Asteroid flyby in October: A drill for the end of the world?

– August 2, 2017

The asteroid has not been seen since its 2012 discovery, when it sped past Earth at about one-fourth the distance from Earth to the moon. It’s been too distant and too faint to be detected over the last five years. As it starts to approach Earth this summer, large telescopes will be used to detect it and re-establish the asteroid’s precise trajectory.

The asteroid, known as 2012 TC4, could come as close as 4,200 miles to Earth, NASA said. That’s actually fairly close, when you consider that the moon is about 239,000 miles away.

The space rock measures somewhere between 30 and 100 feet long, roughly the same size as the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013.

While NASA estimated that object was only about the size of a bus and weighed an estimated 7,000 tons, it exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs.