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White House says asteroid over 1 1/2 miles long not a threat

1:39 PM, May 31, 2013   |    comments
Presidential motorcade arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave after church and before swearing in ceremony
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Have no fear: The White House says an asteroid more than 1 1/2 miles long poses no threat to planet Earth.

The big rock called Asteroid 1998 QE2 was making its closest approach to Earth on Friday, keeping a safe distance of 3.6 million miles, or 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked about the asteroid during a briefing. He says scientists have concluded the asteroid "poses no threat to planet Earth."

He added, to laughter, "I never really thought I'd be standing up here saying that."

The asteroid is believed to be about 1.7 miles long.

The White House was hosting a "We The Geeks" Google+ Hangout Friday, bringing together NASA's deputy administrator and scientists to talk about asteroids.

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