Skip to comments.Possible Mars Impact Highlights Risk To Earth
Posted on 01/03/2008 4:38:58 PM PST by blam
Possible Mars impact highlights risk to Earth
00:01 04 January 2008
NewScientist.com news service
Asteroid 2007 WD5's orbit takes it from just outside Earth's orbit through Mars's orbit to the asteroid belt (Illustration: JPL/NASA)Tools
An asteroid hurtling towards Mars has a 1 in 28 chance of walloping the Red Planet, according to the latest calculations.
The rock's discovery just a couple of months before a possible impact begs the question of what would happen if it were instead headed for Earth the only option, astronomers say, would be to evacuate any inhabited areas it might hit.
The asteroid, called 2007 WD5, was discovered on 20 November by a 1.5 metre telescope near Tucson, Arizona, US, that combs the skies as part of NASA's efforts to detect asteroids with a chance of hitting Earth.
It is an estimated 50 metres across, putting it in the same class as the Tunguska object that exploded over Siberia in 1908, flattening trees in an area extending many kilometres from the explosion.
Early calculations gave the asteroid a 1 in 75 chance of striking Mars on 30 January 2008.
Then, additional observations of the asteroid on 8 November were found in archival images from the 2.5-metre telescope at the Apache Point Observatory near Cloudcroft, New Mexico, US. As a result, NASA's Near Earth Object Program, based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US, reported on 28 December that the impact probability had increased to 3.9%, or about 1 in 20.
But new observations taken between 29 December and 2 January using a 2.4-metre telescope at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory in New Mexico have revised the probability again, slightly lowering it to 3.6%, or about 1 in 28.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.newscientist.com ...
1 in 28? It was 1 in 25 last week...
Still got my fingers crossed. (for a mars impact)
One of those “sooner or later” things. Just like global warming and global cooling.
I suppose Chinese Fire Drills aren't like they used to be in the old silent movies, but this would be a lot like that.
Hope the Rovers don’t go the way of the dinosaurs . They should be able to get pictures if it hits in their vicinity .
The error radius will decrease in the days ahead but the center of most likely path will be about where it is now and the radius will not include Mars so the probability will go to zero.
You guys are getting slow.
MARTIAN WOMEN AND MINORITIES HARDEST HIT!!!
Could be, perhaps, maybe, could happen, sooner or later, possibility science at its best. ;-)
Maybe New Orleans will get a 2nd chance to do it right.
Life on Mars will not be the same.
Thing that freaks me out is this thing is only 150 feet wide, but could flatten a city. It’s almost “unfair” that due to the speeds one of these things doesnt have to be very big to wipe us out. A mile wide would be enough to mess up the planet. And if it’s several miles wide we are cooked.
I wonder why do they say the only option would be to evacuate? Why couldn’t we try to alter the course of a 50 meter wide rock?
Of course there is a greater risk for the Earth (than for Mars), we are a bigger target.
This is one of my favorite themes which I will not go into at this time, but we could capture such an asteroid and park it for later possible use for something else.
It would be utmost kool if it hit, but it looks like a miss.
I don’t suppose there’s any chance that Mars will perturb it enough to hit earth?
I’ve always liked the idea of using earth crossing asteroids as a means to transport supplies and equipment closer to places we needed them out in the solar system.
We should have a continuously operating shuttle system between earth and moon, and earth and Mars if we want to get serious about this space thing. Regular operation like a city bus system. Would cost something to set up, but once operating it would save beaucoup bucks.
If it were to hit Mars there would be a greater risk to productive life forms than if it hit the Ninth Ward dead-on.
I know that one of our former astronauts has proposed the idea of a series 4 or 6 of unmanned ships that continually orbit between earth and mars. Sort of an interstellar bus line.
Yeah, it’s an excellent plan if we are serious. This business of launching single flights like Apollo is way too expensive for a substantial continuing program.
Hillary’s campaign bus would make a good target. ;-)
Although it would work for Gummint science stuff, I wouldn’t see a commercial reason at all involving Mars; the asteroid belt is a different story.
Sticking with the space treaty is foolish. Anyone who believes that a nation like China would pass up the chance at the mineral wealth of the asteroid belt is fooling themselves.
The only thing stopping China from doing it now is the lack of ability. American corporations probably would have been well on their way without that damned treaty.
Agree on that. When the super huge pipelines are built for natural gas from Siberia or Alaska to markets thousands of miles away, or when water pipelines are built from Alaska/Canada to California or Georgia the steel requirement will be monstrous and a huge drain on the steel industry worldwide. Asteroid mining could supply that need, and already would be doing so except for the Treaty. Indeed.
How about a headline like “Mars turns Red over Asteroid; Moscow is happy.”
Do you know what Martian parents tell their children when they misbehave? “Don’t make an asteroid out of yourself.”
I know these are bad but what do you want so early in the year?
Where I went to school we were known as “The Comets” so yes we do indeed rule.
Maybe we can get Al Gore to start a “Save Mars!” campaign.
Let’s send Al Gore TO Mars to save it. I’ll pay for that trip. Probably would need a Saturn V rocket to launch that payload.
Or we could make him the third moon of Mars - Algore - along with Deimos and Phobos.
Dude, read (FReeper) Jeff Head's book where we harvest rocks in space and convert them into "Rods From God" against the hegemonistic Chinese. It's SO you.
....An asteroid strike.
If Algore really wanted to do something useful, he's promoting the wrong catastrophe.
After seeing FEMA in action before Katrina, we better get started now.
And that is a small one....
150 feet across will take out more than a city. Think about all of the volcanic ash for the last 25 years being tossed into the atmosphere within a millisecond. That would take the edge of global warming for a few months.
Get used to eating canned food. Nothing will grow for about year. A sunny day at the beach would be a memory for a few years.
Starving will take folks minds off Brittany though. So we got that going for us.
Daddy would have gotten us Uzis...
Better them than us...
Those odds are better than my picking the winner in any given football game on any given day. I think I'm about 0 fer 1000 over the last few years.
Not even close. Mining asteroids for steel to build pipelines for natural gas and water is my interest. Bombardment by arachnoids is somebody else’s pipedream.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.