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.....