A week ago, it wasn't even a twinkle in an astronomer's eye, which only goes to show that, while they have labelled 10,000 of the things so far, there are plenty more out there waiting to be discovered.
2013 NE19 isn't too much to worry about, since it will be zipping past 2.6 million miles away at 2am BST tomorrow and is estimated to be between 194 and 426 feet wide. Never mind; it's always a good excuse for a party!
Still, should we need to deal with anything closer (assuming Bruce Willis isn't available), it's good to know that a physicist has devised an ingenious arrangement of solar-powered lasers capable of disintegrating or deflecting asteroids.
He estimates that it will be some decades before the full sized version is ready, but in the meantime, he's been working on a snappy acronym*:
DE-STAR stands for Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids and exploRationIt does creak a bit at the end, but it's sufficiently close to 'Deathstar' to gratify a fair proportion of the target audience, especially given its inventor claims that a full-size array six miles wide has the potential to vaporise something the size of the Russian rock.
But since it’s completely modular, we propose starting smaller. We could begin with a version that’s three feet per side right now. With that, you could cook your dinner from 600 miles away.Is anyone else thinking of Leonard of Quirm at this point? I mean, if you give a government the blueprints for something like that, it's a fair bet they won't be wanting to warm up a lasagne in a neighbouring country.
If the invention really works and ever gets built, it's quite possible the human race will manage to wipe itself out long before an asteroid arrives to do the job.
However, since we're all still here at the moment, please raise your glasses to 2013 NE19 as it flies past!
*Does anyone else ever wonder why that group of Bond villains wasted time devising the somewhat camp acronym 'SPECTRE'? ('Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion'; because every organisation needs a mission statement.)