Botswana at 6.40pm on Saturday
Farmer Barend Swanepoel caught the cosmic boulder heading towards his farm at Ottosdal near the border with Botswana at 6.40pm on CCTV
NASA officials said the scramble among scientists and asteroid observers was a good training exercise but that the rock was too small to pose any danger
An asteroid four times as big exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 in an airburst blowing out windows and injuring over 1,500 people with cuts caused by flying glass and debris.
NASA’s Near Earth Object Centre said that Asteroid 2018 LA was travelling at 27,738 mph and was about the size of a small car.
The manager of the NEOC Paul Chodas said: ‘The discovery of Asteroid 2018 LA is on the the third time that an asteroid has been discovered to be on an impact trajectory with the Earth.
‘All three of them were small enough to evaporate on entry to the Earth’s atmosphere.’
Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said it’s only the second time the re-entry location was predicted well in advance.
The 2008 asteroid was spotted 19 hours in advance and measured 13 feet, or 4 meters. It came apart above Sudan, as predicted.
The 2014 asteroid was discovered just a few hours before entering over the Atlantic, with little time for tracking.
All three asteroids were discovered through the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, which is run by the University of Arizona and funded by NASA. The same asteroid hunter, Richard Kowalski, made all three discoveries.
NASA’s Near Earth Object Centre said that Asteroid 2018 LA was travelling at 27,738 mph and was about the size of a small car
After blowing up 30 miles away from the Earth the fireball lit up the entire sky