House-size asteroid set for near miss with Earth

'Damned close' asteroid will miss Earth this time, say astronomers

Astronomers from ESA and the european southern Observatory (ESO), responsible for identifying the objects that could touch the Earth, were recently spotted.

It will be a rare opportunity for researchers to test Earth's "planetary defense" systems, which are more about early warning than asteroid deflection, although research is being conducted into the latter.

Current knowledge on this particular asteroid is sparse - it was only studied for seven days following its initial discovery in 2012. It is about 15-30 metres (49-98 feet) long.

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.

An asteroid of this size entering our atmosphere would have a similar effect to the Chelyabinsk event.

Well, the space circuit and the cyberspace are buzzing with the news of another asteroid encounter that is set to happen on October 12.

It could pass just 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers) from Earth for the first time since it went out of range in 2012, Nasa says.

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But Earth's atmosphere stretches only a few hundred kilometres far, and TC4 will comfortably miss it.

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the asteroid's next "close-approach" to Earth will take place on December 29, 2019 - although at a much further distance of more than 21 million miles (34 million kilometers). The campaign is an excellent opportunity to test the global ability to detect and track near-Earth objects and assess our ability to respond together to a real asteroid threat. The 2012 TC4 Observing Campaign is part of a larger global initiative led by NASA.

"We know for sure that there is no possibility for this object to hit the Earth", said Detlef Koschny of ESA's "Near Earth Objects" research team.

'This effort will exercise the entire system, to include the initial and follow-up observations, precise orbit determination, and worldwide communications'.

A meteor that blazed across southern Urals in February 2013 was the largest recorded meteor strike in more than a century.

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.

"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".

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