Deciphering Asteroid Stats to Divert an Impact on Earth

In summary, I need to come up with three ways to divert a large asteroid away from hitting earth. I don't know what most of the stats mean, but I'm going to try to figure out what they mean and come up with a plan based off of that.
  • #1
winston2020
35
0
I'm currently in grade 12 physics. For my summative project in the class (which is worth a large part of my final mark) I have to think of three separate ways to divert a large asteroid away from hitting earth. We were each given a real object and stats on the object. My first problem is that I don't know what most of the stats mean :redface:

Here's a little chart:
Object a (AU) | e | i (deg) | w (deg) | node (deg) | m (deg) | q (AU) |
1981 Midas 1.78 |0.650| 39.8 | 267.7 | 357.0 | 114.0 | 0.621 |

Q (AU) | P (yr) | H (mag) | MOID (AU) | ref | class |
2.93 | 2.37 | 15.50 | 0.003330 | 62 | APO* |

Column Headings Description:
a (AU): Semi-major axis of the orbit in AU
e: Eccentricity of the orbit
i (deg): Inclination of the orbit with repsect to the ecliptic plane and the equinox of J2000 (J2000-Ecliptic) in degrees
w(deg): Argument of the perihelion in degrees
node (deg): Longitude of the ascending node in degrees
M (deg): Mean anomoly at epoch in degrees
q (AU): Perihelion distance of the orbit in AU
Q (AU): Aphelion distance of the orbit in AU
P (yr): Orbital period in Julian years
H (mag): Absolute V-magnitude
MOID (AU): Minimum orbit intersection distance(the minimum distance between the osculating orbits of the NEO and the Earth)
ref: Orbital solution reference
class: Object classification (APO="Apollo" * indicates possible threat)
(AU): Astronomical Unit: 1.0 AU is about 1.5x10^8 km

If you guys could decipher some of these for me it'd be greatly appreciated :D
 
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  • #2
en.wikipedia.org

no joke, I believe it'll have nearly every term on there, semi-major axis, eccentricity, etc.

The first two are geometric terms that define the ellipse that its orbit traces, the ecliptic plane is the plane the planets (more or less)are on, the perihelion you can look up, etc.
 
  • #3
OK, thanks I've looked through those. Here's another question: Do all objects in the solar system orbit in the same direction? (i.e. An asteroid will orbit the sun clockwise, all the planets and other asteroids will also orbit clockwise)

Is that correct?
 
  • #4
It's not guaranteed fact, but all the planets do. All this stuff used to be a big spinning disk that slowly coalesced into the planets, so everything part of that original pile of dust will be orbiting the same way, as the planets and asteroids in the belt do. Also in the same plane, the ecliptic plane

If an asteroid was wandering through the galaxy and got pulled in by our solar system's gravity, it might not be orbiting at all in the same plane or direction, just depending on how it approached
 
  • #5
blochwave said:
It's not guaranteed fact, but all the planets do. All this stuff used to be a big spinning disk that slowly coalesced into the planets, so everything part of that original pile of dust will be orbiting the same way, as the planets and asteroids in the belt do. Also in the same plane, the ecliptic plane

If an asteroid was wandering through the galaxy and got pulled in by our solar system's gravity, it might not be orbiting at all in the same plane or direction, just depending on how it approached

Ok, thanks :D
 

Related to Deciphering Asteroid Stats to Divert an Impact on Earth

1. How do scientists determine the size and trajectory of an asteroid?

Scientists use various methods, such as telescopes and radar, to observe and track the movement of an asteroid. This data is then used to calculate its size, speed, and trajectory.

2. Can we accurately predict the likelihood of an asteroid impact on Earth?

Yes, scientists use statistical models and simulations to predict the likelihood of an asteroid impact on Earth. However, these predictions are not 100% accurate and can change as more data is collected.

3. How can we divert an asteroid from impacting Earth?

There are several proposed methods for diverting an asteroid, including using spacecraft to push it off course, detonating a nuclear weapon near the asteroid, or painting one side of the asteroid to change its reflectivity and alter its trajectory.

4. How much time do we have to prepare for an asteroid impact?

This depends on the size and trajectory of the asteroid. If it is detected early enough, scientists and governments may have years or even decades to prepare and potentially divert the asteroid. However, if it is detected too late, there may be little time to take action.

5. What are the potential consequences of an asteroid impact on Earth?

The consequences of an asteroid impact can vary greatly depending on the size and location of the impact. It could range from minor damage to major destruction, including tsunamis, earthquakes, and changes in climate. The potential consequences highlight the importance of accurately tracking and diverting potential asteroid impacts.

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