Taking advantage of the fact that this October 12, a small asteroid, 2012 TC4, which is between 10 and 30 meters in size, will pass very close to us (about 7,000 kilometers), NASA is going to put its planetary defense network to the test .
Asteroid 2012 TC4 may be slightly larger than the space rock that struck Earth’s atmosphere near Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013. As Michael Kelley , lead scientist at NASA in this observation campaign, explains :
Scientists have always appreciated knowing when an asteroid will make a close approach and pass safely close to Earth because they can make preparations to collect data to characterize it and learn as much as possible about it. This time we are adding another layer of effort, using this asteroid to test the global asteroid detection and tracking network, evaluating our ability to work together in response to the search for a real potential asteroid threat.
When it begins to approach Earth this summer, large telescopes will be used to detect it and reestablish the precise trajectory of the asteroid .