NASA photos show Earth's "cosmic encounter" with a Dungeons and Dragons dice

February 14, 2017 - 7:45am
NASA released radar images taken February 6 and 7 of an asteroid approximately 660 feet (200 meters) in size safely passing the Earth at a distance of 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers).

“The radar images show relatively sharp corners, flat regions, concavities, and small bright spots that may be boulders,” said Lance Benner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who leads the agency’s asteroid radar research program. “Asteroid 2017 BQ6 reminds me of the dice used when playing Dungeons and Dragons. It is certainly more angular than most near-Earth asteroids imaged by radar.”

The NASA news post can be seen here along with pictures of the die - or, what NASA calls it, an "asteroid".  The photos are amazingly clear considering the distance, but not clear enough to determine the numbers on each face. NASA actively searches for all near-Earth objects as part of its Asteroid Watch program.  This is also part of NASA's Planetary Defense which has an "Asteroid Redirect Mission" amongst many other initiatives.  NASA did not announce if they are adding defenses against Orcs or Dire Rats.