Asteroid to pass close by Earth on Friday
BOSTON (REUTERS) - 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, giving scientists a rare opportunity for close-up observations without launching a probe.
At its closest approach, which will occur at 1924 GMT (3.24am, Saturday, Singapore time), the asteroid will pass about 27,520 km above the planet traveling at 13km per second, bringing it nearer than the networks of television and weather satellites that ring the planet.
Although Asteroid 2012 DA14 is the largest known object of its size to pass this close, scientists say there is no chance of an impact, this week or in the foreseeable future.
Currently, DA14 matches Earth's year-long orbit around the sun, but after Friday's encounter its flight path will change, said astronomer Donald Yeomans, with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa)'s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.