A newly discovered asteroid about half the size of a football field will pass nearer to Earth than any other known object of its size on Friday (February 15), giving scientists a rare opportunity for close-up observations without launching a probe.
Officials say Asteroid 2012 DA14, as it is known, is relatively small and will not be easy to see without a telescope or binoculars.
At its closest approach, which will occur at 2:24 p.m. EST/1924 GMT, the asteroid will travel at 8 miles (13 km) per second, bringing it nearer than the networks of television and weather satellites that ring the planet.
For scientists, DA14 presents a rare, albeit short, opportunity to study it's spin rate and what minerals it contains.
Scientists prepare for asteroid viewing (0:41)
Feb. 15 - Scientists prepare to watch Asteroid 2012 DA14 pass near Earth. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). ( Transcript )