We recently reported on an asteroid that had just been discovered, and was expected to pass by Earth on Halloween. Like clockwork, Asteroid 2015 TB145 flew past Earth on Halloween morning, at 1 p.m. EDT. NASA captured radar images using radio telescopes, and they're are now available online.

To get the pictures, NASA scientists used the 230-foot DSS-14 antenna at Goldstone, Calif., to send microwaves toward the asteroid. That signal bounced off the asteroid, and angled toward the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's 330-foot Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The technology is so precise that a single pixel can be 13 feet long. But you can see it at a more computer-friendly resolution on NASA's site.

The asteroid is about 2,000 feet in diameter, or five and a half football fields, and the radar images show that the surface has pronounced indentations and bright spots (which may indicate boulders). 

TB145 missed our planet by about 300,000 miles, the equivalent of seven Earths. But it will be back in a short three years, when it will try to greet us again at a distance of about 24 million miles (another fail, TB; get it together). 

It is popular these days to argue that the U.S. should cut spending on the space program, which is inherently exploratory. But as NASA points out in its press release about the asteroid, the U.S. and its contractors have discovered 98 percent of the Near Earth Objects ever discovered. Monitoring Near Earth Objects is critical to the survival of the planet and species, since asteroid impacts have caused most major extinctions in the past. 

However, if that happens, buy animal crackers.

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