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According to NASA calculations, the space rock—whose width is about half the size of a football field—is scheduled to pass within 17,200 miles (27,680 kilometers) of Earth this Friday, February 15. This means it will fly lower than the communications, weather and navigation satellites that ring the planet. Despite this historically close shave, NASA officials have stressed that there is no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth.
Though 2012 DA14 will be too dark to see with the naked eye even at its closest approach, Friday’s near miss will provide a valuable opportunity to study space rocks and their movement in relation to Earth. This will only be the eighth closest approach (excluding actual impacts) by a known asteroid on the record books, but it will be the closest an asteroid of such size has ever come when scientists have known about its approach in advance.
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