NASA will get a chance to test its brand new planetary defence system in October, as asteroid 2012 TC4 will fly past Earth at a distance of just 4,200 miles. That is a very close call in astronomical terms indeed, though NASA have confirmed that the space rock will not hit our planet.
2012 TC4 is about 30mts across, and will become the test subject for a new detection and tracking network developed to assess the level of threat posed by rogue asteroids.
The next phase of NASA’s planetary defence system is the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, which should be ready by 2022.
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