Information made available to the public by NASA says that, this coming February 15, our planet is to receive yet another visitor: an asteroid known to scientists as the 2012 DA14.
Besides its being roughly half the size of a football field, what makes this space rock stand out amongst others of its kind is the fact that, according to estimates carried out by NASA researchers thus far, it will fly by our planet at just 17,200 miles (about 27,680 kilometers) above the surface.
Presently, NASA scientists admit that this flyby can indeed be qualified as a very close encounter.
Still, they wish to reassure the general public that, according to the data collected with respect to this space rock's orbit, a collision between our planet and the 2012 DA14 is pretty much out of the question.
Commenting on this asteroid's coming this close to our planet, scientist Don Yeoman's, presently working with NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL made a case of how, “This is a a record-setting close approach.”
“Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth,” he went on to add.
Furthermore, Don Yeoman wished to draw attention to the fact that asteroids such as the 2012 DA14 usually pass by our planet once every 40 years or so, but that the possibility that they might hit our planet only emerges once every 1200 years.
Thus, this researcher made it quite clear that, “2012 DA14 will definitely not hit Earth. The orbit of the asteroid is known well enough to rule out an impact.”
Just for the record, the 2012 DA14 measures about 50 meters (roughly 164 feet) in width and researchers are quite convinced that, rather than being made up of ice or metal, as other asteroids are, it is made up of stone.
For more information concerning this record-setting asteroid flyby, check out the video below.