This week, another cosmic object will fly by Earth quite close to it, avoiding a collision with our planet and its geostationary satellites at a relatively small distance. This asteroid is approximately house sized, is known as 2012 TC4, and will offer the chance to scientists to prepare for a less fortunate scenario, when another space object might actually threaten our planet with an imminent clash.
The asteroid poses no collision threat
The house sized asteroid should brush past Earth today, traveling at a distance of only 27,300 miles away from the planet. However, the space rock will get even closer to the geostationary satellites which keep zooming around our planet, reaching the eighth part of the distance between Earth and moon.
However, scientists assured us there’s absolutely no need to worry. They first spotted the approaching house sized asteroid about two months ago and, since then, they kept studying it. This is how they managed to calculate its trajectory and make sure they can detect the exact position where it gets closest to Earth.
In fact, they first noticed the traveling rock five years ago but, back then, it was on a different orbit. Since then, its surface has gotten brighter, allowing a better observation of it. Even if it has reached a speed of 30,000 mph, the asteroid is no threat, not even for the geostationary satellites.
The flyby of the house sized object lets scientists practice a real asteroid collision
However, researchers will take advantage of this flyby to prepare for a less happy event, where a massive asteroid should really strike Earth. This astronomic event gives authorities the chance to prepare and practice the defense steps which are necessary during an asteroid collision.
After a thorough study of near-Earth objects, as asteroids are called, researchers found any object larger than 500 feet should trigger catastrophic events on our planet. This house sized cosmic body is not that large, as it measures merely 100 feet.
Image Source: JPL/NASA