A tiny asteroid discovered just last week is set to zip by Earth on Wednesday (Sept. 18), passing between our planet and the moon. It is small enough and distant enough that it poses no threat to people, scientists say.
Astronomers first observed the space rock, named 2013 RZ53, on Friday (Sept. 13), according to data from the Minor Planet Center, a clearinghouse of information on comets and asteroids based in Cambridge, Mass.
The asteroid measures only 4 to 12 feet (1.6 to 3.6 meters) across, and it is expected to pass at a safe distance of more than 148,000 miles (230,800 kilometers) away from Earth when it makes its closest approach on Wednesday at 6:20 p.m. EDT (22:20 GMT). (The moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 239,000 miles, or 384,600 km.)
Even if it were aimed directly at our planet, the newly discovered space rock is so small that it would likely burn up in the atmosphere before it could hit the ground.