“This is a record-setting close approach,” Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL said in a video released by NASA this week. Yeomans, however, emphasized that the asteroid, designated 2012DA14, won’t hit Earth.
“It will come interestingly close, closer than many man-made satellites,” he said.
2012DA14 will thread the gap between low earth orbit, where the International Space Station and many earth observation satellites are located and the higher belt of geosynchronous satellites, which provide weather data and telecommunications.
At its closest point, the asteroid will only be 17,200 miles above our planet’s surface.
“The odds of impact with a satellite are extremely remote,” Yeomans adds. “Almost nothing orbits where DA14 passes the Earth.