The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Thursday ruled out the possibility of an impact between an asteroid and the Earth.
The asteroid, believed to be between 500 and 2,000 feet (167-667 meters) wide, is expected to pass within 334,000 miles (about 534,000 kilometers) of Earth next Tuesday, said scientists at the JPL in Pasadena, Los Angeles.
"This will be the closest approach by a known asteroid of this size or larger until 2027," said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near Earth Object Program Office at JPL.
"As its closest approach is about one-and-a-half times the distance of Earth to the moon, there is no reason for concern," he said. "On the contrary, Mother Nature is providing us an excellent opportunity to perform scientific observations."
The asteroid, named 2007 TU24, was discovered by the NASA-sponsored Catalina Sky Survey on Oct. 11. It is expected to be visible by anyone with a modest-sized telescope when it makes its closest pass at 12:33 a.m.Tuesday -- as long as the skies are dark and clear.