Asteroid is heading towards Earth

'Damned close' asteroid will miss Earth this time, say astronomers

Asteroid to come 'damn close' to crashing into Earth

PLANET Earth will experience a very close encounter with an asteroid the size of a HOUSE in October.

Twenty-seven thousand miles up may seem like a lot, but it's only an eighth of the distance from the Earth to the moon.

This is just far enough to miss the geostationary satellites orbiting at about 36,000km.

"The farthest satellites are 36,000 kilometres out, so this is indeed a close miss", he told AFP.

Now, the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile has managed to track the rock down, some 56 million km away, and determine its trajectory.

"We are certain that there is no risk that the object touches the Ground, so there is no danger of any kind", said to AFP Detlef Koschny, co-director of the segment Objects neos (Near-Earth Objects) of the ESA.

"An asteroid of this size entering our atmosphere would have a similar effect to the Chelyabinsk event", the ESA noted in a news release Thursday.

An asteroid measuring between 49 and 98 feet wide will pass within a few thousand miles of Earth on October 12, according to NASA scientists.

Dr Michael Kelley, a scientist working on the Nasa TC4 observation campaign, said: 'Scientists have always appreciated knowing when an asteroid will make a close approach to and safely pass the Earth because they can make preparations to collect data to characterize and learn as much as possible about it.

'This effort will exercise the entire system, to include the initial and follow-up observations, precise orbit determination, and global communications'.

A meteor that blazed across southern Urals in February 2013 was the largest recorded meteor strike in more than a century.

Four years ago, a meteoroid of about 20 metres exploded in the atmosphere over the city of Chelyabinsk in central Russian Federation with the kinetic energy of about 30 Hiroshima atom bombs.

The fireball measuring 18 meters across, screamed into Earth's atmosphere at 41,600 miles per hour.

Densing, who has previously warned that humanity is not ready to defend itself against an Earth-bound object, said he would not lose any sleep, "not over this one".

The asteroid completes an orbit around the sun every 609 days.

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