Asteroid to pass by Earth today

NASA projection of Asteroid 2012 TC4 path

According to NASA at 1:40 AM the asteroid named 2012 TC4 passed close by earth.

Dubbed 2012 TC4, the space rock will shave past at an altitude of less than 44,000 kilometres (27,300 miles) - just above the 36,000-km plane at which hundreds of geosynchronous satellites orbit the Earth.

There was never any danger of an impact during this flyby, NASA researchers stressed. 2012 TC4 is also not close to the geostationary satellites deployed to boost the communication and navigation systems on Earth.

Asteroid 2012 TC4 was discovered nearly 4 years ago to the day, on October 4, 2012, just a week before it made another close pass by Earth.

This celestial event has spurred some additional research into the study of asteroids.

NASA has tested out Earth's planetary defences as Asteroid 2012 TC4 zoomed past Earth this morning.

"This is exactly why we do this exercise - to not be surprised by these things", he said.

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

Diagram showing the asteroid 2012 TC4's flyby of Earth on October 12, 2017.

TC4 is being used as a test for a global asteroid pre-warning system - supported by a network of observatories, universities and laboratories around the world - to see if such rocks can be accurately tracked. TC4 is expected to approach the planet at a point south of Australia. However, it traveled out of the range of asteroid-tracking telescopes shortly after it was discovered.

"We've now been observing TC4 for two months, so we have very accurate position information on it, which in turn allows very precise calculations of its orbit", which will not cross that of Earth nor its satellites, he said.

NASA scientists say that the collision risk no.

In other words, if there's a real, Armageddon-style asteroid threatening Earth, expert bodies around the world will be able to detect it and hopefully be able to come up with a better plan than sending a bunch of oil drillers up in space to divert it away from sending us into oblivion.

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