An asteroid the size of a house is set to pass pretty close to Earth tomorrow 5 years ago

An asteroid the size of a house is set to pass pretty close to Earth tomorrow

Pretty close means the asteroid will pass around 26,000 miles from Earth, but that’s not very far away in space terms.

A small asteroid, 2012 TC4, is set to pass safely by Earth on Thursday, October 12, and if NASA says that it “poses no risk of impact with Earth” well then that’s just fine by us.

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The asteroid, estimated to be 50 to 100 metres in size, was discovered by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) in Hawaii in 2012.

Although it travelled out of the range of asteroid-tracking telescopes shortly after it was discovered, it had been predicted that it would return to view in late 2017.

Sure enough, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) spotted it again during the summer via a large telescope in Chile and issued a statement confirming that it would pass Earth at a safe distance of approximately 26,000 miles, easing fears that it was going to get a lot closer than that.

The passing of the asteroid relatively close to Earth is being used by asteroid trackers around the world to test their ability to operate as a coordinated international asteroid warning network.

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Michael Kelley, programme scientist and NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) lead for the TC4 observation campaign said: “Asteroid trackers are using this flyby to test the worldwide asteroid detection and tracking network, assessing our capability to work together in response to finding a potential real asteroid-impact threat.”

In other words, if there’s a real, Armageddon-style asteroid threatening Earth, expert bodies around the world will be able to detect it and hopefully be able to come up with a better plan than sending a bunch of oil drillers up in space to divert it away from sending us into oblivion.

As it stands, no asteroid currently known is predicted to impact Earth for the next 100 years.

Well, thank God for that...

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