QE2 asteroid to fly by Earth from safe distance

QE2 asteroid to fly by Earth from safe distance

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY Richard Ingham This handout picture from the European Space Agency (ESA) retrieved on September 3, 2008 shows an artist?s rendition of ESA's probe Rosetta?s closest approach to Earth during its second swing-by of our planet on 13 November 2007. A billion-euro (1.25-billion-dollar) European spacecraft will get up close and personal with an asteroid on July 10, 2010 as the probe blasts through the Solar System on its way to rendezvous with a comet. The flyby comes halfway in the extraordinary tale of the European Space Agency's Rosetta, launched in 2004 on a 12-year, 7.1-billion-kilometre (4.4-billion-mile) mission. AFP PHOTO/HO/ESA - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

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KMOV.com

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 29 at 9:17 AM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- An asteroid more than 1 1/2 miles long will zoom past Earth this week from a far-off distance.

   The big rock called Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make its closest approach Friday. It will keep a safe distance of 3.6 million miles, or 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon. You won't be able to see it without a powerful telescope.

   It's believed to be about 1.7 miles long, or about nine times the length of the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship. But that has nothing to do with its name. The letters and number in the name represent the timing and sequence of the asteroid's discovery in 1998.

   Scientists will use large radar telescopes to study its shape, rotation and surface features.
 

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