Feb. 16 - A newly discovered asteroid nearly half the size of a football field passed closer to the Earth than TV satellites. Mana Rabiee reports.
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EDITOR'S NOTE/ CORRECTION: REMOVES THE WORD "GPS" FROM THE HEADLINE AND THIRD SENTENCE OF THE STORY.
They call it 2012 DA14 and on Friday afternoon it passed closer to the Earth than any other known object its size.
The newly discovered asteroid is nearly half the size of a football field and came within 17,100 miles .. or 27,000 kilometers , from the Earth's surface.
At its nearest approach, about 5 pm GMT, it was closer to the Earth than even the network of TV satellites that ring our planet.
(NATS) (English) NASA TV
"And you see there, on the right of your screen, right there is DA14."
The asteroid has a trajectory around the sound similar to our own - and its orbit is shrinking each year, says Paul Chodas with the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL CHODAS, SCIENTIST, NEAR-EARTH OBJECT PROGRAM OFFICE, JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, SAYING:
"Right now we're looking at the possiblity, very tiny possibility that it could hit the Earth in the year 2080. I expect that that will go away and we'll know that we're safe from this asteroid for a long time."
During Friday's fly-by, scientists used radar to study DA14's composition and structure.
That knowledge could help avoid an eventual impact if another space rock threatens the Earth.