A massive asteroid is set to skim the Earth on December 16, just over a week before Christmas. With a diameter of about 3 miles, the asteroid -- named 3200 Phaethon after the Greek demi-god who, according to legend, nearly set the Earth on fire -- is classified as "potentially hazardous" by the Minor Planet Center. Unlike its namesake, however, 3200 Phaethon is unlikely to destroy our planet. It will pass within 6.5 million miles of the Earth, which is relatively close in space terms, but still around 27 times the distance of the moon. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are planning to use the opportunity to obtain a detailed 3D model of the asteroid, which has a particularly irregular shape. First detected in December 2007, 3200 Phaethon is widely thought to be the parent body for the Geminid meteor shower, which this year is due to peak on the night of December 13.