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Asteroid to pass Earth at 'remarkably close distance'

NASA said the asteroid will not hit earth but it will make the closest ever approach for an object so large.

A SMALL ASTEROID is due to pass Earth this week, so close that it will pass inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites.

The asteroid will be closest to Earth on 15 February at around 7.24pm, though the time may change as the asteroid is tracked on approach and predictions are refined.

NASA has said that there is no cause for concern as it will “definitely” not hit earth but said it will pass at a “remarkably close distance”.

Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Observation Program said it will be a “record setting approach” as it is the closest ever predicted Earth approach for an object this large.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by just 27,700 kilometres above earth, closer than many man made satellites. At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be over the eastern Indian Ocean, off Sumatra.

Though the asteroid will pass through the ring around earth containing many satellites, Yeomans said the odds of an impact with one are “extremely remote.”

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The visiting asteroid will be within the Earth/moon system for about 33 hours. Scientists believe there are approximately 500,000 near-Earth asteroids the size of 2012 DA14 and less than one percent have been discovered.

Read: Could a nuclear bomb save us from a giant asteroid?>

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