By Alan Boyle
China's official news agency is reporting that the country's Chang'e 2 deep-space probe made an amazing flyby of the asteroid Toutatis this week, snapping a series of pictures as it passed by at a distance of just 2 miles. The achievement signals China's entry into yet another exclusive space club.

Only four of the world's space efforts have managed close encounters with asteroids: NASA (with NEAR Shoemaker and Dawn, for example), the European Space Agency (with Rosetta), Japan (with Hayabusa) and now China with Toutatis.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted officials at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, or SASTIND, as saying that Chang'e 2 buzzed past the 3-mile-long (5-kilometer-long) asteroid at a relative speed of 24,000 mph (10.73 kilometers per second).
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I really didn't need to see anyone's toutatis.