SCIENCE
05/31/2013 03:54 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2013

Asteroid 1998 QE2 Flyby: SLOOH Space Camera Shows Space Rock Slip Past Earth (VIDEO)

The gigantic space rock scientists call 1998 QE2 will miss earth, but that doesn't mean you have to miss it: As asteroid 1998 QE2 zips by Earth today (May 31), with its newly discovered moon in tow, astronomers and space-lovers alike can watch the flyby live in the video above.

The SLOOH SpaceCamera webcast starts at 4:30 p.m. EDT, tracking the near-Earth asteroid's close approach live from the Canary Islands.

Astronomers discovered the 1.7-mile-long space rock in 1998 as part of the MIT Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research program near Socorro, N.M.

"It will be fun to actually watch it change position," Bob Berman, Astronomy magazine columnist, said in a written statement. "Although it will not come nearer than 14 moon distances, that's still about ten times closer than Mars can ever get. As Slooh's Space Cameras image it directly that afternoon, we will all be reminded that asteroids of this size have changed the biosphere of our planet in the past, and even set the stage for the present dominion of humans."

In other words, if 1998 QE2 were to hit Earth, the damage would be catastrophic. But, don't worry. It's not going to. Even White House spokesman Josh Earnest reassured Americans during a press briefing that scientists have concluded the asteroid "poses no threat to planet Earth."

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