Tags: asteroid | 2012 tc4 | passes | earth | safely

Asteroid 2012 TC4, the Size of a House, Passes Earth Safely

Asteroid 2012 TC4, the Size of a House, Passes Earth Safely
An illustration of asteroid 2012 TC4 (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

By    |   Friday, 13 October 2017 06:09 AM

Asteroid 2012 TC4 flew within 26,000 miles of Earth on Thursday, giving scientists an opportunity to test their system for detecting possible collisions.

Although the 50- to 100-foot asteroid was not in danger of hitting Earth and wasn’t large enough to survive hitting the atmosphere even if it did approach, scientists could use the close flyby to see if their system works. As of right now, no known asteroid is projected to hit Earth in the next 100 years.

The detection program involves “more than a dozen observatories, universities and labs around the globe” in what campaign leader Vishnu Reddy with the Lunar and Planet Laboratory at the University of Arizona called a “team effort,” Space.com reported.

Paul Chodas of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said the flyby is “rather special in the sense that we don’t often know about small asteroids approaching the Earth years in advance,” Space.com reported. 

“It’s interesting to study such a small object, but it’s also very appropriate, because we’re more likely to see a small asteroid heading for Earth impact than a large one, simply because there are far more small ones than large ones,” Chodas continued.

If a mid-sized or large asteroid did hit Earth, it could cause catastrophic damage to a populated area or even cause global mass extinction, Newsweek reported.

Asteroid 2012 TC4 was not visible anywhere in the world without a telescope.

In 2013, a meteor with similar size to TC4 exploded over Russia, blowing out windows in 5,000 buildings and injuring 1,200 even though it never hit the earth.

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On Thursday, Asteroid 2012 TC4 flew within 26,000 miles of Earth, giving scientists an opportunity to test their system for detecting possible collisions.
asteroid, 2012 tc4, passes, earth, safely
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2017-09-13
Friday, 13 October 2017 06:09 AM
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