NASA have announced that a massive asteroid will fly by Earth at a distance 8 times closer than the Moon.
Asteroid 2012 TC4 will is on its course towards Earth and will just miss us at an altitude of 44,000 kilometers, eight times closer than the Moon and just above the operating altitude of many satellites.
NASA will use it as a test of its global asteroid defense system. pic.twitter.com/qU37LTcCzK
— EarthSky (@earthskyscience) October 10, 2017
Despite the asteroids close proximity to our planet, NASA that it brings ‘no danger’ and have no chances of colliding with us, the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration have assured.
“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,” NASA’s Mike Kelley told AFP.
The asteroid received the name 2012 TC4 five years ago – as the name itself implies – when it was discovered as it flew by us. Then, it tapped us at nearly double the distance of Thursday’s visit before disappearing from view.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) September 8, 2017
It is believed to be between 15 and 30 meters wide, about the same size as the meteoroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk in central Russia in 2013 and caused massive damages.
As it released 30 times the kinetic energy of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, windows of more than 5,000 buildings exploded and more than 1,200 people were injured.
It takes asteroid 2012 TC4 609 days to complete one full orbit around the Sun, and will return to pass us in 2050 and 2079.
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) October 10, 2017
Scientists and astronomers around the globe are taking advantage of the flyby to test asteroid pre-warning systems. Once it is close enough, they will be able to evaluate how accurate their predictions regarding its size, distance, speed and other factors were.