A 150-foot-wide asteroid will come remarkably close to Earth next week, even closer than high-flying communication and weather satellites. It will be the nearest known flyby for an object of this size.
But don't worry. Scientists promise the megarock will be at least 17,100 miles away when it zips past next Friday.
"No Earth impact is possible," Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object program at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said Thursday.
Even the chance of an asteroid-satellite run-in is extremely remote, Yeomans and other scientists noted.
A few hundred satellites orbit at 22,300 miles, higher than the asteroid's path, although operators are being warned about the incoming object for tracking purposes. "No one has raised a red flag, nor will they," Yeomans told reporters."I certainly don't anticipate any problems whatsoever."
Impossible to see with the naked eye, the asteroid is considered small as these things go. By contrast, the one that took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was 6 miles wide.