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Asteroid headed near Earth this weekend

James Leggate

An asteroid will approach the Earth this weekend, but scientists say it’ll pass by safely.

The asteroid, which is known as 163348 (2002 NN4), will come within 3.2 million miles of the Earth, according to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

That’s still 13 times further from our home than the Moon, NASA tweeted.

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But it’s also close enough for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to track as one of the more than 100 “close approaches” that the space agency is monitoring for the rest of this year.

The asteroid, called 2002 NN4 for short, is about the size of a football field, according to SpaceReference.org. It takes about 300 days for it to orbit the sun, traveling an average speed of less than 20 mph.

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It’s classified as an Aten-class asteroid, which is the designation for space rocks with orbits that could put it near Earth, according to the website. There are more than 1,600 Aten-class asteroids being tracked.

2002 NN4 is expected to pass near the Earth 30 times in the next several decades, according to the website. In 2070, it’s expected to come even closer --  less than 1 million miles from Earth.

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