PASADENA, Calif. — NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Friday, Feb. 15, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.
The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting.
At the time of its closest approach to Earth at approximately 11:25 a.m. PST (2:25 p.m. EST / 19:25 UTC), the asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.
A 150ft-long asteroid will skim past the Earth within the hour – closer than any other near-miss on record.
The huge chunk of rock – so big it is capable of wiping out London – will travel closer to the planet than many satellites.
But while it should be visible as a tiny dot of light crossing the sky to those using binoculars, scientists say there is no chance it will hit Earth.
There is a remote possibility that it could collide with one of more than 100 telecommunication and weather satellites in fixed orbits.
Experts have been closely tracking the asteroid, 2012 DA14, since its discovery a year ago.
They say it will reach its nearest point to Earth at around 7.30pm UK time on Friday.
2:24 PM EST
LIVE: OBSERVATORY, AUSTRALIA…