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NASA Confirms Close Meeting Between Earth and Massive Asteroid

By Sam Lehman | Feb 01, 2013 10:53 AM EST

NASA
Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass closest on February 15, 2013. As the image above shows, it will pass much closer than the orbit of the moon - closer even that orbiting geosynchronous satellites. (Photo : NASA)


U.S. Space Agency NASA released a video Thursday confirming that a massive asteroid will pass very close to Earth later this month.

In an official statement, NASA executives stated that the asteroid will come closer to Earth than many other man-made satellites.

"This is a record-setting close approach," Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a video released by NASA this week. "It will come interestingly close, closer than many man-made satellites."

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The asteroid, which has been named 2012DA14, will reportedly pass the earth at a distance as close as 17,000 miles. According to a report by NASA, this is the closest encounter known in modern history. The proximity between the two celestial bodies will be closer than previously believed. However, officials clarify that no potential damage will be faced by any of the satellites.

"The odds of impact with a satellite are extremely remote," Yeomans noted. "Almost nothing orbits where DA14 passes the Earth."

The space rock comprises largely of stone and has a length of 150 feet. According to the space agency, asteroids such as these generally pass Earth every 40 years but only impact the planet every 1200 years. While no impact is expected this time round, astronomers expect an impact during the next encounter in 2020.

To avoid any tragedies, NASA has reported that it will be observing the asteroid during the days that lead up to its approach so that it can better estimate its shape, size and trajectory. Astronomers say that it can only provide a clear statement on its path after seven years from now.

According to NASA, the asteroid will be visible February 15, giving astronomers a clear view of the space rock. Watch the video released by NASA below:

 


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