Today at around 2:20 pm EST an asteroid named 2012 da14 will come within 17,200 miles of the surface of Earth. Almost one year ago NASA was able to determine that the asteroid definitely does not pose a danger to the planet, at least not on this approach.
With the asteroid's approach so near and the public's growing awareness of the event, NASA has released another video to try and reassure people that doomsday is not on the way. It's similar to the "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday" video the agency released more than a week before the Maya Apocalypse doomsday scenarios predictably fell flat. Besides the obvious duty to assuage public fears, it's clear NASA finds it valuable to have a record of using science to make predictions that actually come true.
The new video features James Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, and Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission, describing just how scientists know da14 isn't a danger (hint: they use math) and what an exciting event today's record-setting close flyby is for astronomers. The OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled to launch a probe in 2016 that will visit an asteroid that actually might hit the Earth in the late 22nd century.
NASA will be streaming live commentary of the asteroid's approach starting at 2 pm EST.