Email If Hollywood hasn't hammered this into you enough by now, here's one more reminder: A giant asteroid slamming into Earth is a bad thing. After all, how many dinosaurs have you heard reminiscing about the K-T boundary extinction event?
Among Earth's natural disasters-hurricanes, floods, earthquakes-the one humans probably ponder least is asteroids, huge objects zipping through our solar system at ludicrous speeds.
Federal officials call an asteroid or comet collision "low probability but high consequence," NASA-speak for it will probably never happen, but if it does we're toast. With that in mind, the U. The Trump administration now wants to enhance those efforts to detect and track potential planet killers, and to develop more capable means to deflect any that appear to be on a collision course.
If you're envisioning Bruce Willis or humming an Aerosmith song, please stop. More thanobjects larger than 40 meters feet wide orbit the sun as NEOs, according to NASA estimates, with many being difficult to detect more than a few days in advance.
Forty meters is about the average size an object must be to make it through the atmosphere without burning up; thousands of much-smaller meteors disintegrate harmlessly each day far above the planet. The meteor that injured more than 1, people in Chelyabinsk, Russia in Februarymainly by glass shattered from the shock wave of its explosion, was believed to be about 20 meters wide 65 feet.
The most recent encounter with an asteroid was on June 2, when a 2-meter boulder dubbed LA entered the atmosphere at 10 miles per second 38, mph and exploded over Botswana.
OK, now here's the good news: On Thursday alone, five massive asteroids zipped within 4. But NASA has its number. This growing catalog of potentially Armageddon-causing don't do it-the movie was terrible objects offers the world years of notice about when an orbit would intercept Earth, given the immense distances asteroids and comets travel through space.
For example, Bennu, a 1,foot wide carbon asteroid found in and which figures prominently in NASA's current deep-space research, has only a 1-in, chance of hitting Earth-and that's years from now. That's the size at which enormous regional impacts and mass casualties would occur if one hit.
How government agencies would prepare for such a calamity is a novelty to most. Now, more bad news: A chance remains that large comets from the outer solar system could suddenly appear and hit Earth with only a few months' warning.
There's also the potential for a surprise from deep space-an object whose orbit isn't bound by the sun-like the kind that showed up last October. That's when Oumuamua, a meter, cigar-shaped oddity, whizzed past the sun at almostmph. The intriguing object was the first known to have come from interstellar space, to which it is now returning.
So can we do anything? NASA has devised three strategies for potentially sparing Earth annihilation by asteroid, with each method's effectiveness determined by the size and composition of an asteroid and how much warning there is.
A direct hit with a spacecraft to produce even a miniscule nudge may be sufficient if the asteroid has millions of miles yet to travel before it strikes the planet. Attaching a spacecraft to an asteroid-what NASA dubs a "gravity tractor"-would alter its path because of the enlarged mass.
And landing on a NEO is well within science's current toolbox: The European Space Agency landed on a comet four years ago, and Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is nearing an asteroid called Ryuga this month. The downside-an asteroid can't be larger than meters wide or this technique won't work.
No, not like the movie. A nuclear explosion on a massive asteroid would superheat the surface and cause some of the mass to slough off, Johnson said on a call June 20 with reporters. A rocket could then theoretically push the asteroid to a different trajectory. This option, however, works only for a large body of which scientists have at least a decade's notice.
The goal is to impact the smaller "moonlet" of a binary asteroid called Didymos, to learn how well we may be able to alter the course of a future killer rock.
If successful, then mankind will know it has a viable option, if someday we see something headed our way. NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter.Feb 25, · NASA missions to Pluto and Ceres may force scientists to rethink their demotion of Pluto to "dwarf planet" in Meteorites, Meteors, and Meteoroids In space, drifting rocks smaller than an asteroid but larger than a molecule are called “meteoroids.” They are renamed “meteors” as they travel through Earth’s atmosphere, and “meteorites” if they hit the ground.
Ken does have a good point. The motivation of the invaders puts limits on the allowed invasion techniques. If the invaders want slaves, it is counterproductive to kill every living thing on the defending planet.
Asteroid impact avoidance comprises a number of methods by which near-Earth objects (NEO) could be diverted, preventing destructive impact events.A sufficiently large impact by an asteroid or other NEOs would cause, depending on its impact location, massive tsunamis, multiple firestorms and an impact winter caused by the sunlight-blocking effect of placing large quantities of pulverized rock.
Official Contact Report , Thursday, October 19, Billy: Well then, my question is this: your official details about the number of Jupiter's moons aren't right because they only correspond to a part of the truth.
To my knowledge, this giant planet has 17 larger moons and several smaller ones, as I learned from Ptaah during the Great Journey. Nuclear winter is the severe and prolonged global climatic cooling effect hypothesized to occur after widespread firestorms following a nuclear war.
The hypothesis is based on the fact that such fires can inject soot into the stratosphere, where it can block some direct sunlight from reaching the surface of the Earth.
It is speculated that the resulting cooling would lead to widespread crop.