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Asteroid 2012 DA14 to fly closer to Earth than many satellites


The giant asteroid Vesta is seen in an image taken from the NASA Dawn spacecraft about 3,200 miles above the surface on July 24, 2011.


NASA/JPL-Caltec via

Asteroid 2012 DA14, a chunk of rock about half the size of a football field, is due to fly past Earth on Feb. 15, Fox News reported.

The 143,000 ton-asteroid will travel just 17,200 miles above the planet, closer to the Earth than many man-made satellites, according to Fox News.

“This is a record-setting close approach,” Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL said, according to Fox News.

But, Yeoman added, “the odds of impact with a satellite are extremely remote. Almost nothing orbits where DA14 passes the Earth.”

Amateur stargazers will be able to spot the asteroid with their backyard telescopes, though its speed across the sky will make it hard to track, USA Today reported.

A similarly-sized asteroid landed in Siberia in “Tunguska Event” in 1908 and flattened hundreds of square miles of forest, NASA asteroid expert Don Yeomans, author of “Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us,” told USA Today.

DA14, however, is not on a collision course with Earth, NASA officials said, according to USA Today.

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