CBS Local — As if the biblical predictions of doomsday in September and October weren’t enough, an asteroid is scheduled to make an uncomfortably close pass by the planet on October 12.
The large space rock, named asteroid 2012 TC4, is 30 to 100 feet in length and will be about 27,000 miles away from the planet when it streaks by. That’s about one-eighth of the distance between Earth and the moon. NASA has been tracking the object since they discovered it five years ago and originally believed it could pass within an unnerving 4,200 miles of the Earth.
The close call is giving scientists an opportunity to learn more about what’s out in space and how to detect asteroids before they get too close.
“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,” NASA’s Michael Kelley said.
Many scientists are breathing a sigh of relief the Boeing 737-sized rock is not expected to get any closer. “It’s damn close,” said Rolf Densing of the European Space Operations Centre. “The farthest satellites are 36,000 kilometers (22,400 miles) out, so this is indeed a close miss.”
The asteroid is reportedly larger than one that struck the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013 and is predicted to be capable of even more destruction if it did collide with the Earth.