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Asteroids Close, But no cigar!

  1. Sep 8, 2010 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2010 #2

    D H

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    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    These two were discovered on September 5, just a few days before their closest approaches on September 8. So, yeah, recent.

    On the other hand, not that recent. This happens all the time. The only newsworthy thing is that this is a twofer. From the JPL press release on the objects, http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news169.html [Broken],
    a ten meter-sized near-Earth asteroid from the undiscovered population of about 50 million would be expected to pass almost daily within a lunar distance, and one might strike Earth's atmosphere about every ten years on average.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Sep 8, 2010 #3
    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Thanks D H... you've educated me, and reinforced my distrust of the nature of CNN reporting. Way for them to make a "panic" out of what is a regular event.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Sep 8, 2010 #4

    D H

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    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Where is the CNN article sensationalizing things? It specifically says "The objects don't pose a threat to Earth."

    On the other hand, asteroid collisions do pose a threat to life on Earth. What killed the dinosaurs?
     
  6. Sep 8, 2010 #5
    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Something we couldn't stop even if we were looking for it.


    This event doesn't sound like it emphasizes that need, although your reference to the K-T extinction may.
     
  7. Sep 8, 2010 #6
    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Any day I don't get hit by an asteroid is a good day in my book.
     
  8. Sep 8, 2010 #7
    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Just like Bush, they were hounded by the meteor. Actually, I've heard that although the dinosaurs died off relatively quickly, it wasn't as quick as it would have been if an asteroid did it.
     
  9. Sep 8, 2010 #8

    D H

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    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Finding the big asteroids that would wreak major havoc (extreme havoc) should they impact the Earth is the primary reason that NASA's Near Earth Object Program exists. Those big asteroids are much smaller in number and much easier to see than the are the small ones. Developing plans that would avert a collision with a big asteroid has a favorite master's level thesis in some aerospace engineering disciplines -- and of course in some parts of NASA.
     
  10. Sep 8, 2010 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Asteroid impact > large-scale climate change > quick adaptation of more generalized creatures > slow adaptation by specialists > extinction

    It is not like the dinosaurs actually got hit on the head with the asteroid.
     
  11. Sep 8, 2010 #10
    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    It's a good plan, but from what I understand, beyond the many theses... there is no viable way to destroy or divert a "planet killer" object. I've read plenty of plans, but none that actually have existence off paper, and it's not something that is likely to ever be funded until it's too late. This makes it academically fascinating, and a definite threat, but not even close to something that can be reasonable sold to the public at large.
     
  12. Sep 8, 2010 #11
    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    The ones that did were arguably the lucky ones, in the sense that being near that ground zero would have been a quick death. The process you describe sounds rather unpleasant, even if it is multi-generational.
     
  13. Sep 8, 2010 #12

    Office_Shredder

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    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    Citation please.

    It's hard to tell whether this is evidence that we need more equipment to look for potentially deadly hits. On the one hand, maybe we miss stuff like this all the time. On the other hand, they're not going to kill anyone, so who cares if we miss it. Maybe we won't know if we have the right technology in place until a meteor big enough to do some damage comes around (even if we know what size meteor we have to spot, how could we know what percentage of them we're detecting?)
     
  14. Sep 9, 2010 #13
    All this talk about impact, yet the article says: "Stony objects of the two asteroids' size would not be expected to make it through the Earth's atmosphere."

    So either one may have put on a nice light show, but that's about it. No impact.
     
  15. Sep 9, 2010 #14
    Yeah... sort of why I think the article is hysterical. Now 99942 Apophis... THAT is a good 'heads up' and justification for funding and research... these two, not so much.
     
  16. Sep 9, 2010 #15

    Gokul43201

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    Not sure if you're calling it funny, or accusing it of exaggeration ... but I don't see a whole lot of gross speculation in the article. Specifically, the part you quote as being sensationalist...

    The double encounter is an unusual event that shows the need for closer monitoring of near space for Earth-threatening encounters, according to NASA.

    ... is directly attributed to NASA. It is not some random thought by a reporter at CNN.
     
  17. Sep 9, 2010 #16

    BobG

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    Re: Ateroids.. Close, But no cigar!

    We haven't had the capability to detect many of these objects until recently. This chart shows how many and how objects have been detected over the last 15 years. Near Earth Asteroid Discoveries

    With an estimated 50 million objects to catalog, we're well on our way. :rolleyes:

    Actually, both of those objects are too small to be part of what NASA is tasked with detecting. In 2005, Congress mandated that NASA discover 90% of near earth asteroids 140 meters or greater by 2020 (an impossible task given funding, by the way). Objects larger than that can cause at least regional damage. Detecting and Countering Near-Earth Objects That Could Threaten Earth Underfunded, According to Report.

    To put the risk in perspective, getting hit by an asteroid large enough to do serious damage is an inevitability, but not something that has a realistic probability of killing anyone today. If anyone's going to be killed today, it's more likely to be from man-made space debris. Pieces of satellites and rocket boosters are built stronger than asteroids and more likely to survive reentry.

    About one man-made object reenters the atmosphere every day, but no one knows how many survive reentry. No one has been known to have been killed by falling satellites, either. But they sure didn't skimp when it came to durability on the Delta 2 boosters. Those are good parts!
     
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