Local astronomers, experts react to asteroid near-miss

POSTED: 09:39 PM MST Feb 15, 2013    UPDATED: 09:04 AM MST Feb 18, 2013 
POCATELLO, Idaho -

A huge asteroid passed perilously close to earth on Friday.

The asteroid as large as an office building, got within about 17,000 miles of the earth at its closest point.

"It's a near miss. In celestial terms it's a very, very close pass to the earth,” ISU Physics lecturer Martin Hackworth said.

That's closer than many of the communications satellites orbitting the earth.

The cosmic rock zipped by the earth 8 times faster than a bullet.

NASA knew there was no chance of this asteroid hitting the earth, but if the 143,000 ton hunk of celestial stone had, it would have been devastating.

"Something that big, if it did strike the earth, it would be a truly catastrophic event, dozens of Hiroshima style events occuring simultaneously,”

And compared with asteroids that have hit the earth before, like the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, it's a shrimp.

NASA is working on tracking all the biggest space rocks that have a remote chance of hitting earth.

If an apocalypse level asteroid was discovered heading to the earth, NASA has said it wouldn't take teams of astronauts and nuclear bombs. A slight nudge from a space-probe could likely do the trick.