Skip to comments.Blast it or paint it: Deadly asteroid bounds towards Earth out of the blue
Posted on 03/03/2012 9:46:28 PM PST by LibWhacker
To avert a new apocalypse this time set for February 2013 scientists suggest confronting asteroid 2012 DA14 with either paint, or big guns. The tough part of either scheme is that time has long run out to build a spaceship for any operation.
NASA confirms the 60-meter (197-feet) asteroid, spotted by Spanish stargazers in February, has a good chance of colliding with Earth in eleven months.
The rock's closest approach to the planet is scheduled for February 15, 2013, when the distance between the planet and space wanderer will be under 27,000 km (16,700 miles). This is lower than the geosynchronous orbit kept by the Google Maps satellite.
Fireworks and watercolors
With the asteroid zooming that low, it will be too late to do anything with it besides trying to predict its final destination and the consequences of impact.
A spaceship is needed, experts agree. It could shoot the rock down or just crash into it, either breaking the asteroid into debris or throwing it off course.
We could paint it, says NASA expert David Dunham.
Paint would affect the asteroids ability to reflect sunlight, changing its temperature and altering its spin. The asteroid would stalk off its current course, but this could also make the boulder even more dangerous when it comes back in 2056, Aleksandr Devaytkin, the head of the observatory in Russias Pulkovo, told Izvestia.
Whatever the mission, building a spaceship to deal with 2012 DA14 will take two years at least.
The asteroid has proven a bitter discovery. It has been circling in orbit for three years already, crossing Earths path several times, says space analyst Sergey Naroenkov from the Russian Academy of Sciences. It seems that spotting danger from outer space is still the area where mere chance reigns, while asteroid defense systems exist only in drafts.
Still, prospects of meeting 2012 DA14 are not all doom and gloom.
The asteroid may split into pieces entering the atmosphere. In this case, most part of it will never reach the planets surface, remarks Dunham.
But if the entire asteroid is to crash into the planet, the impact will be as hard as in the Tunguska blast, which in 1908 knocked down trees over a total area of 2,150 sq km (830 sq miles) in Siberia. This is almost the size of Luxembourg. In todays case, the destination of the asteroid is yet to be determined.
Paint it, paint it, paint it, paint it black...
This time it’s the end, I perdict!
Neat. Fun stuff to keep an eye on.
It’s not hurtling toward Earth, it is simply orbiting Michele Obama
I hope it hits Mecca...
Comprehensive forecasts are still not possible.
Mecca would be an awesome target, another space rock for Muzzies to worship
Yea but the Mayans are gonna be pissed...
“Missed it by this much!”
To sum up:We’re making good progress on finding the big ones that could wipe out civilizations, but the smaller asteroids remain largely a mystery
Isn’t that more or less, Pravda?
It’s Obama’s real father on his way from Hell.
Oh good, something to look forward to.
I’m not exactly sure that a 1 out of 4,550 chance of a hit is a “good chance”.
Time to build a giant laser.
I'm not totally versed in reading these charts, BUT... that said as a disclaimer, I believe NASA is saying the "good" chance is defined as about 2 hundredths of 1% chance of hitting the Earth.
There’s something basically unreasonable about Bork Obunga telling NASA that their main focus in life needs to be helping muslims with their self esteem problems.....
Get Doctor Evil on the telephone!
Wormwood, I hope.
Put a Hall Effect ion engine on the thing and it’ll gradually change its orbit enough to miss us.
In other words the proposed solutions could easily make it more likely to hit Earth.
Of course, it’d be WW3 and we’d have to nuke every major Muzzie city on Earth too, maybe even Paris and London?? heh
Who cares? The world ends in December by the Myan calendar.
A rock this small would be easy to nuke. Wonder if the Russians have any 50 megatonners left?
Or if we ever built one of the gigatonners I read some speculations about a while ago...
Oops...my bad...they just want to paint it...they didn’t say what color.
--H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920
AGW blamed in 10, 9, 8, ....
Considering it’s not that big a rock, why not just retarget an ICBM “up”? This isn’t rocket sci...er...ehm..on second thought ;)
Seriously though, a couple megaton nuke could pretty much powderize that size a rock unless it was a chunk of iron. And I cannot believe that with modern targeting computers we would miss. It’s not like that thing will take evasive action.
And I cannot believe that with modern targeting computers we would miss. Its not like that thing will take evasive action.
* * *
That was my first thought too: use an ICBM. But how far up can one of those babies go? If it can’t reach very far, then you’re pulverizing the rock pretty close to Earth. Would that put a giant dust cloud into our atmosphere? Would that become another “Year Without Summer?” Or (I’m not a scientist, I just like science fiction! LOL!) could an exploding ICBM high in the atmosphere knock out electronics, etc.? Perhaps the ICBM scenario is not workable after all.
I wonder if we could guide into Iran?
That would be a Good Thing.. except all the Muslims not in Mecca would blame it on the Great Satan, and all hell would break loose.
But it could hi Oom in Iran and dig that hidden Imam out of that well, thus setting off Armegedden. 200 feet is a pretty big rock, but not in the Dinosaur Killer or "Nuclear Winter" category. That one was at least 2.5 miles wide, maybe bigger. So unless it comes down within a few miles of you, you'll likey not notice anything more than a big flash.. try not to be looking at it. It could still be equivalent to about a 100 Megaton blast. Could destroy a city the size of DC or Paris, with a 1.5 km crater. If it hits water, which it has about a 75% change of doing, a tsunami would result, which could be destructive over a much larger distance.
Has comrade obama blamed GWB for this yet?
We have plenty of rockets that can get large payloads into escape velocity. The Atlas V was used to get the 8900 lb Curiosity rover mission on its way to Mars. If it can get a 4 1/2 ton payload on its way to Mars, it can get a smaller payload to an asteroid.
That said, this looks like unscientific scaremongering from a questionable Russian website.
That was a stupid movie. I don’t even remember the name.
Oh crap, here comes a new Tax.
Just enough time to design a tsunami surfboard and hire a film crew.
Remember the space nuke tests of the 50s. And yes, A Sat5 type delivery system would be better to hit it further out. But as you say, none available.
An ICBM will achieve sufficient altitude to destroy the thing before impact and negate the vast majority of damage that an actual impact would cause. Plus they are available, deployable and pretty much ‘ready to go’.
No, not a perfect solution, but lacking that, what else ‘could’ we do in the available timeframe?
Is it red, now?
oh man, and I just took a shower too