- WHOA, did anybody see that?
- An asteroid the size of a small house just flew 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers) above our planet’s surface, which gave NASA a chance to test its planetary defense systems!
- The ‘2012 TC4′ asteroid traveled over Antarctica at a height of approximately 1/10th the distance from Earth to the Moon (that’s close!).
- The asteroid was first discovered in 2012 by NASA’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), located on Hawaii.
- Scientists were therefore given ample warning to test systems to prevent catastrophic events (i.e. to alter an asteroid’s trajectory), such as that which wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
- According to NASA scientist Michael Kelly, this exercise was important to test “our capability to work together in response to finding a potential real asteroid-impact threat”.
- Data from dozens of observatories, labs, universities around the globe will be compiled to analyse our capabilities.
- Just so you know, no known asteroids are predicted to be on course to hit Earth in the next 100 years.
- I’velinked a great Big Think article below, which also includes a video by Bill Nye on this topic.