Asteroid is heading towards Earth

12 August, 2017, 00:26 | Author: Becky Perry
  • 'Damned close' asteroid will miss Earth this time, say astronomers

It is still far from the scenario of Armageddon, but a small asteroid (about the size of a house, between 15 and 30 meters) will pass very close to Earth on October 12, 2017, announced the european space Agency (ESA) in a press release.

Astronomers recently spotted asteroid 2012 TC4 under a collaboration between ESA and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to locate faint objects that might strike Earth.

If the asteroid did hit Earth, it could lead to a much more devastating level of impact than the 18 metre (59 foot) asteroid that hit the city of Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation in 2013.

"A key ingredient of planetary defense is an effective communication network, not just within NASA, but between NASA, other government agencies, our global partners and the public through the news media", Kelley said. Also, it would likely behave very differently to the Chelyabinsk object.

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

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the asteroid's next "close-approach" to Earth will take place on December 29, 2019 - although at a much further distance of more than 21 million miles (34 million kilometers). 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.

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

"We know for sure that there is no possibility for this object to hit Earth", said scientist Detlef Koschny of ESA's Near Earth Objects research team.

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

In 2013, a meteoroid exploded in Chelyabinsk, central Russian Federation, injuring 1200 people and shattering the windows of nearly 5000 buildings.

NASA scientists have previously tested their monitoring and emergency response coordination systems using hypothetical impact scenarios, but the October flyby offers researchers a chance to track and predict the size and trajectory of the previously detected near-Earth object in real time.

The asteroid completes an orbit around the sun every 609 days.


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