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Asteroid Coming Close To Earth, But Just ‘Passing By’

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jeff Ray
Jeff joined CBS 11 and TXA 21 in December 2010. He came to North T...
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – An asteroid coming close to the earth next week doesn’t have much of a name.  But then again, it is just passing by.

Next Friday, a rock half the size of a football field passes within 17,000 miles of earth. Passing by, not stopping. That’s a good thing.

Levent Gurdemir is the director of the University of Texas at Arlington Planetarium  “They calculated the impact equal to about 2.4 million tons of TNT explosion, so that can actually flatten a city”

This is the biggest piece of rock to get this close to earth since NASA started monitoring space for impact threats 15 years ago. Asteroids about the size of a basketball hit earth every day, rocks around the size of a car every couple of weeks or so. But one like D-14, the size of a 13 story building come around only every 1,200 years or so.

D-14 will get closer to earth than many of our satellites orbit. But the odds of the 600 ton rock hitting an earth orbiting satellite are very small.

“The odds are very tiny” says Gurdemir “like a crossing a five lane road on a bicycle with one small rock thrown close to your path. Chancing are very good you’ll miss the rock”

The asteroid will be closest to earth around 1:30 in the afternoon next Friday. It is too small and moving too fast to be seen in the sky anyway, at least not without a pair of binoculars and knowing exactly where to look. Still being this close, perhaps you would want to read it again from the experts.

“The impact chance is none” Gurdemir said with confidence.

Even for rocks the size of a Boeing 737, there is a lot of space out there. The asteroid will come back by earth in 2020 and again is forecast to miss our planet.

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