Category: Asteroid Alert

Apocalypse on the way? Scientists fear asteroids, killer robots and deadly diseases could wipe out humanity

(UK MIRROR) — The rise of robots and deadly viruses are among the threats that could wipe out swathes of humanity – but governments are failing to prepare properly for them, a new report warns

Catastrophic climate change, nuclear war and natural disasters such as super volcanoes and asteroids could also pose a deadly risk to mankind, researchers said.

It may sound like the stuff of sci-fi films, but experts said these apocalyptic threats are more likely than many realize.

The report Global Catastrophic Risks, compiled by a team from Oxford University, the Global Challenges Foundation and the Global Priorities Project, ranks dangers that could wipe out 10% or more of the human population. Read more »

NASA is funding asteroid spaceships and other far-out concepts

(ENGADGET) — NASA’s annual National Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program awards money to some of the craziest space projects you’ll ever see, and this year is no different. The space agency has just announced the 13 concepts that made it through Phase I, and one of the most interesting entries plans to transform whole asteroids into spaceships. It’s called Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata or Project RAMA. The concept is the brainchild of Jason Dunn, co-founder of Made In Space, which developed the 3D printer that’s aboard the ISS. Read more »

Another asteroid clobbers Jupiter

(EARTHSKY) — Two amateur astronomers apparently caught a flash on Jupiter on March 17, 2016, a possible indication of an asteroid striking the giant planet’s upper atmosphere. Gerrit Kernbauer of Mödling, Austria captured the image above. He wrote on his YouTube page:

… I was observing and filming Jupiter with my Skywatcher Newton 200/1000 Telescope. The seeing was not the best, so I hesitated to process the videos. Nevertheless, 10 days later, I looked through the videos and found this strange light spot that appeared for less than one second on the edge of the planetary disc. Thinking back to Shoemaker-Levy 9, my only explanation for this is an asteroid or comet that enters Jupiter’s high atmosphere and burned up/exploded very fast. Read more »

Asteroid swept within moon’s distance on the 5th of April

(EARTHSKY) — On April 5, 2016, at 02:21 UTC), a 6-meter-large near-Earth asteroid labeled 2016 FW13 made an extremely close, but safe, sweep past the Earth. Astronomers knew in advance that the asteroid would come within 200,000 miles (320,000 km) of Earth – inside the moon’s orbit. Gianluca Masi at the Virtual Telescope Project sent this photo to EarthSky. He wrote on his website:

At Virtual Telescope, we tried to grab it, despite the uncertain weather and hazy sky.

The image above is a single 180-seconds exposure, remotely taken with PlaneWave 17?+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope. The robotic mount tracked the VERY fast (305″/minute) apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars are trailing, while the asteroid is perfectly tracked (the minor planet is the little sharp dot in the center).

At the imaging time, the object was at about magnitude 18.5 [ed.note: much too faint to be viewed with the eye] and at about 220,000 miles (356,000 km) from our planet. This is, once again, a super result, showing the amazing capabilities of the Virtual Telescope in tracking extremely demanding asteroids.

Read more »

Dinosaurs in decline long before asteroid catastrophe, study reveals

(UK THE GUARDIAN) — Dinosaurs were in decline long before the asteroid struck that spelt their doom, new research suggests.

Dinosaurs were on the up and up from the late Triassic about 220m years ago, with new species arising faster than others went extinct. But the study reveals their fortunes had begun to change long before the catastrophic six-mile-wide asteroid hit what is now the Gulf of Mexico, 66m years ago.

The research, the authors believe, could resolve a longstanding controversy among palaeontologists.

“One of the things that has been long debated about dinosaur evolution is whether they were reigning strong right up until the time of the meteorite impact, or whether there was a slow, gradual decrease in [the emergence of new species] or an increase in extinction before that time,” said Chris Venditti, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading and an author of the paper. Read more »

Asteroid headed for earth? Iowa State professor has it covered

(WHOTV) — AMES, Iowa — It’s not science fiction, but it does sound like something from a movie. Earth’s greatest scientists coming together to stop an asteroid from hitting our planet.

And one of those scientists is right in Central Iowa.

Professor Bong Wie, Iowa State University’s Vance D. Coffman Endowed Faculty Chair in aerospace engineering, is working with his students on “asteroid deflection.” To put it simply: Saving the planet.

His studies have contributed to NASA projects focused on identifying practical ways to wipe out an asteroid before it hits the Earth. If you don’t think that’s a realistic problem, Wie says to think again. A small meteorite that impacted a region in Russia in 2013, for instance, resulted in over 2,000 injured citizens and damage to thousands of buildings. An asteroid on a larger scale, he says, could have detrimental effects to our planet. Read more »