Asteroid that just buzzed Earth may not miss on return visit

An asteroid the size of a small house passed extremely close to the Earth early Thursday, according to the USA space agency.

The asteroid, known as 2012 TC4, traveling around 30,000 miles per hour did not enter the Earth's atmosphere, but it was close enough to be seen by small telescopes. So it was very, very close.

As its name suggests, the asteroid was first spotted in 2012 by a telescope in Hawaii.

NASA researchers were sure there was no risk of impact, but they did capitalize on the close encounter by testing their asteroid warning systems.

"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. As of right now, no known asteroid is projected to hit Earth in the next 100 years. So if it was a large asteroid, it would be something to be more concerned about, but even if it had entered the Earth's atmosphere last night, it likely would've burned up before it struck the Earth.

Less than a day later, the asteroid is already on a journey away from Earth.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Asteroid 2012 TC4 safely passed by our planet at an altitude of 27,300 miles (44,000 kilometers), just a few thousand miles above the level of satellites in geosychronous orbit.

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