Entertaiment

A small asteroid will pass close to Earth in October

A small asteroid will pass close to Earth in October

For comparison, the distance that geostationary satellites orbit at is roughly 22,000 miles, so TC4 is going to be incredibly close to our planet when it makes its pass. "The farthest satellites are 36,000 kilometres out, so this is indeed a close miss".

An asteroid is set to skim past Earth at a distance of 6,880km later this year. It is about 15-30 metres (49-98 feet) long.

NASA says it has been too distant and too faint to track over the last five years.

'As close as it is right now, I think this prediction is pretty safe, meaning that it will miss'. This time, it has been found by the Very Large Telescope of ESO in Chile.

It is travelling at speeds of around 30,000 mph (14 km per second).

For researchers, the near miss will provide a rare chance to test Earth's "planetary defence" systems - which at this point are focused on early warning rather than active asteroid deflection.

NASA is leading a coordinated global campaign to observe TC4. This is the first time that it is observed since its discovery in 2012 by the observatory Pan-STARRS in Hawaii.

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"An asteroid of this size entering our atmosphere would have a similar effect to the Chelyabinsk event", the ESA noted in a news release Thursday.

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

"However, it makes you wonder what will happen next time", he said. The campaign is 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.

Nasa hopes to use its global network of observatories to recover, track and characterize 2012 TC4.

"This is the ideal target for such an exercise because while we know the orbit of 2012 TC4 well enough to be absolutely certain it will not impact Earth, we haven't established its exact path just yet", said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

" SCIENTIST DETLEF KOSCHNY, of the European Space Agency's Near Earth Objects research team, on the asteroid dubbed 2012 TC4".

Paul Chodas, a manager working on the project, said: 'This is the flawless target for such an exercise because while we know the orbit of 2012 TC4 well enough to be absolutely certain it will not impact Earth, we haven't established its exact path just yet.


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