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February 8th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) An asteroid, about 45 meters in diameter or about the size of a small office building, will make an extremely close pass by Earth on February 15th, though NASA has assured that the asteroid is not on a collision course.
The asteroid was first spotted last year, and was named “2012 DA14.” When it flies by Earth on February 15th, it will be traveling at about 5 miles per second.
At its closest, the asteroid will be only 17,200 miles above the surface of our planet, which far closer than the moon, and even closer than some weather and communications satellites.
According to an expert at NASA’s Near Earth Object Program, there has never been a known approach this close to Earth for an object of this size.
If an asteroid of this size were to hit the Earth, experts say it would be the equivalent of 2.4 million tons of TNT.
The asteroid will come closer to the Earth than satellites that are in geosynchronous orbit at about 22,000 miles, though experts say it is unlikely to hit any of the satellites as it flies by.
Unfortunately for space watchers in Costa Rica, the asteroid will not likely be visible to the naked eye as its fly-by will be during the day.