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2004 Mn4

  1. Dec 27, 2004 #1
    What would be the best way to capture this asteroind and place it in a orbit about the Earth? It would be better to capture and study it then to just redirect it or destroy it. Imagine Earth with two Moons.

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/asteroid_update_041227.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 27, 2004 #2

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    To capture the asteroid and 'park' it in orbit would require a decelerating force to bring its velocity down to that which would be compatible with an orbital velocity in Earth's gravity field.

    This would require having a rocket rendezvous with the asteroid and then having sufficient reserve to provide the necessary [itex]\Delta V[/itex].
     
  4. Dec 27, 2004 #3
    This thing is already hauling in the coal. What if it is already traveling near the speed needed to do this?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2004
  5. Jan 2, 2005 #4
    Astronuc,
    Do you think we presently have the capability to direct an asteroid away from hitting earth, assuming we have sufficient time of course?
     
  6. Jan 2, 2005 #5
    Actually I think it will be going slower than the Earth when the near miss occurs - not that that makes any difference. The amount of energy required to place it in Earth orbit is beyond our current technology.

    Even diverting an asteroid that isn't due to hit for 24 years is on the limits of our technology, and to turn a 24 year distant hit into a near miss requires only the tiniest of nudges, compared with the massive shove required to get it into Earth orbit.
     
  7. Jan 4, 2005 #6

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    We have elements of system that could be used to deflect NEO 2004 MN4, but we do not have an integrated delivery or missions system. Right now it is not a significant issue within NASA. It might take in the range of 5 years to put a system together.

    See also the related thread - https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=57882 - which discusses the likelihood of impact.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2005
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