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By James Eng

A giant asteroid safely flew past Earth on Thursday and, despite sensationalist Internet headlines to the contrary, never posed any danger to Earthlings. The asteroid, designated 1999 FN53, got no closer than 6.3 million miles from our planet at its closest point, NASA said. The space agency added that the asteroid, measuring about 3,000 feet (1 kilometer) across, will not get closer than that for well over the next century.

"This is a flyby in the loosest sense of the term," Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. "We can compute the motion of this asteroid for the next 3,000 years and it will never be a threat to Earth. This is a relatively unremarkable asteroid, and its distant flyby of Earth … is equally unremarkable."

The asteroid was discovered in 1999 by the Lowell Observatory in Arizona.