Asteroid will make closest-ever-known approach to Earth

Purdue scientists have been observing for 1 year

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Scientists at Purdue University are anticipating a fast-moving asteroid that will make the closest-ever-known approach to Earth Friday.

Scientists said the asteroid, known as DA-14, will fly very close to Earth, but not too close.

The asteroid is about the size of a football field and will zoom past Earth at over 17,000 mph and only 17,000 miles from Earth.

“This caused one of the greatest extinctions on the Earth in our history,” said Professor Jay Melosh of Purdue University.

Melosh is an asteroid expert and said not to worry about Friday, the most the rock will do is drop a few cell phone calls.

“I think the big story is that we saw this one year ahead of time. So we’re in an era now when we have good observing programs that we can see asteroids that might hit the earth long before they approach,” Melosh said.

Scientists can now track 95 percent of Earth-killing asteroids long before one could strike the planet.

DA-14 gives scientists and enthusiasts a closer cook at asteroids.

“It’s always nice to know that someone in the community is going to get another observation without having to visit an object. An object comes to us,” said Jordan Steckloff, a Ph.D. physics student.

The asteroid is in an Earth-cross orbit and won’t impact the Earth for at least another century.

The asteroid is too dim to see with the naked eye, so NASA will stream the event live Friday at 6 p.m.

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