Though the asteroid was small enough that it wasn't a threat to the surface, its detection set off a string of alerts that ended at NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office in Washington DC. "This was a much smaller object than we are tasked to detect and warn about," Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement. "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."
Finding asteroids on a collision course with Earth in advance of their arrival isn't very common. "The discovery of asteroid 2018 LA is only the third time that an asteroid has been discovered to be on an impact trajectory," Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said in a statement. "It is also only the second time that the impact location was predicted well ahead of the event itself."
Weirdly, all three instances were detected by from the Catalina Sky Survey and under the eye of Richard Kowalski. If he puts out a jazz album it'll be safe to assume he's the real-life Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day.