Skip to comments.Asteroid threat in 2032? Don't panic, but don't brush it off
Posted on 02/09/2014 3:40:37 PM PST by SunkenCiv
A big asteroid sailed past Earth last month, and astronomers haven't yet totally excluded the possibility that it'll hit us when it comes around in 2032. If the past is any guide, we won't have to worry about asteroid 2013 TV135 but it's a reminder that we'll have to fend off a killer space rock one of these days.
Ukrainian astronomers discovered 2013 TV135 just 10 days ago, well after the asteroid had its close encounter with Earth on Sept. 16. Actually, it wasn't all that close: The distance was 4.2 million miles (6.7 million kilometers), or about 17 times as far away as the moon. But based on the rough estimates of its orbital path, experts rated its chances of colliding with Earth during a follow-up encounter in 2032 at 1 in 63,000.
"To put it another way, that puts the current probability of no impact in 2032 at about 99.998 percent," Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said Thursday in a statement. "This is a relatively new discovery. With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future."
(Excerpt) Read more at nbcnews.com ...
This graphic shows the orbit of 2013 TV135, which ranges out to three-quarters of the distance to Jupiter's orbit. The asteroid's orbital period spans almost four years.
Asteroid 2013 TV135 A Reality Check
Newly discovered asteroid 2013 TV135 made a close approach to Earth on Sept. 16, when it came within about 4.2 million miles (6.7 million kilometers). The asteroid is initially estimated to be about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in size and its orbit carries it as far out as about three quarters of the distance to Jupiter’s orbit and as close to the sun as Earth’s orbit. It was discovered on Oct. 8, 2013, by astronomers working at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Ukraine. As of Oct. 14, asteroid 2013 TV135 is one of 10,332 near-Earth objects that have been discovered.
That’s why I want to see the asteroid miners out there getting to work. When an asteroid does pose a threat, they’ll likely get the contract to move it to a safer orbit.
On a side note, think of the possibilities of asteroid mining combined with the printing of large scale structures in space.
Great ideas.....all we need to do is find a source of
energy that is compact enough, robust enough and reliable
enough to allow such activities. To date we don’t have
that. In addition “3D printing” can make a number of
useful items, not everthing needed, especially those made
from hi strength, tempered metals but many. The trick of
course is that those printers need a source of material
to work with. Might as well haul the finished product
into space since the you’d have to haul the same weight in
material along and THEN print out what you want.
If...and that’s a BIG if, we can successfully find a way
to land on and mine asteroids the issue of raw material
will become much less a problem.
I keep thinking an atomic bomb would do the job and the scientists keep saying it would do no good.
It has to work at least to a large extent because it would increase the surface area subject to burning up in the atmosphere by thousands of times.
I sure hope one of the countries with a functioning space program works on this.
We’re too busy diverting funds to politicians and welfare.
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Physics is not my forte so I’m going to ask a couple of questions in hopes that someone can answer my questions.
My starting premise is that there are four axis that need to be equal in order for two objects to impact (X, Y, Z, and time).
So to move an object out of this future intersection, all that is required is to alter the travel of the object. A number of things have been proposed that would alter the objects trajectory, but most require s substantial amount of energy. Perhaps there is an easier way.
What if the project landed a series of small mass engines (say ion drives) around the asteroid and then engaged to fire such that a vector created a small push to accomplish two things. First apply some force towards the center of the object to hold the engine in place. Secondly, angle the thrust on all the engines to create a rotational acceleration on the object. If the object can be rotated, and that rotation increased, then the object will create a pull in that direction. That is if I remember my HS bicycle demonstration correctly. Yes the force will be small but applied over time this should move the object. If the trajectory was set up correctly, it could change the angle of the orbit and eventually either fly into the gravity well even faster.
Am I wrong in my thought process?
My idea for asteroids and comets is to redirect their orbits to collide with Mars.
This is a terra forming idea. Mars bigget flaw as I see it is that it lacks a magnetosphere and gravity strong enough to hold an atmosphere dense enough for human habitation.
If we bombard Mars with enough asteroids and comets we will add enough mass, gases and water to make it habitable. The added benefit being that we are ridding the neighborhood of NEOs.
It may take a million years unless we come across a really large nickel-iron asteroid and a big comet to drop on Mars but do we have anything better to do with asteroids, comets and Mars?
Mars has 1/8th the mass of the Earth. The mass of all the main belt asteroids adds up to a fraction of the mass of the Earth’s Moon, which is itself 1/100th the mass of the Earth. IOW, this terraforming idea won’t work.
Martian habitats for humans would/will consist of orbital stations and closed, self-sufficient buildings on the surface.
One of the ideas for moving the asteroids is to put a low-thrust (but high specific impulse) engine on a vehicle that first swings into proximity with the asteroid to be nudged. The gravity of the asteroid would give the craft a come-hither, and the engine would push against this, thus towing the asteroid in the desired direction.
It’s an interesting idea, but I prefer crash-bang solutions, such as redirecting small debris (a few, to ten meters) using a similar engine, preferably already moving retrograde, and crashing it directly into the target asteroid. The energy delivery would be enormous.
Using robotic means for most of the processing would be necessary, but crews would have to be rotated in and out to keep things operating.
The useful materials processed out could be “piled” for eventual delivery.
The tailings could be processed with some available gas (or water vapor) into mineral foam — lightweight, strong, and plentiful — and extruded into very large structures.
Titanium, which is probably somewhat plentiful, could be extruded (perhaps as a foam)into reentry vehicles, which would be equipped with basic, necessary methods of control (sent up from Earth, no doubt), loaded with the useful metals and such from the “piles”, and dead-sticked down to Edwards etc.
The bonus to this approach is, reentry vehicles — basically, space shuttles — rain down with the useful materials aboard, and are available thereafter as launch vehicles.
I’ll most likely be outta here.
Let’s send some Muslims up there to take care of it.
If it hit Earth, some liberal will say it is the Tea Party fault!!
I look at it as a means of building the large ships we need for real space travel but yes, the materials could also be returned to earth. The profitability would have to start on earth but the future is beyond.
A while back I was watching a show about colonizing mars and they were demonstrating a full sized concrete printer for standing structures. Obviously its cost prohibitive to carry concrete to mars but a lot of mars has sulfur rich soil. That soil can be heated to 239 degrees to melt the sulfur and then printed into structural walls like concrete. I think people really underestimate the possibilities 3D printing opens up.
I guess at my current age I won’t be around...likely I will already have been euthanized years before by an Obamacare death panel who decided I was too old and of no use to the socialist order.
Here’s a video with a better demonstration of the structural printing at work. Its hard to understand the Indian narrator but very interesting just the same.
LOVE this idea.
Pity about the asteroids, but we could still drop a couple comets on Mars to add water and gases to thicken up the atmosphere.
Stuff hits our atmosphere all day long folks. Only a matter of time before something really does us in. And as far as our dealing with it, well, there’s not a whole lot of people involved in tracking this stuff.
Large domes extruded in space, and made out of otherwise (in the words of Spock) unremarkable ores (as mineral foams), could be dropped to the surface of Mars. They’d thud into position, and colonists could land nearby and move in.
Choosing the right material could make this idea really cool:
The detection of Earth-crossers used to be small independent operations, including an active group in Australia (which is the southern hemisphere; most of the Earth’s landmasses are n of the Equator, but a large impact anywhere screws up the whole Earth). There was persistent resistance to the idea of impact, in part thanks to Aristotle, who stated that stones can’t fall from the sky (Aristotle said, they believed it, that settled it), up until the 1994 SL-9 impacts on Jupiter.
That is a while off yet, I’ll be, hmm, gettin’ up there.
With Jupiter life on this planet might never have evolved at all. At least not much past say, the celhlepods (octopus, cuttlefish, etc). Jupiter is our ‘’cosmic short stop’’. It’s massive gravity pulls in stuff that would otherwise come crashing into us. Most of the time though not always. It’s better that the great mass of humanity not know just how much of a crap shoot it is living on this little smote of dust and water. It’s one thing to have some big chunk of iron coming at you at 40,000 mph a second. It’s quite another when 5 billion people find out they have maybe only a few weeks or a month to live.
Typo. Meant to say “Without Jupiter’’
Mars will never have a magnetosphere unless a way
can be found to create a molten metallic core.
That is the source of the magnetic field that protects
earth. Mars does not have that.....simply making it
bigger won’t change that fact.
I realize that.
Which is why we will have to find an especially large Nickel-Iron asteroid with which to strike Mars; Large enough to essentially pulverize Mars to the point that the NI asteroid will melt and sink to the center of Mars becoming its core.
The Moon also serves this purpose as evidenced by its cratered surface.
Yes, Jupiter is the first line of defense for large objects crashing into the Earth. The Moon is next, and if all else fails, we have Russia.
Film at 11
The cratering of the Moon was done in it’s early days. The Moon didn’t intercept Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994. Jupiter did. had it not we would have been obliterated.
So you know when the last time the moon took a hit that otherwise would have struck the Earth.
Since recorded history is all of 7000 years I think you are making a reach far beyond your grasp.
I guess we would in reality have to include all of the gas giants in that first line of defense.
After all Saturn, Neptune and Uranus although much smaller and less massive still sweep up their share of the debris passing through the solar system.
From the midpoint of the division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out, over a considerable distance, fire, hot coals and sparks. Meanwhile the body of the Moon which was below writhed, as it were in anxiety, and to put it in the words of those who reported it to me and saw it with their own eyes, the Moon throbbed like a wounded snake. Afterwards it resumed its proper state. This phenomenon was repeated a dozen times or more, the flame assuming various twisting shapes at random and then returning to normal. Then, after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.
I certainly did not intend to offend. Thanks for the tip on some astronomical history.
I did find your suggestion that all of the cratering of the moon was done in its early days (before man) a bit off putting. This bit of history certainly would suggest that it is not entirely true.
Oh and I guess I should have said written history instead of recorded history.
Although Neanderthal cave paintings do some convey information as to their view of their world I would not consider cave paintings a record because no specific event can be discerned from the painting. You may say that here there was a bison hunt but you can not discern which bison hunt or who was leading the hunt or where that hunt occurred.
For me to consider something a historical record it needs at least who did what where and when.
The others are out there between us and the Ort Cloud however and are bound to suck up something headed this way occasionally when talking about the galactic time scale.
To put it to bed, if there were something big enough to impact the Moon, something on the order of the pieces of the comet that hit Jupiter, what isn’t blown away and into deep space from the gravitational pull of the Earth is going to come crashing into us. It’s a darn good thing Jupiter is a gas giant. If it were a terrestrial planet enough big impacts over time and it too would be obliterated.
Friend, trust me. The Moon was cratered over a period of 3 billion years until it stopped about a billion years ago. Science calls it ‘’the bombardment period’’. The result of this pummeling caused dark rock matter to well up through the surface and formed what the first astronomers called ‘’mare’’ or ‘’seas’’.
Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994 was on a collision course with Earth, if Jupiter had not been in the way? I’ve not seen that stated anywhere. Do you have a (reputable) link?
Googling this, I found a couple (rather shaky) sources indicating that a collision with Earth was possible somewhere down the line, but those were initial calculations and were revised once Shoemaker-Levy 9’s orbit was better known. Granted, who would take Jupiter out of the equation?
I’d also clarify: MOST of the cratering of the Moon, as Earth’s, occurred in it’s early days, but not all of it. However, it is probably correct to say that the Earth protects the Moon more than the Moon protects the Earth (until we build an asteroid defense station on the Moon, anyway!)
The info on Shoemaker 9 I saw on The Science Channel, if they’re correct in what they said. What sources were you looking at? Face it, without big brother Jupiter out there it’s likely we wouldn’t be here. However the Big Guy can’t catch them all and one day it’s going to be POW!, Goodnight Irene! If the cratering of the Moon didn’t all occur in it’s formation then when did the rest of it? And when has the Moon ever acted as a cosmic shortstop, I’m curious to know? Mercury shows evidence of heavy bombardment as well as Jupiter’s moons Ganymede and Callisto. Because Europa’s surface, if not the entire moon itself is one big ice ball, it’s surface shows less evidence of cratering but only because the surface keeps freezing and then cracking apart.
Prior to that, it was most likely orbiting (basically) between Mars and Jupiter:
Benner, L.A.; McKinnon, W. B. (March 1994). “Pre-Impact Orbital Evolution of P/ShoemakerLevy 9”. Abstracts of the 25th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held in Houston, TX, March 1418, 1994 25: 93.
(Reference 8 in the Wikipedia article.)
Also see references 39 and 40 regarding Jupiter's role as a “cosmic vacuum cleaner” (it's unclear, as Jupiter seems to help with regard to asteroids but may make comet impacts with Earth more numerous.)
The Science Channel gets lots of things wrong...
It is also worth noting that perturbations from Jupiter are the main reason the mass of the asteroids did not accrete into a larger body, but instead was broken up into smaller bodies, some of which end up coming our way.
Now as for the cratering of the Moon, MOST of it occurred over 2 billion years ago, but impacts have most certainly continued at a slower pace, as they have on Earth. For example, Tycho (a truly spectacular crater) is believed to be only about 108 million years old.
Last, where did I say the Moon had acted as a cosmic shortstop? It's gravity well is clearly not big enough to do so consistently. That weak gravity is in fact a major reason why (eventually) it would be a good place to launch an asteroid interceptor or interceptors from.