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House-sized asteroid 'will not hit Earth'

Posted on Saturday, 12 August, 2017 | Comment icon 15 comments

An impact with the Earth has been avoided this time. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The asteroid known as 2012 TC4 is set to pass us by at a safe distance of 27,300 miles in October.
At around 20-30 meters long, the asteroid, which first skipped past us five years ago, is only slightly smaller than the object thought to have been responsible for the Tunguska explosion in 1908.

There had been some uncertainty over just how close it was going to get to our planet during its rendez-vous this year but now, astronomers at the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have been able to definitively confirm that it does not pose a threat.
"We know for sure that there is no possibility for this object to hit the Earth," said Detlef Koschny of ESA's near-Earth objects research team. "There is no danger whatsoever."

That said, with a trajectory that will take it 27,300 miles from the Earth's surface (approximately an eighth of the distance to the Moon), there is no denying that it will be a close call.

"[This] is an excellent opportunity to test the international ability to detect and track near-Earth objects and assess our ability to respond together to a real asteroid threat," ESA said in a statement.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (15)

Tags: Asteroid

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by seanjo on 13 August, 2017, 7:55
The Chelyabinsk meteor broke up with an explosive force at about 30k's above ground, only small pieces reached earth. The injuries occurred as a result of the shockwave from the explosive breakup. There was no destructive impact...
Comment icon #7 Posted by Nzo on 13 August, 2017, 10:18
'supposed to' A lot of things can happen in space to nudge an object a few thousand miles. Plasma storms... other interplanetary objects... We really have to get a system in place to blast these things right out of the sky leaving just a few small fragments.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Noxasa on 13 August, 2017, 14:33
Guess it depends on what you define as "impact."  It did impact the atmosphere and it was destructive as it damaged over 7,200 buildings and collapsed a factory roof along with injuring people.  A shockwave, whether in the from an ground impact or in the atmosphere alone, is still an impact and it can cause damage either way.  Asteroid 2012 TC4 is nothing to take lightly even at its size and can cause even more damage than the Chelyabinsk event as it's likely a bigger asteroid.
Comment icon #9 Posted by bison on 14 August, 2017, 0:36
The likeliest distance of closest approach was changed from about 55,000 miles to around 31,000, when they reacquired the object recently. That was a notable jump, all in just one day. Provided there are no further radical changes, this probably indicates observation or calculation errors, unanticipated effects on the object, such as it emitting comet like jets, or encounters with other small objects.   
Comment icon #10 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 14 August, 2017, 0:59
As long as an asteroid misses the Earth there is really no reason to do anything. "Blasting" the thing might be counter productive as it might result in many more asteroids hitting the Earth, increasing the chance of hitting populated areas. The best thing to do about an asteroid like this is nothing.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Sundew on 14 August, 2017, 3:00
Guess I was thinking of the circumference.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 August, 2017, 9:34
And your point is? What you said was factually incorrect. The Chelyabinsk meteor was not so tiny that it burned up on the atmosphere. Only small pieces reached the ground because it exploded NOT because it burned up. The same thing happened at Tunguska, do you consider that tiny too? This asteroid is the same size as Chelyabinsk. Chelyabinsk demonstrated categorically that objects this size present a threat to life and property.  No amount of goal post moving will change that fact that your claim was wrong.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 August, 2017, 9:37
Nope it represents nothing of the sort. It represents the fact that more observations lead to a refinement of the orbital parameters. The orbit can be determined more precisely. 
Comment icon #14 Posted by freetoroam on 15 August, 2017, 10:00
I do not think it is as easy as that, contrary to what you may have watched on Star Wars, sending a rocket into space to blast anything right out of the sky is timely,  costly, needs preparation and is extremely dangerous.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 August, 2017, 10:14
To back that up: No errors needed, no jets needed, None of bison's theories needed. More observations WERE needed.

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