(CNet) The house-sized asteroid that just passed by Earth, almost as close as many satellites in orbit, will be back -- and a future visit might lead to it taking up permanent residency here.
On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Asteroid 2012 TC4 safely passed by our planet at an altitude of 27,300 miles (44,000 kilometers), just a few thousand miles above the level of satellites in geosychronous orbit. That's nearly twice as close as when it passed us almost exactly five years ago, about a week after it was first discovered in October 2012.
The most recent models of the space rock's future path, which can be altered by Earth's gravity each time it makes a close pass, have ruled out the possibility that it will impact Earth when it makes another close call in 2050.
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But the same can't be said for its visit in 2079.