A rather large asteroid will be swinging by on Friday. If we were hit by a rock of this size, it would be a regional disaster; Destruction on the scale of a large city, with major regional earthquake and weather side effects.
Our home planet is due for a record setting space encounter on Friday (Feb. 15) of this week, when a space rock roughly half a football field wide skirts very close by Earth at break neck speed and well inside the plethora of hugely expensive communications and weather satellites that ring around us in geosynchronous orbit.
~ Universe Today
The B612 Foundation is working to build a space telescope specifically designed to locate and track asteroids that pose a threat to the Earth:
If you knew you could do something to literally save the world, would you? We have taken on the audacious mission of doing just that. Our goal is to hunt asteroids that could hit the Earth and potentially cause human devastation.
~ B612 Foundation
How long ago did we learn of DA14 and its impending close flyby of Earth? DA14 was discovered on February 13, 2012, just one year in advance of its close flyby of Earth. Had it been on a collision course with Earth on February 15, 2013, there would not have been enough time to prepare a mission to deflect it. While we would have been able to accurately predict its impact location on Earth, our only possible response would have been to evacuate the area and hope for the best.