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150-foot asteroid will buzz Earth, no need to duck

This image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows simulatiasteroid 2012 DA14 approaching from south as it passes through Earth-mosystem Feb. 15 2013.

This image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows a simulation of asteroid 2012 DA14 approaching from the south as it passes through the Earth-moon system on Feb. 15, 2013. The 150-foot object will pass within 17,000 miles of the Earth. NASA scientists insist there is absolutely no chance of a collision as it passes. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — An asteroid measuring 150 feet will zip past Earth next week.

The megarock will pass within 17,000 miles of the planet — the closest known approach ever for an object of this size. But NASA scientists said Thursday there’s no reason to worry. They insist there is absolutely no chance of a collision next Friday.

The asteroid — considered small — will come closer to Earth than many high-flying communication satellites. It will be visible through binoculars or telescopes as it zooms by at 17,400 mph. The best viewing location will be Indonesia. Other prime viewing spots are Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia.

The asteroid was discovered last February.

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Online:

NASA’s Near Earth Object Program: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov



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