TECH

Asteroid Skims Earth As NASA Discovers It Has Its Own MOON

27/01/2015 09:17 GMT | Updated 27/01/2015 09:59 GMT

The blurry video you can see above are some of the first images sent through of the asteroid which skimmed past Earth and as you can see, they show something rather incredible.

This asteroid has its own moon.

That's right, despite being only the size of a large cruise ship, this hurtling ball of rock actually has its own orbiting moon. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab this actually isn't that uncommon.

"In the near-Earth population, about 16 percent of asteroids that are about 655 feet (200 meters) or larger are a binary (the primary asteroid with a smaller asteroid moon orbiting it) or even triple systems (two moons)."

The blurry images are the first to come through and were captured by NASA's Deep Space Network antenna. While only pixels wide, the images were clear enough for the teams of researchers at JPL to asses the asteroid's shape, surface and rotation speed.

The main asteroid is around 1,100 feet across while the smaller moon is 230 feet in diameter. Neither will pass by Earth again for over two hundred years and NASA confirms we won't have another close flyby by an asteroid until at least 2027.