Skip to comments.WEBCAST REPLAY: Near-Earth Asteroid 2000 EM26 and Other Space Rocks by Slooh
Posted on 02/18/2014 4:34:35 AM PST by Paul R.
...The huge asteroid (which is the size of three football fields) will pass at a safe 8.8 lunar distances from the Earth during its closest approach...
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
The funny thing is, if you replay the "Slooh" webcast*, the object was not "re-acquired", or in other words, apparently no one was able to relocate / re-spot it as it neared Earth. The commentator mentions that not knowing exactly where the asteroid is, is a bit spooky.
Further, according to the Wikipedia article, evidently this asteroid was last spotted in March of 2000. That means there have been almost 14 years for something, say, a hit by a 2' dia. rock, to slightly deflect it's orbit. A slight deflection is all that'd be needed. Now, I realize that the odds of a deflection into Earth are low, but, still, yeah... "spooky".
STILL a more entertaining show than SOTU.
Incidentally, about that “slight deflection” business:
One hears a lot about nuking an incoming asteroid as being a bad idea, as it then creates a lot of small pieces that cumulatively might do more damage than a single big hit. I think that might be debatable, esp. depending on the size of the pieces left, but there is a more important point. You don’t blast the thing while it is right on top of you, you blast it a couple weeks or more out. This puts almost all the pieces into trajectories that will miss the Earth / not get pulled into our gravity well. It does not take much (change in trajectory). Earth is really very small, and “2 weeks” in space / distance traveled is quite large.
Granted, this is harder to do than hitting the thing when it is a minute away, but it IS doable, even with present technology. The biggest problem is spotting the object in time.
If an asteroid is going to hit Earth I doubt there is much they will be able to do to stop it despite what Hollywood says. It may be the only time the whole planet finds religion at the same time...: )
Right, that’s why I put “near-miss” in quotation marks. :-)
It’s just “close” enough to be slightly uncomfortable that it was not re-acquired, and it was last tracked (apparently) in 2000 (according to Wikipedia, anyway.)
Do we have an ICBM that can escape orbit? Could we ready a large enough rocket that could within a couple of weeks?
See my post #4. IF we (or at present, the Russians) had a rocket ready to go, then I’d say we have to have the offending(!) asteroid accurately tracked at least a month B4 it impacts Earth. If it’s a “rogue” (not previously discovered, or its orbit has changed since the last time tracked), then, as this one last night demonstrated, finding and tracking ‘em is tough. It probably requires a space or moon-based observatory to properly do the job. Best in the long run might be an observatory on the Moon and another in (roughly) Venus’ orbit.
This one appears to cross our orbit twice every year.
Right now, I don’t think so. The Russians are closer, and after recent events, probably further into the planning stage. A big enough rocket continuously at the ready is difficult, but not impossible by any means.
Longer term, possibly the thing to do would be to resurrect the shuttle solid fuel boosters (reliable, current technology), to hoist the ICBM (reliable, current technology) into near orbit, then the ICBM goes on from there. Someone more knowledgeable should probably comment...
Even longer term, you launch from the Moon, possibly with magnetic catapult assistance...
“Do we have an ICBM that can escape orbit? Could we ready a large enough rocket that could within a couple of weeks?”
It’s probably doable but I doubt NASA could get it done.
They would never get through the internal bureaucracy and
they cant hit what they cant find. This would be best left
to the military or the private sector. Now days NASA’s prime directive is muslim outreach. The other concern is if it’s
trajectory is calculated to hit a red state the tards will
do everything in their power to let it happen.
Cool website, BTW. :-)
Yes, that’s the idea, although you want to do it when Earth is just a bright dot in the background. You actually could do it with simple mass, too, but (unless we are lucky with the trajectories to begin with), it takes a lot of energy to accelerate that mass to a velocity that gives it enough kinetic energy to do the job. Right now, our best way to deliver a lot of energy to an incoming object ~ 2 weeks away is with a nuke.
BTW, what’s the original date of that top image?
A couple more interesting (related) links:
(Some calculations and discussion)
Everybody always talks about hitting an incoming asteroid with a nuclear bomb to destroy it. Unless you did like in the movie, and actually landed on the object, drilled a deep hole in it, and planted your bomb, I don’t believe you could do anything.
A thermonuclear bomb has great blast effects on the Earth’s surface, because it has an atmosphere to compress and super-heat. In the vacuum of space, the only blast you would get would be from the vaporized bomb casing. You will get a hugh (!) flash of heat and a sh!tload of radiation, but neither of these are going to damage, or affect the trajectory of, a rock.
The only way you could change the path of an asteroid would be to land on it, mount a bunch of small (JATO) rockets on the surface, if it is solid enough, and nudge it into a different path. If it is the loose conglomeration of rocks they think an asteroid might be, you may have to throw a net around it, and take it in tow to move it.
I noticed on the projected orbit that it could pass close enough trailing to both venus and earth to acquire a few cm/s via gravity assist...maybe it just wasn't where they were looking. 10 days at 10cm/s is almost an earth diameter of positioning error...