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NASA: Earth to have very close call with asteroid


By Kristen Dahlgren for NBC News

Friday planet earth is preparing for a close encounter with a massive asteroid.

It’s half the size of a football field and the giant foreign object is going to come within 17,000 miles of our earth.

It’s the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters like “Deep Impact;” a massive space rock hurtling toward earth.

Experts said, for an asteroid, this will be a very close call.

So close it will come between the earth and many of its satellites.

LIVE STREAM: Watch asteroid flyby from NASA

Friday, the asteroid known as 2012 DA14, a mass half the size of a football field, will pass just 17,200 miles above the earth while traveling about 5 miles per second.

But slow down, NASA said there is absolutely no danger.

Paul Chodas from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said this will not cause earthquakes or climate change.

DA14 was first discovered by amateur astronomers last Feb. in Spain.

Since then NASA has been plotting its path and is certain there will be no impact.

Its closest approach is expected to be near Indonesia at 1:24 p.m. central time Friday.

Images have already been captured on high-powered telescopes in Australia.

You won’t be able to see it with the naked eye.

With a little research and a decent telescope, you have a shot but your best bet may be to do what a lot of people here are doing, watching the NASA feed online.

As it gets closer, NASA’s powerful goldstone deep space communications complex will be taking radar imagery trying to find out more about DA14.

Research that could help scientists avoid impact in the future.

Back in 1908 a smaller meteor hit in a remote region of Siberia, destroying the landscape for hundreds of miles.

Another crater in Arizona is 50,000 years old and scientists blame the dinosaurs’ demise on a massive asteroid.

“The dinosaurs didn’t have a space program so they couldn’t discover asteroids and do something about it,” Chodas said.

So NASA said they’ll be watching and learning what they can from what is about to be a very close call.

The asteroid is approximately 150 feet in diameter and has a mass estimated weight at about 143,000 tons.

The asteroid will pass just over us here in the states right after sunset.