Big asteroid flying by, no threat to Earth

By REUTERS
December 13, 2012 01:28

 
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A large asteroid that flies in nearly the same orbit as Earth will make a close pass by the planet, but there's no chance of an impact - at least for hundreds of years, astronomers said on Wednesday.

The asteroid, named Toutatis, flies by Earth every four years. During its closest approach on Wednesday, the celestial rock will pass about 4.3 million miles (7 million km) from Earth, which is about 18 times farther away than the moon.

"There is no danger of a collision with Earth," NASA astronomer Lance Benner said in a statement.

The 0.6-mile (4.3-km) long asteroid circles the sun in an orbit that is very closely aligned with Earth's, making it a potentially hazardous object for the future.

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