We almost ALL Died

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Jordan, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. Jordan Registered Senior Member

    So sayeth Yahoo!

    An asteroid the size of a soccer field whizzed by Earth at a distance much nearer than the Moon, the biggest such space rock in decades to get this close, scientists said on Thursday.

    Asteroid 2002MN was not detected until Monday, three days after its closest approach on June 14, when it got within 75,000 miles of Earth and was traveling at a speed of some 23,000 miles per hour, astronomers said.

    It is now several million miles away, according to Brian Marsden of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics' Minor Planet Center, which tracks asteroids.

    "It's the largest (asteroid) we've seen at that distance in the last several decades," Marsden said in a telephone interview.

    The last time any asteroid came this close was in 1994, according to the Near Earth Object Information Center in Britain.

    The big rock, with a diameter of roughly 50 yards to 120 yards, would not have caused global catastrophe if it had struck Earth. That would take an asteroid of several miles diameter.

    However, if it had hit Earth, it had the potential to cause as much local devastation as a 1908 hit in Tunguska, Siberia, which flattened some 800 square miles of forest.

    Asteroid 2002MN was first spotted by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research program, based in Socorro, New Mexico.

    "It's a good thing it missed the Earth, because we never saw it coming," Steve Maran of the American Astronomical Society said in a telephone interview. "The asteroid wasn't discovered until three days after it passed its closest approach to our planet."

    LINEAR is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's initiative to find 90 percent of all near-Earth objects, including asteroids, that measure .62 mile or more in diameter by 2008.

    An asteroid the size of 2002MN may hit Earth about once every hundred years or so, and the planet may not have seen the last of this one, Marsden said.

    "There is a slim chance it could hit in 2061," he said, putting that chance at about one in 100,000.

    "At some level, it behooves us to look out for these things," he said.

    Asteroid 2002 MN will be observable by some telescopes but it is getting fainter as it moves away, Marsden said.
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  3. A4Ever Knows where his towel is Registered Senior Member

    I can't believe they didn't see it coming.

    I hope that when it will be necessary, we have the means to destroy these things before impact.

    I haven't seen Armageddon.
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  5. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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  7. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member


    You're being a bit too dramatic. Had that asteroid impacted the Earth, it would have caused as much devastation as the "1908 hit in Tunguska, Siberia, which flattened some 800 square miles of forest." Hardly an event in which "We almost ALL died."

    It's not surprising this asteroid was not detected. The entire cosmos cannot be "watched" in it's entirety round the clock. There just isn't the resources to do so. Not to mention, the size of the asteroid is quite small and could have easily been missed.

    It does however, serve as a wake up call.
  8. Clarentavious Person Registered Senior Member

    He's right. Even if something is traveling at 23,000 MPH, if it is only the size of a soccer field, it ain't gonna wipe us all out. Maybe a good many if it hit LA or Tokyo.
  9. ratbat Hippie of Darkness Registered Senior Member

    I'm kinda fuzzy on this.
    Why do we need to see an asteroid, before it hits Earth?
    When the Earth does, cross the path of an asteroid, what are we gonna do about it? Are we all gonna run around to the other side, of the planet? Are we gonna put a huge pillow on it's landing space? Curious minds wanna know. What good will it do to know?

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  10. Clarentavious Person Registered Senior Member

    I think they can send a missile out and blow it up into itty bitty pieces.

    They were speaking of 75,000 miles away. At that distance, that would give more than enough time to launch a missile out.

    Also, while I don't really know (like range limits or if they can control a missile in space, little gravity and outside of the O-zone layer), if the missile is sent out that far, they can use a nuke, because the raidoactive waste will be so far away and stay in space (no drift down and land back on our planet).

    No sort of protective structure will help against an asteroid (a small one can leave a gargangtuan crater bigger than a super bowl football stadium at point of impact). On top of that, they wouldn't have nearly enough time to erect a huge structure made of 5 foot thick titanium alloy.

    As far as fleeing, well let's take this example. If scientists predicted it would strike within 2 hours and the blast radius would be approximately 5 miles outside of your city limit, if it takes you 1 hour to drive out of the town border, you could run grab your keys, get in the car, and go speeding down I-10 at 75 MPH - and you might make it.

    On the other hand, if they predicted everyone within an area is doomed, they might say, well choose wisely how to spend your last few hours of life.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2002
  11. LaulavaPuu Registered Senior Member

    Ratbat, at least you could say goodbyes to your loved ones and spent some quality time with people that are really important to you and try to achieve even some sort of inner peace before going down.
  12. Xev Registered Senior Member

    Or you could get really, really high and watch the impact.

    That'd be kinda cool.

    Damn, I'm such a spiritual type of woman.

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  13. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    There was an asteroid that was being looking at. It was thought that maybe in another orbit or two that it could hit the earth. It was suggested that if we could simply paint one side white that light pressure might be enough to devert the path of the asteroid away from the earth. It you wish I will hunt the link.

    Blowing an asteroid is a chancy thing. If you bust it up but it still has large chucks it is going to come down all over the place. You may be worse off than if you had left it alone as it becomes a shotgun type hit.
  14. A4Ever Knows where his towel is Registered Senior Member

    Oh no, you're not! Our right wing politicians keep telling us that the country is full. No more imigrants!


    ps: nah, you can come over, watch impact on television with us

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  15. Clarentavious Person Registered Senior Member

    Maybe, I don't know, but I said itty bitty pieces.

    If you strike it, it is going to explode all over the place, and probably lose alot of its velocity and momentum. At that point its course may divert, or it might go simply floating all over space. I don't know.

    Also, I'm not sure about asteroids, but is it with meteors, that smaller pieces burn up as they enter the atmosphere? And become almost harmless and nothing by the time they are about to reach the ground?
  16. Clarentavious Person Registered Senior Member

    I've never even seen the movie Armageddon. Though they did mention it on Independence Day.

    For your information, if the asteroid is traveling along a straight trajectory (which, it most likely would be), then accuracy wouldn't be an issue at all as long as the missile reached its proper angle before heading linear to the target.

    Certain weapons and arms companies have developed missiles that can land within a few feet of their specified target when fired from half way around the world. Though unfortunately they are too expensive for the government to use very frequently (much higher class than tomahawk cruise like missiles, these are mostly R&D stuff right now)

    It if is 75,000 miles away, and traveling at 23,000 MPH, that'd give you a window of about 3 hours (23 x 3 = 69). Of course detonating a nuke within closer proximity to the earth's surface is not a good idea.

    If millions of peoples lives are at stake, I don't see why people wouldn't attempt anything possible, rather than just sit there and wait to die.
  17. Clarentavious Person Registered Senior Member

    Well we can send astonauts to the moon, and unmanned shuttles much further than that.

    No matter. I guess we should just hope we don't get hit by one of these things.
  18. ZenithEra Registered Member

    Last time I checked space was huge. No way we're going to know all that goes on. F'n Blink and we could all be dead. whippity F.
  19. Clarentavious Person Registered Senior Member

    No, but the general space around our planet earth, extending to about the moon perhaps.

    Radars, satellites, huge telescope like devices and star observitories. There is monitoring that goes on.

    Some of it by the government, some by scientists - and heck, even some by the weathermen forcasters of your local television station

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    They watch the atmosphere. Of course they may not be able to see something coming too far away, or may notice something too late to stop it.
  20. Brett Bellmore Registered Senior Member

    What ACTUALLY makes sense is to launch a space probe that can efficiently detect threatening asteroids, out far enough that we have time to do something. It's not that hard detecting a relatively small body, provided that you're between it and the sun, as you'll get a good reflection off it. Bodies which have orbits that dip below that of the Earth, (And if it doesn't, it isn't much of a threat.) aren't terribly visible through most of their orbit.

    Ideally we need a good cluster of telescopes in an orbit closer to the sun than Earth. That way you'd have both a well illuminated view of almost any asteroid which might hit Earth, and because you'd be traveling quickly, there'd be a lot of parallex to work with for determining orbits accurately, and quickly distinguishing asteroids from dim stars.

    I'd design it thus: There'd be three (or four) components distributed along a tether oriented pointing towards the sun. The closest would be a solar power supply for the probe. Then there'd be a sun shade, to artifically eclipse the sun, allowing for the probe to make observations quite close to the sun, and keep it cool, for better sensitivity. Finally, at the distant end of the tether would be the observation and communication portion of the probe, with multiple high resolution telescopes looking for sun orbiting bodies. It might be worth placing the communications portion of the probe in a fourth, most distant position, to avoid obscuring much of the sky, and to keep down the temperature of the instruments.

    Such a probe could detect much smaller asteroids than any reasonably sized earth based telescope, and could detect them through a much wider swath of their orbits. I think it would be a good investment.
  21. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    I guess I am going to flog a dead horse here but...

    Most missile guidance systems we use now a day for intercontinental missiles require the use of satellites for triangulation to derive at location. This is useless when outside the system. Most space probes use camera's that look for certain marker stars to determine their location. We don't just have these systems lying around waiting to be activated on missiles.

    The asteroids we are worried about come in sizes of large and huge. Atomics are not going to blow up the huge ones. Put a dent in one? Yes. Or worse shatter it into 4 or 5 large pieces, each traveling in the same orbital path and striking at different points on the globe. The worse thing would be to have it come down on the ocean, creating a tsunami that has the potential to travel the world a few times.

    Our nuclear missiles are preprogrammed so that they can be fired at a moment’s notice. Changing those coordinates to an astral point is probably not possible, regardless of if they could reach it. Because these are missiles, the weights of these warheads are critical. That means you don't have a lot of room to work with. A goodly portion of them is MIRV's. These are more or less worthless for this type of application because they are small. Wipe out a city, of course. But blowing up an asteroid is like blowing up a mountain, one that is hauling butt.

    I have to agree with DR EVYL, that it is Hollywood at its finest but not real outside of the movies…
  22. Clarentavious Person Registered Senior Member

    Ooops, one thing I forgot - you're right, the idea is useless

    You see, we could build a single Saturn V rocket

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    and ready it, without TOO much expense (ok, maybe 5 would really kill the budget

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    ), but it wouldn't do any good.

    I just remembered, nuclear bombs have to be manually detonated.

    It doesn't matter if the Grandy Canyon collapsed on an Atomic bomb, it won't function as one.

    That's like taking a hand full of plutonium (the green stuff that looks like jelly cubes, or any other radioactive waste) and throwing it into the street. They set up a 4 square mile containment perimeter, remove it in protective suits, and it's over (it would be just the same as blowing up the stuff).

    For an A-bomb to function properly, you have to either split or ram atoms together. It is a process that has to be activated.

    Since this asteroid was traveling at 23,000 MPH, I think it would be a little difficult to excute it with the proper timing (a nuke wouldn't be effective enough at over 350 miles away, and that's with a 1 second delay)

    Looks like my idea has failed

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  23. Mr. G reality.sys Valued Senior Member

    For once, the US Congress has exhibited uncharacteristic intelligence. In the face of a known threat, not one of them has felt the urge to introduce legislation outlawing rocks.

    Had they done so, years ago, in actual anticipation of reality, most all of the Apollo Astronauts would be serving time for importing illegal substances.

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