Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

House-sized asteroid 2012 TC4 reaches closest to Earth

House-sized asteroid 2012 TC4 reaches closest to Earth

Back in July, the approaching rock caused a brief flurry of speculation that an impact was imminent, before the European Space Agency issued a "calm down" statement.

A small asteroid by the name of 2012 TC4 will pass by the earth on Thursday just 42,000kms above the Antarctic continent.

The 65-foot-wide asteroid won't hit us, but NASA and other asteroid scientists are watching the flyby closely as they prepare a defense against a future space rock that could come crashing down in a big load of terrible, like the asteroid that scientists say wiped out dinosaurs 65 million years ago. However, experts were able to predict the nearest approach of the asteroid to earth in 2017, which became true. Now, it has brightened up as it has gotten closer to the Earth.

Though there's no direct threat to Earth, astronomy scientists will be closely watching it.

In regards to this, the fly-by will allow astronomers to test an global asteroid warning network made up of observatories and scientists to help develop plans for what to do in the face of a real threat. The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was about 10 kilometers wide, but any space rock larger than 1 kilometer wide that hits Earth could trigger catastrophic climate change, scientists say. Helping to monitor similar asteroids and prepare for that planning is a process in which the CSIRO-NASA Canberra tracking station is set to play an important role after a trial of the Goldstone Solar System Radar, which allows scientists to investigate objects in space. It will not hit our planet, but it's coming very close. It will come close enough to the Earth that the Earth's gravitational pull will slightly alter the path of the asteroid, stated the report. For example, in 2013, a meteoroid, similar to the size of TC4, exploded in the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation and the resulting shockwave blew out the windows of almost 5,000 buildings and injured more than 1,200 people.

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