Mini asteroid to narrowly miss earth on February 15PA

A mini asteroid will miss Earth by just 15,000 miles on February 15 and, although that sounds like a huge distance away, it's the closest approach since sky surveys began in the 1990s.

The Mirror reports that the meteor, which is around 45-metres in diameter, could wipe out a large city if it hit Earth. It will come so close to Earth that it will fly beneath satellites and, as it will come back every year, astronomers can't rule out the possibility that it will make impact at some point in the future.

Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Programme said: "It will be a record-setting close approach though the orbit of the asteroid is known well enough to rule out an impact."

The asteroid, which was discovered last year, is named 2012 DA14. It is one of 500,000 space rocks circling us, but experts believe that there could be many more.

According to NASA, the asteroid is about half the size of a football field, and is probably made of stone rather that metal or ice.

Yeomans estimates that an asteroid like this flies past earth, on average, every 40 years, but only hits our planet every 1200 years or so.

However, he explains that a similar-sized object formed the mile-wide Meteor Crater in Arizona when it hit about 50,000 years ago. He adds that in 1908, something of a similar size exploded in the atmosphere above Siberia, leveling hundreds of square miles of forest.

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