9 Feb 2013

Asteroid in 'close' but harmless flyby

6:04 am on 9 February 2013

An asteroid will pass within spitting distance of Earth next week - relatively speaking - in what NASA says is the closest flyby ever predicted for an object this large.

Discovered by chance by astronomers after passing nearby last February, it will be 27,700km above Earth's surface when it speeds by.

That's outside the Earth's atmosphere but closer than the orbit of most weather and communications satellites.

NASA said there's nothing to fear because it can't come any closer and no Earth impact is possible.