Small asteroid to safely fly by Earth


File pic

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Asteroid 2002 NN4 will safely pass by the Earth on Saturday at a distance of approximately 3.2 million miles (5.1 million kms), about 13 times further away than the Moon is from the Earth, according to NASA.

The asteroid is estimated to be about 250 to 570 meters in diameter. There is no danger that the asteroid will hit the Earth, said NASA in a release.

"It poses no threat to our planet, and even if it were on a collision path with Earth it is small enough that it would be disintegrated by our Earth's atmosphere," said Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer and Program Executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C..

According to NASA, the number of discovered near-Earth objects (NEO) totaled 22,776 by April this year, with an average of 30 new discoveries added each week.

More than 95 percent of these objects were discovered by NASA-funded surveys since 1998, when NASA initially established its NEO Observations Program and began tracking and cataloguing them.