ibusinesslines.com August 22, 2017

Asteroid to come 'damn close' to crashing into Earth

12 August 2017, 12:26 | Justin Tyler

Asteroid to come 'damn close' to crashing into Earth

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

It measures, at most, up to 30 meters across - similar in size to the asteroid that hit Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation in 2013.

Mark your calendar for October 12.

The European Space Agency says it'll treat the close encounter as 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", according to a statement.

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. That meteor famously exploded in the sky over Russian Federation in 2013.

"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.

Based on predictions made at the agency's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies in Pasadena, California, it could also - and more likely will - pass much farther away, as far as 170,000 miles (270,000 kilometers). But don't worry. This asteroid is far enough away to be safe, but close enough to give scientists a lot to look at.

Nasa hopes to use its worldwide 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.

In 2013, a meteoroid of about 20m exploded in the atmosphere over the city of Chelyabinsk in central Russian Federation with the kinetic energy of about 30 Hiroshima atom bombs.

The fireball measuring 18 meters across, screamed into Earth's atmosphere at 41,600 miles per hour.

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.

While scientists aren't sure of its precise fly distance, they are certain it poses no risk to Earth or its satellites.

"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".

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