In another alarming reminder of how vulnerable we are to large rocks that strike us from outer space, scientists found an asteroid boulder that struck the ground almost without warning.

The meteorite is a chunk of the 2018 LA asteroid – a small (ish) rock that lit the sky over Botswana in June after being discovered hours before impact.

It is only the third time that we have discovered an asteroid that has even shot into the ground – it was taken by the Catalina Sky Survey, which is part of the Planetary Defense NASA mission.

Watch the Sky (Getty)

The Space Rock was found by an international team in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

The team members calculated where asteroid fragments would have fallen – after being thrown by the wind through the atmosphere.

The race to rescue the last caught guys intensifies after the night of heavy rain

The first meteorite was found in the game reserve after five days of walking and scouring the soil.

Researchers hope researchers will be able to calibrate NASA's proposed "Earth Defense" system.

Credit: Peter Jenniskens / Botswana International University of Science and Technology
Asteroid 2018 LA (formerly ZLAF9B2) on a farm in Vanzylsrus, South Africa (Photo: Melissa Delport / YouTube)

The asteroid hit Earth at 38,000 mph, causing a huge fireball in the sky over Botswana, Africa – 19 hours after its discovery in early June.

"This was a much smaller object than we need to recognize and warn against," said Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer at NASA Headquarters.

"However, this real event allows us to exercise our abilities and gives us some confidence that our predictive models are appropriate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object."

"The discovery of the asteroid 2018 LA is only the third time that an asteroid has been discovered on an impact curve," said Paul Chodas, director of the Nasa Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.

"It's only the second time that the high probability of an impact was predicted well before the actual event."

More: United Kingdom

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