Tagged: asteroid

An asteroid is about to slip between Earth and the moon — the second near miss in 3 weeks


Less than 3 weeks ago, while America was getting the kids to school and arriving at work, an asteroid the size of a building slipped past Earth from a distance about halfway to the moon.

Now a similar space rock is about to zoom by our helpless planet.

The new near-Earth object (NEO), dubbed asteroid 2017 BX, was only discovered a few days ago, on Friday, January 20. It’s slated to swing by Tuesday night at 11:54 p.m. ET at a distance of about 162,000 miles (261,000 kilometers) — roughly two-thirds the way to the moon.

We first heard about it via an email from Slooh, a company that airs live views of space, and they’re hosting a broadcast about 2017 BX — which they’ve nicknamed “Rerun” — starting at 5:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Asteroid 2017 BX, according to Slooh and data from NASA JPL, is similar to asteroid 2017 AG13, which flew by Earth on Monday, January 9. But this new asteroid is much smaller, at roughly 13 to 46 feet (4 to 14 meters) across — between the size of a car and a bus — and is moving at half the speed, approximately 16,600 miles (26,700 kilometers) per hour.

This is too small and too slow-moving of a rogue space rock to pose any real harm to Earth.

If its path had targeted our planet, and if it had been a loose pile of rocks (as most asteroids are) and not a metallic asteroid, it would break apart and burn up thousands of feet in the air, according to an asteroid-impact simulator called “Impact Earth!” by Purdue University


‘Demon’ asteroid playing chicken with Earth orbit ‘If Apophis were to hit a city, goodbye to that city and the surrounding region for 100 miles’

(WND) — A giant asteroid dubbed Apophis is headed on a trajectory that could cause it to crash into Earth and prove catastrophic to all life, says a scientist at the University of California Berkeley.

“It would create a crater over two miles wide,” explained Alex Filippenko. “If Apophis were to hit a city, goodbye to that city and the surrounding region for 100 miles.”

As recently as 2013, residents in the remote Russian city of Chelyabinsk were shocked to witness the arrival of an enormous asteroid burning through the sky in 2013. The previously undetected object slammed into Earth’s atmosphere, illuminating the skies brighter than the sun and causing panic among locals.

The asteroid is named after an ancient Egyptian demon.

The bulk of the object’s energy was absorbed by the atmosphere – sparing residents from a deadly impact 29 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atom bomb.

What do YOU think? Is Earth at risk of catastrophe from an asteroid? Sound off in today’s WND poll.

Adophis is a near-Earth asteroid that caused a brief period of concern in December 2004 because initial observations indicated a probability of up to 2.7 percent that it would hit Earth on April 13, 2029. Additional observations provided improved predictions that eliminated the possibility of an impact on Earth or the Moon in 2029. However, until 2006, a possibility remained that during the 2029 close encounter with Earth, Apophis would pass through a gravitational keyhole, a small region no more than about 600 miles wide, that would set up a future impact exactly seven years later, April 13, 2036. This possibility kept it at Level 1 on the Torino impact hazard scale until August 2006, when the probability that Apophis would pass through the keyhole was determined to be very small. By 2008, the keyhole had been determined to be less than 1 kilometer. During the short time when it had been of greatest concern, Apophis set the record for highest rating on the Torino scale, reaching level 4.

The diameter of Apophis is, as of the most recent 2013 observations, approximately 1,066 feet.

NASA discounts the threat of an Adophis close encounter with the Earth.

Researchers at NASA/JPL, Caltech, and Arecibo Observatory have released the results of radar observations of the potentially hazardous asteroid 99942 Apophis, along with an in-depth analysis of its motion.

The analysis of Apophis previews situations likely to be encountered with asteroids yet to be discovered: a close approach that is not dangerous (like Apophis in 2029) nonetheless close enough to obscure the proximity and the danger of a later approach (like Apophis in 2036) by amplifying trajectory-prediction uncertainties caused by difficult-to-observe physical characteristics interacting with solar radiation as well as other factors.


No, Asteroid Bennu won’t destroy Earth

(SPACE.COM) — NASA’s new asteroid-sampling mission will do a lot of interesting things, but helping prepare humanity for Earth’s imminent destruction is not among them.

There is indeed a chance that the 1,650-foot-wide (500 meters) asteroid Bennu — the target of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch next month — could hit Earth late in the 22nd century.

But, mission officials stressed, that chance is slim, and the space rock is not nearly big enough to pose an existential threat to the planet, despite what some media reports claimed over the weekend. [Potentially Dangerous Asteroids (Images)]

“We’re not talking about an asteroid that could destroy the Earth,” OSIRIS-REx principal investigator Dante Lauretta, of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, told Space.com. “We’re not anywhere near that kind of energy for an impact.”


A spat over the search for killer asteroids

(NEW YORK TIMES) — More than 14,000 known asteroids zip through Earth’s neighborhood. They will all miss Earth in the coming decades.

But hundreds of thousands more have not yet been discovered, and whether any of those are on course to slam into our planet, no one knows. So finding and tracking all the asteroids that could cross Earth’s path would allow officials to issue warnings and potentially provide time to deflect dangerous ones.

The community of scientists contemplating such doomsday possibilities is small and usually cordial — at least until Nathan P. Myhrvold barged in. Once the chief technologist at Microsoft, Dr. Myhrvold moved on to other endeavors like a six-volume, 2,438-page compendium of cooking knowledge that has been celebrated by chefs. (A sequel, about baking, is in the works.)

He has also become a statistics scold of scientists.

His latest target is NASA, in a squabble over data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft.


More than 14,000 asteroids that zip through Earth’s neighborhood have been ID’d, but hundreds of thousands remain to be discovered,

Luxembourg’s spacecraft will test its asteroid mining tech

(ENGADGET) — Luxembourg is pouring some of its wealth into the development and launch of a spacecraft that could make it even richer. The tiny European country has teamed up with California-based Deep Space Industries to create Prospector-X, an experimental spacecraft designed to test some of their asteroid-mining technologies.

DSI will equip the spacecraft with its water-based propulsion and optical navigation systems. The team then plans to send the 30-centimeter (or around 12-inch) probe to low-Earth orbit “in the near future” to make sure their design works. Prospector-X will remain in LEO, but if the test is successful, its successors will be sent to mine near-Earth asteroids for gold and platinum.

Luxembourg and DSI aren’t the only ones with extraterrestrial gold and platinum dreams. Larry Page-backed Planetary Resources announced its plans to mine asteroids a few years ago and even launched its first satellite from the ISS in 2015. President Obama also signed the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law last year, allowing companies to keep whatever they mine from outer space.


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 »

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 »

The historic lighthouse at Cabo Rojo and its importance to this fast-paced story

Imagine the dome of a small observatory built on top of the tower of the historic lighthouse at Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Also imagine that a potent weapon is hidden inside the tower that is intended to deflect an asteroid big enough to destroy Earth and that the fuel for the weapon is Element 115, ununpentium — the same element that fuels the alien spacecraft.

Imagine further that the fuel for the weapon is hidden somewhere in Texas. The hero must find it and then discover where in Puerto Rico he must go with it in order to power the weapon to deflect the asteroid the aliens have diverted. Their goal: to strike Earth with it to destroy all human life.

The hero has only three days to accomplish all of this. The aliens and their earthly conspirators try to do everything in their power to stop him. How he finally succeeds makes Gray Apocalypse one of the most exciting sci-fi thrillers ever written.