The data were in turn sent to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where the automated Scout system also found a high probability that the asteroid was on an impact trajectory.
"However, this real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object", Johnson pointed out.
A boulder-size asteroid disintegrated harmlessly over Africa, just hours after its weekend discovery.
As with all such observations, the object was catalogued by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which determined the possibility of an impact.
Hurtling toward us at the dizzying speed of 10 miles per second (38,000 mph, or 17 kilometers per second), the asteroid penetrated Earth's atmosphere at about 16:44 UTC (9:44 a.m. PDT, 12:44 p.m. EDT, 6:44 p.m. local Botswana time), turning into a bright ball of fire that lit up the African sky.
Fortunately, NASA didn't have to rely on Bruce Willis or Ben Affleck to blow up this asteroid before it entered the earth's atmosphere, but it still looked arguably more risky than Dottie, the Texas-sized asteroid in Armageddon.
Asteroid trackers at NASA and elsewhere quickly determined the rock - about 6 feet across - was too small to pose any danger.
Trajectory path of ZLAF9B2 (2018 LA) plotted across Oceania, the Indian Ocean and Africa. In one video, from a farm between Ottosdal and Hartebeesfontein in northwest South Africa, the asteroid appears as a brilliant streak that flares up into a spectacular fireball on the horizon.
It was first spotted by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. According to CNEOS records, the asteroid's distance from Earth's centre, at closest approach, was calculated to be 5,874 km, which is well inside the planet's radius of 6,371 km. That asteroid was spotted 19 hours before impact, enough time for scientists to plot a precise trajectory for the falling space rock.
Designated 2018 LA, the asteroid was small enough that it was expected to safely disintegrate in Earth's atmosphere.
NASA officials said the scramble among scientists and observers of the small asteroid was merely a good training exercise.
An asteroid four times as big exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 in an airburst blowing out windows injuring more than 1,500 people mainly due to cuts caused by flying glass and debris. The asteroid hit Earth's atmosphere over the southern African nation of Botswana at 12:44 p.m. EDT (1644 GMT) while hurtling down at a whopping 38,000 miles per hour (61,155 km/h). The second predicted impact event was for asteroid 2014 AA, which was discovered only a few hours before impact on January 1, 2014, in the Atlantic Ocean, leaving too little time for follow-up observations.