Asteroid 2012 TC4 flew 'damn close' to Earth today - but how prepared are we for a strike?
An asteroid the size of a house was being watched carefully this morning by astrophysicists as it hurtled âdamn closeâ to Earth.
The large space rock, named 2012 TC4, was first spotted five years ago by the Pan-STARRS telescope at the Haleakala Observatory, in Hawaii, before disappearing as it orbits the sun. It then reemerged in July on a trajectory well inside our lunar orbit.
Scientists said the asteroid swung by Earth about 6:42am BST, passing over Antarctica, and posed no threat.
However it did present space agencies with a rare opportunity to test the planetâs space defences and wargame what they would do if a larger, more threatening asteroid was detected heading straight for Earth.
How close did TC4 come to Earth?
TC4 is between 50 to 100ft in diameter and travelling through space at roughly 16,000 mph - 4.5 miles a second. It is past within 27,000 miles of Antarctica.
This may sound like a long way away, yet itâs a short distance in planetary terms and around one eighth of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. It is also just above the distance our satellites orbit.Source: Google News