The question of what to do when colliding the Earth with an asteroid, has never been so acute. While researchers model such situations and make lists of the most dangerous consequences, the asteroid 2012 TC4 is inexorably approaching our planet.
Recall that, according to preliminary forecasts, in October 2017, this space visitor will sweep in a dangerous vicinity of our planet.
When in the fall of 2012 the asteroid 2012 TC4 flew 94800 kilometers from the Earth, experts calculated that its size can vary from 9 to 30 meters (for comparison: the meteorite that exploded over Chelyabinsk in February 2013 was about 20 meters in diameter).
Soon after that, the asteroid moved to such a distance that it was impossible to detect it and gather more data. Astronomers can not accurately make the trajectory of his flight, but suppose that the next approach from the Earth will separate it from 6760 to 247 thousand kilometers.
NASA experts emphasize that the asteroid will not collide with our planet. Nevertheless, its approximation is important, since it can serve as a kind of training: the department wants to test the system of protection against asteroid attacks.
“This is an ideal goal for such an” exercise “: although we are absolutely sure that the 2012 TC4 will not collide with the Earth, we can not yet establish its exact path, we will try to change its orbit as we approach it, and we will observe it in order to learn in the future To determine the paths of asteroids more clearly, “said Paul Chodas, head of the Center for Near Earth Objects Research (CNEOS), in a NASA press release.
It is planned that as the asteroid approaches the Earth, its position will be fixed by the main large telescopes – according to them, the researchers will make a more accurate trajectory of its path.
“This is a team effort that will involve more than a dozen observatories, universities and laboratories around the world – so we can collectively examine the strengths and weaknesses of our capabilities, which will help test the entire protection system: initial and subsequent observations, precise orbit determination and international messages “- says the coordinator of observations of the asteroid 2012 TC4 Professor Vishnu Reddy (Vishnu Reddy).
According to scientists, having tested the worldwide network of detection and tracking of asteroids this fall, they will be able to assess their real abilities, and this is extremely important for the development of protection systems.
We add that the 2012 TC4 was seen for the first time after “disappeared from the radar” five years ago. The researchers watch him for a week and hope that the new data will help them to more accurately calculate how much the heavenly body is closer to the Earth.
By the way, today the Earth is threatened by thousands of “uninvited guests”: only large asteroids researchers counted at least 15 thousand. In this regard, experts offer new ways to protect against possible asteroid and cometary “bombing.”