Asteroid misses Earth today

mercurial

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Jun 12, 2007
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#1
Asteroid missed Earth today

Asteroid missed Earth today

ScienceDaily (Jan. 30, 2008) — Earth dodged a bullet today, when asteroid TU24 passed within 540,000 kilometers of our planet, which is just down the street on a galactic scale. Tomorrow, another asteroid – 2007 WD5 – will zip past Mars at a distance of only 26,000 kilometers away. Will we dodge the bullet the next time a near-Earth object (NEO) hurtles dangerously close to our home planet?

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska event, when an exploding asteroid leveled 2000 square kilometers of Siberian forest, The Planetary Society today kicked off a year-long focus on Target Earth. The asteroid believed responsible for the cataclysm on June 30, 1908 became a fireball from the sky and knocked pine trees over like matchsticks near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia. Such an explosion today over more populated areas could lay waste an entire city.

“The solar system is a busy place,” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. “In fact, we live in a dangerous neighborhood, and keeping track of NEOs is like organizing a Neighborhood Watch in our corner of space.”

Earth has been hit by NEOs many times in the past; ancient craters are still visible in landforms around the world. The famed Meteor Crater in Arizona and Canada’s Lake Manicouagan are only two examples.

Target Earth will focus on a variety of NEO projects supported by The Planetary Society, including the Apophis Mission Design Competition, the Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants, NEO mission advocacy, and a one-hour HD TV “Daily Planet” special on asteroids being produced by Discovery Canada.

In mid-to late February, the Society will announce the winners of the Apophis Mission Design Competition, which invited participants to compete for $50,000 in prizes by designing a mission to rendezvous with and "tag" a potentially dangerous near-Earth asteroid. The competition received 37 mission proposals from 19 countries on 6 continents.

Tagging may be necessary to track an asteroid accurately enough to determine whether it will impact Earth, thus helping space agencies to decide whether to mount a deflection mission to alter its orbit. Apophis is an approximately 400-meter NEO, which will come closer to Earth in 2029 than the orbit of our geostationary satellites – close enough to be visible to the naked eye. If Apophis passes through a several hundred-meter wide "keyhole" in 2029, it will impact Earth in 2036. While current estimates rate the probability of impact as very low, Apophis is being used as an example to enable design of a broader type of mission to any potentially dangerous asteroid.

"Target Earth encompasses The Planetary Society’s three-pronged approach to NEO research,” said Director of Projects Bruce Betts. "We fund researchers who discover and track asteroids, advocate greater NEO research funding by the government, and help spur the development of possible ways to avert disaster should a potentially dangerous asteroid be discovered."

The Society will call for another round of Shoemaker grant proposals in the summer of 2008. One past grant recipient, Roy Tucker from Arizona, co-discovered Apophis. Many other past recipients from around the world continue to discover, track, and characterize NEOs.

NASA currently has no plans to study methods of asteroid deflection, or how to tag an asteroid for precise tracking. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have co-sponsored the Society’s Apophis competition and will study the best mission designs offered.

The $50,000 in prize money for the Apophis Mission Design competition was contributed by The Planetary Society's Chairman of the Board, Dan Geraci, together with donations from Planetary Society members around the world. Funding for the Gene Shoemaker NEO Grant program comes from Planetary Society members.
 
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cerebus

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
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35,334
#3
Where's Bruce Willis when you need him?

/straps cooking pot on head and resolutely continues typing
 

dablakmark8

Honorary Master
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Feb 28, 2005
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14,188
#7
i really dont care,the distance is so long.Its not like 100 meters from the earth.
Besides it cant happen.Imagine how bruce will run if it really was so...fag..
 

ldmelsa

Executive Member
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Oct 14, 2006
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5,695
#8
And if one is on course for Earth, they would know about it many many years before it gets here. They would send out a craft that would fly past it, thereby altering it's course ever so slightly. (that's the best solution they can think of atm) I heard about it on a science show. Can't remember the name.
 

Messugga

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
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10,351
#14
Oh yeah sure, let's move a piece of rock the size of a small country, it'll be very easy. As for picking it up years before it hits us, that's unlikely. We only observe a small percentage of the sky, so the odds of us picking something relatively small up, are slim to none. If a asteroid wants to hit the earth, it's probably going to hit the earth.
 

gregmcc

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Jun 29, 2006
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21,578
#15
And here I was hoping it would land on parliament and a piece would also break off and land on eskom!
 

schitz011

Expert Member
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Aug 30, 2005
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#17
I'd like to see some suggestions from scientists with regards to this.
The last show I watched about asteroids had an expert on who scans for potentially troublesome asteroids and he said that most likely the only waring we will get about an asteroid that will hit earth is when it hits the earth.

Apparently there are more people looking for the loch ness monster than there are astronomers looking for earth impacting asteroids!
 

Gnome

Executive Member
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Sep 19, 2005
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5,770
#18
If I remember correctly from my Astronomy modules the earth is currently past the area where we have high probability of being hit by a asteroid, although it's worth mentioning, statistically we are behind on being hit by one *sigh* so many things to die from :rolleyes:
 
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