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a minor or major impact,' said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, ahead of International Asteroid Day on Friday.It may not happen in our lifetime, he said, but 'the risk that Earth will get hit in a devastating event one day is very high.'For now, there is little we can do.And yet, the first-ever mission to crash a probe into a small space rock to alter its trajectory suffered a major setback when European ministers declined in December to fund part of the project.'We are not ready to defend ourselves' against an Earth-bound object, said Densing.
Although a collision will not be happening this year, a very small change in an asteroid's motion - only be a few millimetres a second - can cause the asteroid to change trajectory.
While it may sound alarming, NASA says asteroid Florence will safely fly past Earth at a distance of about 4.4 million miles (7 million kilometers).
The asteroid, dubbed 2012 TC4, first flitted past our planet in October 2012 at about double the distance of its next expected pass, before disappearing.
Now the European Space Agency (ESA) has tracked down the giant hunk of rock, which is about 15 to 30 metres (49 to 98 feet) long and roughly the size of a house.
It culminates at BST ( ET) on 1st September as it crosses between the constellations Equuleus and Delphinus.