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A delivery truck-sized asteroid will come closest to Earth on Thursday night. It is said to be one of such closest encounters ever recorded, according to The Associated Press. 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Wednesday stated that it will be a near miss with no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth. 

According to the space agency, this newly discovered asteroid will zoom 2,200 miles above the southern tip of South America, which is around 10 times closer than the bevy of communication satellites circling overhead. 

The closest approach of the asteroid will occur at 7:27 p.m. EST (9:27 p.m. local), as per AP reports. 

Scientists said that even if the space rock came a lot closer, most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger pieces possibly falling as meteorites. 

NASA's impact hazard assessment system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, said its developer, Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, AP reported. 

In an official statement, Farnocchia said, "But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth. In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded."

The asteroid, known as 2023 BU, was discovered on Saturday and is believed to be between 11 feet (3.5 metres) and 28 feet (8.5 metres) feet across.

It was first spotted by the same amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019.

Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid's orbit, as per AP reports.

The asteroid's path drastically will be altered by Earth's gravity once it zips by. Instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, according to NASA. 

 

(With AP inputs)

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