An asteroid, half the size of a football pitch, has flashed past earth the closest proximity of anything that size to pass the planet.
2012 DA14 travelled over the Indian Ocean, affording the best views in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia. 2012 DA14 was first spied by Spanish astronomers after its last passage much further away.
From such observations it is able to calculate the asteroid’s future orbits.
The celestial body avoided colliding with any of the numerous satellites that ring planet earth.
Paul Chodas is a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
“We project that into the future, it seems it could make a close approach in the year 2046, but that it won’t hit the earth. Its orbit is known so accurately that we can project, actually, for most of the 21st century and right now we are looking at the possibility, very tiny possibility that it could hit the earth in the year 2080, I expect that will go away and we’ll know that we will be safe for long time.”
In 1908 a meteoroid passed over Tungusta in Siberia at a height of between 5 and 10 kilometres, the air burst caused a huge explosion.
Scientists say 2012 DA14 is a celestial rock that comes in peace.