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Asteroid to approach Earth on Thursday

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(NASA image)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A large asteroid will just miss the Earth at 7:25 a.m. Thursday, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

This may not sound that close, but asteroid 1999-FN53 is of the size/speed that if it were to hit the Earth, the impact would be catastrophic. Some published reports suggest up to 1.5 billion people would die from the immediate impact.

Before we worry about the incredibly remote possibilities, keep in mind we have already had a close call this year. In March, asteroid 2014-YB35, came within 3 million miles of Earth. That's about 10 times further away than the moon and half the distance of the asteroid passing us Thursday.

Not only was the March asteroid much closer to Earth, but it was first discovered just 4 months before it whizzed past the Earth. Not much lead time had it been heading right for the Earth.

They will both make even closer approaches within the next 100 years. Let's hope nothing changes their courses, even by a tiny amount.