Close Call

  • Thread starter waht
  • Start date
1,464
3
Wow!!! millions of people could have died yesterday, if perhaps some random intergalactic tug pushed the sucker on a trajectory towards earth.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7921279.stm

An asteroid which may be as big as a ten-storey building has passed close by the Earth, astronomers say.

The object, known as 2009 DD45, thought to be 21-47m (68-152ft) across, raced by our planet at 1344 GMT on Monday.

The gap was just 72,000 km (44,750 miles); a fifth of the distance between our planet and the Moon.

It is in the same size range as a rock which exploded over Siberia in 1908 with the force of 1,000 atomic bombs.
 
1,120
7
Whewwwwwwwie that was close.
 

Monique

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,104
63
That IS close :bugeye:
 

Evo

Mentor
22,862
2,337
We are only aware of a fraction of the NEOs out there.
 

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
45
We are only aware of a fraction of the NEOs out there.
And if they sneak up up on us from a trajectory that takes them near the Sun and sail in, there is very little that we can do. No visual warning from the types of surveys that try to identify these rascals.

On a side note, what would happen if a paranoid culture with nuclear weapons and some favorite enemies was the impact-point? Such an impact could easily trigger WWIII if it were misinterpreted. The lack of EMP, residual radiation etc, would be good signs that the cause of the destruction was natural, but with some militaries geared toward hair-trigger responses, we could have been in a LOT more trouble than that posed by an asteroid impact.
 

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
45
Another side-note. Anybody here a fan of B-5? What was the weapon of choice in the siege of the Narn home-world? Mass-drivers, propelling large masses (asteroids/whatever) toward the planet, and letting the planet's gravity do the rest. Destroy the infrastructure of the society, and move in and take it over with no residual radiation, etc. Harlan Ellison (science consultant for B-5) is no dummy.
 

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,093
173
On a side note, what would happen if a paranoid culture with nuclear weapons and some favorite enemies was the impact-point? Such an impact could easily trigger WWIII if it were misinterpreted. The lack of EMP, residual radiation etc, would be good signs that the cause of the destruction was natural, but with some militaries geared toward hair-trigger responses, we could have been in a LOT more trouble than that posed by an asteroid impact.
This is a known issue for the US. Hopefully the other nuclear powers have considered this scenario.
 

LowlyPion

Homework Helper
3,079
4
Scientists at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia spotted 2009 DD45 and began tracking it in late February when it was about 1 million miles away.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iMRlXoAOKgOWrgy2Iux54E-dmD8QD96NJ2H81 [Broken]

With only a couple of weeks notice ... zowie.

Don't let Brownie lead the evacuation.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
A

Art

Are these small asteroids escapees from the asteroid belt or do they come from the Oort Cloud?
 

mgb_phys

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,744
11
15
0
Are these small asteroids escapees from the asteroid belt or do they come from the Oort Cloud?
They are mostly members of Apollo or Athen groups (aka earth-crossers asteroids). But the possibility that we will got hit by an object which was grav. expelled from other groups such as the asteroid belt is not zero either.
 
1,464
3
This is a known issue for the US. Hopefully the other nuclear powers have considered this scenario.
yea, I think every nuclear weapon can be traced back to the country of origin based on isotopic ratios, if I'm not mistaken. And the angle at which the asteroid descends will also leave a specific signature in the aftermath.
 

Related Threads for: Close Call

  • Posted
Replies
19
Views
4K
  • Posted
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
23
Views
3K
  • Posted
Replies
12
Views
3K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Hot Threads

Top