Asteroid makes close approach to Earth early Thursday


A house-sized asteroid on Thursday made a close shave with Earth, but experts have warned that humans may not be so lucky in 2079 when there is chance of the space rock smashing into the Earth. The program begins at 8pm ET.

The asteroid, observed by a telescope in Hawaii for first time in 2012, has disappeared for several years, and this was expressed in July.

Rüdiger Jehn of the European Space Agency (ESA) told AFP: "We know today that it will also not hit the Earth in the year 2050, but the close flyby in 2050 might deflect the asteroid such that it could hit the Earth in the year 2079".

According to NASA, no asteroid now known is predicted to impact Earth for the next 100 years.

The fly-by of the asteroid gave asteroid trackers around the world an opportunity to test their ability to operate as a coordinated global asteroid warning network.

Scientists have said the asteroid is on course to pass safely by, just south of Australia, and poses no threat.

The 30 metre-long asteroid flew past Earth at a distance of 27,300 miles - nearly as low as where man-made satellites sit in orbit.

There is absolutely no risk TC4 will hit Earth.

Astronomers pointed out that asteroid, which is estimated to be 10 to 15 meters in diameter, would not cause serious damage, even if it crashed into earth, it would probably turn into a big fireball by burning in atmosphere.

But according to tracking models, the asteroid's path will be altered by Earth's gravity in the future, and after a few more flybys, its trajectory could lead straight into Earth.

An artist's impression of an asteroid impacting Earth. Vishnu Reddy, principal investigator for a NASA-funded near-Earth asteroid characterization project, said: "This campaign is a team effort that involves more than a dozen observatories, universities and labs around the globe so we can collectively learn the strengths and limitations of our near-Earth object observation capabilities".