BOSTON: NASA is keeping close tabs on a sizable asteroid set to whiz past our planet today in what the US space agency says is the closest flyby ever predicted for such a large object.
About 45 meters in diameter, the asteroid — dubbed 2012 DA 14 — is expected to pass about 27,000 kilometers above the Earth at the time of closest approach, about 2:25 pm EST (1925 GMT), NASA said.
This distance is well away from Earth and the swarm of low Earth-orbiting satellites, including the International Space Station, it said in a statement on its website.
Still, ‘the flyby of 2012 DA14 is the closest-ever predicted approach to Earth for an object this large.’
The space agency insisted there was nothing to fear.
The asteroid will be visible in eastern Europe, Australia and Asia, according to astronomers, and NASA noted the flyby will provide a ‘unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.’