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NASA: Feb. 15 asteroid fly-by will buzz Earth closer than many satellites

NASA says asteroid will buzz the gap between low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous satellites.

By Layer 8 on Wed, 01/30/13 - 11:35am.

NASA says an asteroid about half the size of a football field will blow past Earth on Feb 15 closer than many man-made satellites. NASA added that while the asteroid, designated 2012 DA14 has no chance of striking Earth, since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet.

"This is a record-setting close approach," says Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL in a video about the asteroid NASA put out this week.  

[RELATED: 13 awesome and scary things in near Earth space]

Yeomans said 2012 DA14 is a fairly typical near-Earth asteroid. It measures some 50 meters wide, neither very large nor very small, and is probably made of stone, as opposed to metal or ice. He estimates that an asteroid like 2012 DA14 flies past Earth, on average, every 40 years, yet actually strikes our planet only every 1200 years or so.

The impact of a 50-meter asteroid is not cataclysmic--unless you happen to be underneath it, NASA said.  He says the asteroid will thread the gap between