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Asteroid to shave past earth inside moon orbit in October

12 August 2017

The European Space Agency says it'll treat the close encounter as an "excellent opportunity to test the worldwide ability to detect and track near-Earth objects and assess our ability to respond together to a real asteroid threat", according to a statement. The space rock dubbed TC4 will zoom by at a distance of about 44,000 km, outside the 36,000-km orbit of geostationary satellites but inside the moon's orbit, the European Space Agency said, according to AFP.

'This is a team effort that involves more than a dozen observatories, universities and labs across the globe so we can collectively learn the strengths and limitations of our near-Earth object observation capabilities. "That's the most important thing to say".

Dubbed 2012 TC4, the asteroid first passed the Earth in 2012, when it was nearly twice as far away as it will be this year before disappearing off on its galactic path.

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.

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"It's damn close", said European Space Operations Centre head honcho Rolf Densing.

'As close as it is right now, I think this prediction is pretty safe, meaning that it will miss'.

The resulting shockwave blew out the windows of almost 5,000 buildings and injured more than 1,200 people.

For researchers, the near miss will provide a rare chance to test Earth's "planetary defence" systems - which at this point are focused on early warning rather than active asteroid deflection.

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Asteroid 2012 TC4 will pass inside the moon's orbit around Earth, flying at an altitude of approximately 27,000 miles.

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.

But Earth's atmosphere stretches only a few hundred kilometres far, and TC4 will comfortably miss it.

It could pass just 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers) from Earth for the first time since it went out of range in 2012, Nasa says.

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

Asteroid to shave past earth inside moon orbit in October