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Bill Nye: Asteroid 2012 DA14 Will Miss Earth By Just 15 Minutes (VIDEO)

02/11/2013 01:20 pm ET | Updated Feb 14, 2013

As the world watches for a giant asteroid to give Earth a close shave on Feb. 15, famed science educator Bill Nye suggests now is the time to get involved in asteroid-hunting.

Nye, who heads up the Planetary Society, told CNN on Saturday that the asteroid -- dubbed 2012 DA14 -- is just one of about 100,000 asteroids whose orbits may bring them our way. But as he says in the video above, "get nervous, but not about this one."

"This one will miss us by about 15 minutes --15 minutes difference and that's it," Nye told CNN. "So it's something that we humans all over the world ought to get involved in, this asteroid-hunting. We're the first generation of people that could do something about it. It's exciting science, but it also, I hope, gives everybody a little pause for thought."

As for asteroid 2012 DA14, NASA scientists say there is no chance the space rock will hit Earth. Rather, it will come close to our planet, passing within about 17,200 miles.

Nye told CNN that the asteroid is about the same size as the one that caused Arizona's Meteor Crater, and the famed 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.

“This asteroid is a wake-up call for the importance of defending Earth against asteroid impacts," he said in a written statement. "Big impacts don’t happen often, but they will happen.”

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