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Old 01-25-2015, 11:53 AM
 
421 posts, read 309,450 times
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I do have to admit deep down I find it a little frightening that something so huge, hurling through space even as far away from us(or as close to us) as this thing is, a reality that is going to happen tomorrow. I am not a doomsdayer type, but still there is that little spark of anxiousness...
It being something that we cannot do anything about even if it was heading right for us doesn't help.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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The big difference between then and now is now we know that things can hit us and we can figure out when and where.
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
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I suppose it is a little unsettling, especially when you realize that it is definitely going to happen again someday. It could be only a week away, and we wouldn't even know about it until tomorrow. Most of the really dangerous ones have been found, and there's virtually no chance of them hitting us in the foreseeable future, but every now and then they still stumble across one that nobody had any idea was there.

And smaller ones (just a couple of hundred meters across) are frequently found only a days before they swing past us. One just missed us by 17,000 miles last year, barely 2 Earth diameters - and well inside the orbit of some of our satellites. It was too small to do much damage even if it had hit us, but still, I think we only spotted that one a week before it whizzed past, unless I'm getting it mixed up with another one.

But yeah, there's not much we could do about it at this point even if we did know one was coming. We don't have the technology, or even a solid plan for how to use it if we did. If this one were coming straight at us, there really would not be a thing in the world we could to about it except sit in the front yard and watch it come.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:49 PM
 
48,890 posts, read 39,370,650 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghengis View Post
how many times are we going to let these opportunities pass us by with trying to blast it to smithereens with something?!
You should read up further on the topic.

"blasting it" could potentially make things worse, much worse.
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
You should read up further on the topic.

"blasting it" could potentially make things worse, much worse.
Psst..... it's Genghis. He's joking....
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoopLV View Post
What something do you think we have? Even our biggest nuke would only alter its trajectory slightly. Consider that this mountain-sized asteroid is traveling 35,000 miles per hour. And it is three times further away than the moon. Good luck putting a payload even near the thing, let alone score a direct hit.

It would be like throwing a dart across Yankee stadium and hitting a fast-moving target the size of a dinner plate.


Someone should make a "virtual asteroid shooter" game to show how difficult this is.
Did you not hear about the Rosetta space craft and the Philae lander that the European Space Agency set down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko back in November 2014 after a ten year journey? It was some 3.7 billion miles away and moving at 83,885 miles-per-hour.
Welcome to a Comet, from Lander on Surface | NASA

America, NASA miss the comet

We can do some pretty amazing things. But as someone else said, it is not a good idea to try to blast an asteroid that's headed your way into pieces. Then you just have a lot of smaller pieces moving your way. Deflecting an asteroid is a much better idea.
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budlight View Post
It is actually 1.2 million km. About 745,000 miles away at its closest point.
Ugh. That's what I meant. How did I miss the 'm' twice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezerrunner View Post
Where would this rank on the Torino Scale?
It would rank 0, as it has zero chance of hitting Earth this go-round.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoopLV View Post
What something do you think we have? Even our biggest nuke would only alter its trajectory slightly. Consider that this mountain-sized asteroid is traveling 35,000 miles per hour. And it is three times further away than the moon. Good luck putting a payload even near the thing, let alone score a direct hit.
And slightly is all that is needed - you just nudge the object a long time before it is due to impact Earth. A slight nudge of an object hundreds of millions of miles out from impact easily moves it out of an impact course. Imagine you're flying from JFK to LAX on a direct course. Now imagine that, as you leave New York airspace, something nudges you 1/100th of a degree off course. Guess what? You miss LAX.

And there are numerous options besides a nuclear detonation.

Quote:
It would be like throwing a dart across Yankee stadium and hitting a fast-moving target the size of a dinner plate.
Except that with this dart, we can make mid-course corrections via remote command from the launch point. So it would be a lot less complicated than, say, launching a probe towards Jupiter, and making sure its approach to Jupiter was just so that that planet's gravity swung it towards Saturn, and making sure that it swung it towards Saturn in just such a way that that planet's gravity swung it towards Uranus, and making sure that it swung it towards Uranus in just such a way that it then was slung towards Neptune - which is exactly what we did with Voyager 2, using simple Newtonian physics and 1970s technology.

Or, it would be like landing a robotic probe on a comet or an asteroid - which has been done several times.

Precisely intersecting the orbit of another satellite of the sun is child's play for astrophysicists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken S. View Post
I happened to check this database a few weeks ago and noted that it would passing, but saw no reason for concern.

NEO Earth Close Approaches

Frankly, I'd rather not know if we're going to be hit by one. Chances are that we will by one that won't have been detected. But what difference does it make? People are delusional to think that humans could actually do something about one heading our way. From what I understand we are targeted by about one large object per century on average. The world's surface is 3/4 water so we can expect one every 400 years or so on land. There were ones in 1906 (?) and 1947 (?) in Siberia, I believe. One hit the moon in the 1600s. Earlier ones in historic times probably hit remote areas that we don't know about. One has to wonder if one set off population migrations like the Indo-Europeans.
An object big enough to threaten civilization on a global scale, unless it's a newcomer (tugged out of the Oort Cloud by some interstellar perturbance, for example) would be seen by numerous amateur astronomers well in advance, so yes, we would certainly know about it. Even the newcomer would be seen weeks if not months out - not enough time to do anything, probably, at this point, but it would not appear at the last moment.

Early detection would easily allow something to be done about it. Bodies in NEO swing by Earth periodically. We do not just know about the current passby of this object but the next several - literally, years and decades out. Some people just cannot comprehend that in order to make an object miss a target that is billions of miles away, it only has to be given a very small nudge - your baseless 'nonsensical' charge notwithstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert_The_Crocodile View Post
But yeah, there's not much we could do about it at this point even if we did know one was coming. We don't have the technology, or even a solid plan for how to use it if we did. If this one were coming straight at us, there really would not be a thing in the world we could to about it except sit in the front yard and watch it come.
The key phrase being 'at this point'. But it was discovered 11 years ago, and it has an orbital period of less than two years. That would have given us more than enough time to plan, build, and launch a re-direction device of some sort (and probably a backup device or two).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_deflection_strategies#Collision_avoidance _strategies

These things are a threat. But there are potential means of dealing with them.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:23 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
11,350 posts, read 7,399,724 times
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1930 UT = 7:30PM, but that's in Greenwich, England. Used to be called GMT - Greenwich Mean Time, but now it's UT - Universal Time.

If it's 1930 UT (7:30 PM), that means it is only 1530 (3:30 PM) in New York.

I got a pretty good telescope, Meade ETX, - I can see the rings of Saturn and 3 moons - but I won't be scanning the skies at 3:30 PM. That's 2:30 for me.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
6,704 posts, read 4,163,830 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post

An object big enough to threaten civilization on a global scale, unless it's a newcomer (tugged out of the Oort Cloud by some interstellar perturbance, for example) would be seen by numerous amateur astronomers well in advance, so yes, we would certainly know about it. Even the newcomer would be seen weeks if not months out - not enough time to do anything, probably, at this point, but it would not appear at the last moment.
Most likely, yes. In fact, if we're talking about a dinosaur-killer, almost certainly. I get the sense you already know this, but for others who may not, the greater danger is not large asteroids but stray long-period comets. The velocity of an infalling comet can be as much as 2 or 3 times faster than an asteroid, and at that speed not only might it be difficult to spot it and intercept it in time, the damage would be exponentially greater than that of an asteroid.

And while most people tend to focus on the extinction-level impacts that are so popular in Hollywood, it doesn't take something that big to have catastrophic consequences for the human race. The Chixculub (or however it's spelled) object was about 6 miles across; but something only a few hundred yards in diameter would be more than sufficient to destroy one or more major cities. Imagine the economic (not to mention human) toll if New York City, or the Los Angeles basin, or London, or Tokyo, was destroyed. That one could hit with only a few hour's notice, and millions (even tens of millions) of lives could be lost. Wouldn't wipe out the species, but it would sure have an enormous impact on the entire world.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post

The key phrase being 'at this point'. But it was discovered 11 years ago, and it has an orbital period of less than two years. That would have given us more than enough time to plan, build, and launch a re-direction device of some sort (and probably a backup device or two).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_deflection_strategies#Collision_avoidance _strategies

These things are a threat. But there are potential means of dealing with them.
Oh, definitely. And actually, I misspoke earlier - we do have the technology we need. We just haven't put it together as part of a dedicated plan. If we catch them early enough, it's easy to deflect them. Child's play, in fact. The trick is deciding to do it.

Last edited by Mr. In-Between; 01-25-2015 at 10:40 PM..
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:05 PM
 
26 posts, read 26,912 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert_The_Crocodile View Post
The Chixculub (or however it's spelled) object was about 6 miles across; but something only a few hundred yards in diameter would be more than sufficient to destroy one or more major cities. Imagine the economic (not to mention human) toll if New York City, or the Los Angeles basin, or London, or Tokyo, was destroyed.
The K-T Event asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs is a once-in-100 million-years type of disaster. Since that impact occurred 66 million years ago, we should be safe for another 40 million yrs. or so.

The odds of a football stadium-size bolide hitting a major metropolitan area is very small. More than likely, it would impact in the ocean and cause massive tsunamis that could devastate an entire coastline, but we'd still survive as a species.

You'd also have to consider what type of material the impactor is made of. The K-T asteroid is theorized to have been a carbonaceous chondrite, which is less dense. A 300-ft. wide iron meteorite could be very disastrous for it's size because of the density of the material.
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