- uploaded: Feb 14, 2013
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NASA says a small asteroid will pass closer to Earth next week than the geosynchronous satellites that ring the planet, but there is no chance of an impact.
A small asteroid will fly by Earth on Friday (February 15), becoming the closest known approach by an asteroid of its size.
2012 DA14 was discovered last year by a group of amateur astronomers in Spain.
It is about 150 feet, or 45 meters wide - almost half the size of a football field.
It's projected to come as close as 17100 miles at 2:24pm Eastern Standard Time. That puts it closer than the GPS, television and weather satellites that fly above.
However, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say there is no chance of the near-Earth asteroid actually colliding.
[Donald Yeomans, NASA JPL Astronomer]:
"There's really nothing to be worried about when this asteroid passes the earth on February 15th. We understand its orbit extremely well and we can say with great confidence that there is no chance of hitting the Earth and the chances of hitting the satellite are negligible."
Which is a good thing. The asteroid is hurtling through space at over 17000 miles per hour.
The JPL estimates it would impact Earth with a speed around 8 miles per second, with the strike force of 3.6 megatons of TNT.
That's 170 times the yield of the atomic bomb detonated over Nagasaki.