Of the many things that can kill us, asteroids are the most awesome.

Here is a visualization of asteroid J002E3’s chaotic motion around Earth, where you can see how it barely missed colliding with our home planet and the Moon. Fortunately enough, J002E3 is only 10,000 kg in mass, which means that it wouldn’t have hurt so much.

About 10 times a year, a 10,000 kg object (one similar to what you see in the animation) collides with Earth’s atmosphere.

Here’s where it gets really, really interesting – It was discovered that J002E3 is actually a piece of the Saturn V rocket that was used for the Apollo 12 manned Moon mission in 1969! The piece has been in orbit around Earth since then. It has left Earth orbit in 2003, but will probably return in about 25 years 🙂

Animated GIF: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/j002e3/j002e3d.gif

Download the video here: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/j002e3/j002e3.mpg

Source: Near Earth Object Program of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory