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NASA teams with Slooh in anticipation of near-Earth ‘Beast’ asteroid

A recently discovered asteroid has been nicknamed “The Beast,”and rightfully so. At 1,000 feet in diameter it is a daunting size.

This week the giant asteroid, officially known as “2014 HQ124,” will be making a fairly close pass by Earth with it’s closest approach occurring at 1:56 a.m. EDT Sunday.

Slooh, a company that connects land-based telescopes to the Internet for such events in order to be viewed by the public, say they plan to broadcast The Beast’s approach on its website on Thursday.

In May, NASA became partners with Slooh in an effort to “engage citizen scientists in the effort to track and characterize near-Earth asteroids that are potentially hazardous to human populations,” according to a NASA statement.

The asteroid poses no threat or danger to any part of Earth. The celestial body will simply float by at a distance approximately three times that of the distance from the Earth to the moon (that’s less than a million miles from us). Travel speeds of 31,000 miles per hour have been reported.

Experts say that, while the asteroid will maintain its distance, if it were to impact Earth the results would be similar to a nuclear warhead detonating Earth.

“There is zero chance of an impact,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Astronomers say their main concern is that The Beast, or Asteroid 2014 HQ124 was only detected on April 23 before its nearest approach to the Earth despite space surveillance systems scanning outer space for asteroids and other threats.

HQ124 is at least 10 times bigger, and possibly 20 times, than the asteroid that injured a thousand people last year in Chelyabinsk, Siberia.

The asteroid was reportedly discovered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s “Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, a sky-mapping space telescope” . While they were the first to catch sight of The Beast, they surely will not be the last.