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


The European Space Agency says it'll treat the close encounter as an "excellent opportunity to test the worldwide ability to detect and track near-Earth objects and assess our ability to respond together to a real asteroid threat", according to a statement.

"The farthest satellites are 36,000 kilometres out, so this is indeed a close miss", he told AFP.

Researchers for the various space programmes across the globe now have no planetary defence systems in place - they are focused on early warning - and at present ideas of protecting the Earth from an asteroid heading towards it remain in the realm of science fiction.

Year asteroid of that size entering our atmosphere would have an effect similar to that of Chelyabinsk (a meteorite of 18 meters in diameter that no one had seen it coming and that blew up in February 2013 to 23,000 feet above Chelyabinsk, Russia, with a power equivalent to 30 atomic bombs). If it continues to narrow the distance between its orbit and the Earth then the next time it appears in five or so years time, it could strike the planet. Astronomers from ESA and the european southern Observatory (ESO), responsible for identifying the objects that could touch the Earth, were recently spotted.

That particular blast injured about 1,500 people, and damaged over 7,000 buildings, and experts now say 2012 TC4 is 'something to keep an eye on'.

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"[It's] 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", ESA announced in a statement.

Asteroid 2012 TC4 will pass inside the moon's orbit around Earth, flying at an altitude of approximately 27,000 miles.

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. Much of the meteor landed in a local lake called Chebarkul.

We know for sure that there is no possibility for this object to hit Earth.

"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".