Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Asteroid With Chance of Hitting Earth in 2029 Now Being Watched 'Very Carefully' (1 in 43 odds)
http://www.space.com ^ | Update, Dec. 25, 9:47 p.m. ET | Robert Roy Britt

Posted on 12/26/2004 8:33:58 PM PST by shadowman99


Original story below

Update, Dec. 25, 9:47 p.m. ET: The risk of an impact by asteroid 2004 MN4 went up slightly on Saturday, Dec. 25. It is now pegged at having a 1-in -45 chance of striking the planet on April 13, 2029. That's up from 1-in-63 late on Dec. 24, and 1-in-300 early on Dec. 24.

Astronomers still stress that it is very likely the risk will be reduced to zero with further observations. And even as it stands with present knowledge, the chances are 97.8 percent the rock will miss Earth.


Update, Dec. 24, 10:19 p.m. ET: An asteroid that has a small chance of hitting Earth in the year 2029 was upgraded to an unprecedented level of risk Friday, Dec. 24. Scientists still stress, however, that further observations will likely show the space rock won't be on a collision course with the planet.

The risk rating for asteroid 2004 MN4 was raised Friday by NASA and a separate group of researchers in Italy.

The asteroid's risk rating a possible impact scenario on April 13, 2029 has now been categorized as a 4 on the Torino Scale. The level 4 rating -- never before issued -- is reserved for "events meriting concern."

The Dec. 24 update from NASA stated:

"2004 MN4 is now being tracked very carefully by many astronomers around the world, and we continue to update our risk analysis for this object. Today's impact monitoring results indicate that the impact probability for April 13, 2029 has risen to about 1.6 percent, which for an object of this size corresponds to a rating of 4 on the ten-point Torino Scale. Nevertheless, the odds against impact are still high, about 60-to-1, meaning that there is a better than 98 percent chance that new data in the coming days, weeks, and months will rule out any possibility of impact in 2029."

With a half-dozen or so other asteroid discoveries dating back to 1997, scientists had announced long odds of an impact -- generating frightening headlines in some cases -- only to announce within hours or days that the impact chances had been reduced to zero by further observations. Experts have said repeatedly that they are concerned about alarming the public before enough data is gathered to project an asteroid's path accurately.

Asteroid 2004 MN4 is an unusual case in that follow-up observations have caused the risk assessment to climb -- from Torino level 2 to 4 -- rather than fall.


An edited version of the 2004 MN4 story originally posted on SPACE.com at 9:58 a.m. ET on Dec. 24:

Scientists said Thursday that a recently discovered asteroid has a chance of hitting Earth in the year 2029, but that further observations would likely rule out the impact scenario.

The asteroid is named 2004 MN4. It was discovered in June and spotted again this month. It is about a quarter mile (400 meters) wide.

That's bigger than the space rock that carved meteor crater in Arizona, and bigger than one that exploded in the air above Siberia in 1908, flattening thousands of square miles of forest. If an asteroid the size of 2004 MN4 hit the Earth, it would do considerable localized or regional damage. It would not cause damage on a global scale.

Scientists stressed, however, that the rock would likely miss the planet.

A statement was released by NASA asteroid experts Don Yeomans, Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas.

"The odds of impact, presently around 1-in-300, are unusual enough to merit special monitoring by astronomers, but should not be of public concern," the scientists said. "These odds are likely to change on a day-to-day basis as new data are received. In all likelihood, the possibility of impact will eventually be eliminated as the asteroid continues to be tracked by astronomers around the world."

The scientists project an asteroid's future travels based on observations of its current orbit around the Sun. On computer models, the future orbits are not lines but rather windows of possibility. The orbit projections for 2004 MN4 on April 13, 2029 cover a wide swath of space that includes the location where Earth will be. Additional observations will allow refined orbit forecasts -- more like a line instead of a window.

The asteroid will be easily observable in coming months, so scientists expect to figure out its path.

Most asteroids circle the Sun in a belt between Mars and Jupiter. But some get gravitationally booted toward the inner solar system.

The 323-day orbit of 2004 MN4 lies mostly within the orbit of Earth. The asteroid approaches the Sun almost as close as the orbit of Venus. It crosses near the Earth's orbit twice on each of its passages about the Sun.

2004 MN4 was discovered on June 19 by Roy Tucker, David Tholen and Fabrizio Bernardi of the NASA-funded University of Hawaii Asteroid Survey. It was rediscovered on Dec. 18 from Australia by Gordon Garradd of the Siding Spring Survey. More than three dozen observations have been made, with more expected to roll in from other observatories this week.

It has been a busy stretch for asteroid scientists. Earlier this week, researchers announced that a small space rock had zoomed past Earth closer than the orbits of some satellites.


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: 2029; artbell; asteroid; theskyisfalling
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 101-117 next last
To: shadowman99
Nevertheless, the odds against impact are still high, about 60-to-1, meaning that there is a better than 98 percent chance that new data in the coming days, weeks, and months will rule out any possibility of impact in 2029."

Uhh ... these aren't lottery odds, Folks. This is more like the odds against winning a Big Mac at McDonalds when you scratch the silver paint off your french fry box.

21 posted on 12/26/2004 8:57:45 PM PST by gitmo (Thanks, Mel. I needed that.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Duchess47

I wonder if the odds makers in Vegas realize yet that in the year 2029, April the 13th falls on a Friday......


22 posted on 12/26/2004 8:59:04 PM PST by dumpdaschle (Demand that French imperialists leave the Ivory Coast.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99; Chieftain

Thanks for the post. Just in time! I was gong to start a diet and working out at the gym this week. Now I can forget that.Whew! What a close call.


23 posted on 12/26/2004 8:59:08 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie (Move the UN to Paris...NOW!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ExSoldier
Love Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall and The Mote in God's Eye.
24 posted on 12/26/2004 8:59:20 PM PST by Tawiskaro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Lokibob

The DUers must be happy, the asterois will know they supported Kyoto and won't squish them. Man, the laugh will be on us then, huh?


25 posted on 12/26/2004 9:02:26 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (Meeting lunacy with lunacy since 1965.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99
"...possible impact scenario on April 13, 2029...

Look on the bright side - you won't have to do your taxes that year!

26 posted on 12/26/2004 9:03:18 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (A Freep a day keeps the liberals away.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

These odds estimates are based on a Monte Carlo probabilities, where several variables are each part of the matrix.

If they ran 45,000 different scenarios for gravity, sun spot effect, solar wind effect, celestial bodies gravitational effects, the asteroid density, etc. they are saying that 1000 of them are coming up with Earth impacts in 2029.


27 posted on 12/26/2004 9:05:39 PM PST by HighWheeler ("The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99

It must be that time of the year where Congress discusses NASA's budget. Seems to be a pattern.


28 posted on 12/26/2004 9:07:30 PM PST by taxesareforever
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99
xperts have said repeatedly that they are concerned about alarming the public before enough data is gathered to project an asteroid's path accurately.

Why do they treat us like babies? We can take 9/11 We can handle Falluja We can deal with this too.

29 posted on 12/26/2004 9:07:56 PM PST by konaice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dumpdaschle

Oh boy, they're probably figuring odds even now.


30 posted on 12/26/2004 9:08:52 PM PST by Duchess47 ("One day I will leave this world and dream myself to Reality" Crazy Horse)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: ExSoldier

Lucifer's Hammer.

Great book, great read. Anyone who hasn't read it should pick it up.

Regards,


31 posted on 12/26/2004 9:09:52 PM PST by VermiciousKnid
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99

No problem for those of us who will be raptured.


32 posted on 12/26/2004 9:10:56 PM PST by fish hawk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99

one "wormwood" asteroid....

coming up.


33 posted on 12/26/2004 9:12:57 PM PST by Robert_Paulson2 ("allahu akhbar..." the call to murder?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bayourod

> space based laser

Lasers won't do squat. To move an asteroid you need nukes... either nuclear explosives or nuclear rocket engines. Bombs would be easier... we've got loads of 'em. If'n we could make the General Atomics "Casaba Howitzer" design of nuke, we'd *really* be in business here.

In any event, much as I'm a fan of the Rutans of the space world, this is the sort of thing that would require a Gubmint Mega Project. Build a whole armada of heavy lift launvh vehicles in the Saturn V class, launch a few hundred citybusters and a (probably manned) control system, and you'll be in business. Since I work for the company that makes the Shuttle boosters, I know what I'm going to be arguing for come the new year...


34 posted on 12/26/2004 9:13:40 PM PST by orionblamblam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99

Dang. I have major plans for 2029. If true, this is very irritating.


35 posted on 12/26/2004 9:22:59 PM PST by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Time to let slip the dogs...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shadowman99

one in forty-five chance of hitting us? That's not fair!


36 posted on 12/26/2004 9:23:27 PM PST by Baraonda (Demographic is destiny. Don't hire 3rd world illegal aliens nor support businesses that hire them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ExSoldier
I did and I loved it!!!

I still think that ranch up in the Sierra Foothills was John Garamendi's ranch. (CA's current Insurance Commissioner that is dying to be governor ever since Jerry Brown had it)

37 posted on 12/26/2004 9:25:58 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophist sophistication...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: HighWheeler
. . . they are saying that 1000 of them are coming up with Earth impacts in 2029.

The Monte Carlo simulation by JPL's Sentry System has the probability at 30% right now for this one asteroid based on 44 "potential impacts" between 2029 and 2092. I'm surprised the fear-mongering press didn't pick up on this number. MUCH more impressive than 1 in 45.

38 posted on 12/26/2004 9:26:42 PM PST by LibWhacker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: orionblamblam

The "good" news is that this puppy passes close to the earth multiple times ... close enough for us to reach it with current tech. If needed we should be able to get a nuke payload to it many years ahead of impact, with plenty of time to position the warheads and blow them at precise the right moment in order to adjust its orbit just enough to miss us. The object is not to try and destroy it ... but, rather, to change its orbit by a fraction of a percent. If done early enough, that should keep it from hitting us.

Anyone ever read Thunderstrike? Good SF book. In that book a huge comet which would have hit the Earth was slowed up by maneuvering smaller rocks (asteroids) into it's path with shaped atomic charges. The impact of these asteroids with the comet caused it to slow by several dozen minutes and, thus, it hit the moon instead of the earth.


39 posted on 12/26/2004 9:28:02 PM PST by TexasGreg ("Democrats Piss Me Off")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: ExSoldier

Larry Niven Bump


40 posted on 12/26/2004 9:30:35 PM PST by tort_feasor (FreeRepublic.com - Tommorrow's News, Today)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 101-117 next last

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.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson