The asteroid 2012 BX34 came close, buzzing by Friday between the orbits of the Earth and moon, but it never posed a threat, NASA said.
It passed within 36,750 miles (59,044 kilometers) of Earth at 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday. That was its closest approach. The small asteroid, about 37 feet wide, would have broken up and disintegrated in the Earth's atmosphere before it could have made impact anyway, so it never really posed a threat, according to NASA scientists.
Asteroid 2012 BX34 is small, said astronomers with NASA's Asteroid Watch at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in a Twitter message on Friday. It wouldn't get through our atmosphere intact even if it dared to try.
The asteroid, which came within one-fifth of the distance from the Earth to the moon, was first detected on Wednesday. Even though it never posed a threat, scientists said it was one of the closest approaches to Earth ever recorded for a a flying space rock. It became the closest to pass by Earth since object 2011 MD last June.
It makes it in to the top 20 closest approaches, but it's sufficiently far away ... that there's absolutely no chance of it hitting us, Gareth Williams, associate director of the U.S.-based Minor Planet Center, told the BBC.
NASA has identified more than 900 large asteroids that come near the Earth. But those are much larger than the small asteroid that passed between the Earth and moon on Friday.