What’s got a lot of cosmic worriers glancing skyward this month was the announcement that on Feb. 15, a 148-ft. (45 m) long asteroid known as 2012 DA 14 will pass just 17,200 mi. (27,7000 km) above the Earth. And if 17,200 miles sounds like a lot, consider that it’s only one-thirteenth of the distance to the moon and actually below the 22,000 mi. (35,800 km) altitude at which some of our satellites orbit. That leaves awfully little margin for error in NASA’s cosmic calculations. So there’s plenty of reason to worry, yes? Well, no, actually. But making that call for any one object—knowing which space bullets are likely to hit us and which ones we’re likely to dodge—can be a complicated business.
In this case, a miss is not as good as mile. A miss is much more unsettling than a mile. And if you want to be unsettled even more, visit NASA‘s Near-Earth Object Program website. It lists all of the known objects that, in the near future, will come near to our one and only world.