Asteroid Passed Close to Earth, Experts Say

An asteroid the size of a house passed by Earth at a distance of around 26,000 miles on Thursday, Oct. 12, according to NASA.

“It's damn close," Rolf Densing, head of the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, told The Telegraph. "The farthest satellites are 22,000 miles out, so this is indeed a close miss."

The asteroid, dubbed 2012 TC4, is roughly 45 to 100 feet in size and is traveling at around 16,000 mph. NASA noted that the asteroid would not impact Earth, and the closest the rock came was when it passed over Antarctica at 1:42 a.m. ET on Thursday.

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NASA was using this opportunity to test how well its planetary defense system would work should an asteroid actually be on a collision course with Earth.

“Asteroid trackers are using this flyby to test the worldwide asteroid detection and tracking network, assessing our capability to work together in response to finding a potential real asteroid-impact threat," explained Michael Kelley, program scientist and NASA PDCO lead for the TC4 observation campaign.

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