In a cosmic coincidence, the Russian meteorite that has reportedly injured more than 1,000 people is completely unrelated to the DA14 asteroid, which NASA says will pass closer to Earth than communications satellites later Friday.
The DA14 asteroid, which is 150 feet in diameter, is expected to fly within 17,200 miles of earth at about 2:25 p.m. EST Friday. According to NASA, the asteroid will pass "well away from Earth and the swarm of low Earth-orbiting satellites, including the International Space Station, but … inside the belt of satellites in geostationary orbit." Many of those further-out satellites are related to communication and weather prediction.
Earlier Friday, a meteorite smashed into Russia's Ural mountains. According to officials there, more than 1,000 people sought medical attention due to cuts from shattered glass.
According to NASA, the two events are entirely unrelated. Small meteorites slam into earth every couple of months, while the DA14 event is extremely rare. NASA says the flyby is the "closest-ever predicted approach to Earth for an object this large." The asteroid is reportedly "swimming-pool sized."
"The trajectory of the Russian meteorite was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object," NASA said in a statement. "Information is still being collected about the Russian meteorite and analysis is preliminary at this point. In videos of the meteor, it is seen to pass from left to right in front of the rising sun, which means it was traveling from north to south. Asteroid DA14's trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north."
U.S. News will be live blogging the asteroid's close shave with Earth starting at 2 p.m. EST.