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NASA to use asteroid to test planetary defense system

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Staff Writer | August 5, 2017
NASA announced that it will take advantage of the near-Earth passage of a small asteroid on October 12 to test its planetary defense network.
Space   National Aeronautics and Space Administration
According to the statement from the U.S. space agency, the objective will be the 2012 TC4 space body, a small rock with dimensions between 10 and 30 meters, which will fly by without risk of impact on our planet.

The agency acknowledged that scientists still can not predict exactly how close it will be to the orbit, but they are sure that it will not reach less than 6, 800 kilometers from the surface.

NASA's leading scientist in this observation campaign, Michael Kelley, commented that with this approach, the international community will test the global asteroid detection and tracking network, assessing the ability to work together in response to a potential threat.

The TC4 could be slightly bigger than the space rock that hit the Earth's atmosphere near Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013, confirmed the NASA expert.

NASA hopes the new observations will help increase the knowledge about its orbit, reducing uncertainty about how far it will be from Earth in its closest orbit in October.