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House-sized asteroid to whizz past Earth on October 12; no threat to the planet, says ESA

House-sized asteroid to whizz past Earth on October 12; no threat to the planet, says ESA

New Delhi: The Earth has had many close encounters with asteroids that have conveniently and thankfully missed colliding with our planet by just a tiny distance.

Well, the space circuit and the cyberspace are buzzing with the news of another asteroid encounter that is set to happen on October 12.

As per reports, an asteroid the size of a house will shave past Earth at a distance of some 44,000 kilometres (27,300 miles) on the twelfth day of October, far inside the Moon’s orbit but without posing any threat.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the space rock will skip by Earth, far enough to just miss our geostationary satellites orbiting at about 36,000 kilometres.

“It will not hit the Earth,” said Detlef Koschny of ESA’s “Near Earth Objects” research team. “That’s the most important thing to say.”

The asteroid, dubbed TC4, first flitted past our planet in October 2012 – then at about double the distance before disappearing. It is about 15-30 metres (49-98 feet) long.

Scientists expected the asteroid to return for a near-Earth rendezvous this year, but did not know how far.

Now, the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile has managed to track down the rock and determine its distance.

“It’s damn close,” said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

“The farthest satellites are 36,000 kilometres out, so this is indeed a close miss,” he told AFP, adding it was nothing to lose sleep over.

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

AFP