Asteroid to shave past earth inside moon orbit in October


A small asteroid flying past Earth on 12 October will provide scientists with a valuable opportunity to learn more about its orbit and composition.

The Earth has had many close encounters with asteroids that have conveniently and thankfully missed colliding with our planet by just a tiny distance.

But, this could still cause damage and injuries at the ground level.

'Physical properties of an asteroid (composition, structure, size) and its velocity relative to the Earth will influence the effects on an impact.

Thanks to its almost-catastrophic path, TC4 will serve as a test of NASA's emergency detection network, with observatories all over the world working in concert to locate and map the rock's path as it passes our planet. This is the first time that it is observed since its discovery in 2012 by the observatory Pan-STARRS in Hawaii.

Based on predictions made at the agency's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies in Pasadena, California, it could also - and more likely will - pass much farther away, as far as 170,000 miles (270,000 kilometers). But don't worry. This asteroid is far enough away to be safe, but close enough to give scientists a lot to look at. The 2012 TC4 Observing Campaign is part of a larger worldwide initiative led by NASA.

"We know for sure that there is no possibility for this object to hit the Earth", Detlef Koschny of ESA's Near Earth Objects research team told reporters. That's when asteroid 2012 TC4 will slip past Earth at an expected distance of around 27,300 miles (44,000 kilometers).

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But as it starts to approach Earth in the coming months, large telescopes will be used to detect it and establish the asteroid's precise trajectory. That meteor famously exploded in the sky over Russian Federation in 2013.

In 2013, a meteoroid of about 20 metres exploded in the atmosphere over the city of Chelyabinsk in central Russian Federation with the kinetic energy of about 30 Hiroshima atom bombs.

However, only five of them turned out being real meteorites.

A meteor described as being the size of a house is expected to have a near-miss with Earth in October.

Densing, who has previously warned that humanity is not ready to defend itself against an Earth-bound object, said he would not lose any sleep, "not over this one".

"It will be incumbent upon the observatories to get a fix on the asteroid as it approaches, and work together to obtain follow-up observations than make more refined asteroid orbit determinations possible".