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Asteroids Flyby — 2010 RF12 & 2010 RX30 118

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the duck-and-cover dept.
Ernesto Guido writes "Two small asteroids (2010 RF12 & 2010 RX30) will pass within the Moon's distance of Earth today, September 08, 2010." One is 6-14 meters and the other is 10-20, so even if they change course, don't expect Bruce Willis to be called in.
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Asteroids Flyby — 2010 RF12 & 2010 RX30

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  • so even if they change course, don't expect Bruce Willis to be called in.

    So, we should expect maybe Mini-Me?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rachit (163465)

      Er, if they change course, we'd be calling in Will Smith and order a couple MacBooks.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by kaini (1435765)
        Where on earth are we going to get a copy of MacOS 7.3 in 2010?
        • by Pharmboy (216950)

          Where on earth are we going to get a copy of MacOS 7.3 in 2010?

          By searching ThePirateBay.org [thepiratebay.org]. Assuming it is up. Actually, while searching I hit a "prove you are a human" page that wanted to install a *.exe file, so that might not be the best solution.

  • Ob (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @08:47AM (#33507826) Homepage Journal

    Is there any chance it will hi&^8@
    &/.'[#
    no carrier

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Even if there's no chance of being hit, you could always walk up to an eligible Person of the Appropriate Sex and say "Baby, let me help you enjoy yourself before you get hit by an asteroid."

      • by Hylandr (813770)
        Never a safe prospect suggesting celestial mass when talking to a woman, much less trying to get lucky...

        - Dan.
  • Bruce Willis (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joe2tiger (1883232)
    I never saw Armageddon when it came out and never bothered to rent it since. I heard so many bad things about that movie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      Purely from an entertainment perspective, it's fun and enjoyable (Tiny Lister alone makes it worth watching.) When you start focusing on scientific inaccuracy is when it starts to suck.

      If you're able to disconnect yourself from "reality" and just watch a movie, you are almost guaranteed to enjoy it. If you have trouble disconnecting yourself, you will likely hate it.

      • Hey, at least it's marginally more scientifically accurate than The Core. I know a guy who goes off on a 3 hour rant about each of the science problems in that movie if you bring it up, and the movie itself is only 2 1/4 hours long.

        • by Rasperin (1034758)
          Wait are you telling me that The Core isn't absolutely and completely scientifically accurate?!?!!?!?! Damn it and I was so close to finishing my own diamond encrusted earth cruiser.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dancindan84 (1056246)

        (Tiny Lister alone makes it worth watching.)

        By not being in it? It was Michael Clarke Duncan playing the gigantic black guy in Armageddon.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          ::facepalm::

          I'm so racist.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          He's probably thinking of Fifth Element, in which Tiny Lister plays the president of Earth. Essentially, some unnamed evil force, in the form of an asteroid that can make phone calls, is bent on destroying all life.

          I made that sound really silly but it's actually one of my favorite movies of all time.
          • The Fifth Element is infinitely better than Armageddon. I've seen Armageddon once, and I'll never get that hours back. If Jerry Bruckheimer or Michael Bay are anywhere near a given movie I don't bother.
            • Re:Bruce Willis (Score:5, Insightful)

              by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:19AM (#33508826)

              The Fifth Element is infinitely better than Armageddon. I've seen Armageddon once, and I'll never get that hours back. If Jerry Bruckheimer or Michael Bay are anywhere near a given movie I don't bother.

              Number one rule for any science fiction or fantasy story: Stick to the rules you define in your universe. Tell a story in that framework.

              It's essentially like following a DnD rulebook. We don't need to know how magic works in THAT universe by trying to explain it with the rules from OUR universe. Attempting to do so either removes the magic (bad) or doesn't make sense (handwaving).

              Star Wars worked when you didn't try to explain light sabers, the force, or much of their technology. The prequels and other mistakes fell into the trap of trying to explain it to us in terms of our own universe's rules:

              Miticlorians
              Kessel Run
              etc.

              Write a story, stick a dragon in it. Call it magic.

              Don't try to explain that the dragon eats a certain type of rock, and instead of burping stores the hydrogen gas inside of airbladders that make it buoyant in air. The problem isn't that you are wrong (it's your universe) but when you define yourself by OUR physical rules, it means that the characters in YOUR universe now have to conform to that set of rules.

              So why would that be a problem?

              We are VERY good at understanding our own universe's rules instinctively. Once defined as following our rules, we will wonder why your characters didn't just.... or why they haven't invented... and why did he try that when...

      • by natehoy (1608657)

        The movie would be greatly enhanced with commentary from a guy named "Joel" or "Mike" and two robots (one made up of a couple of sets of salad tongs and the other made from a gumball machine).

        Just sayin'

        • by AndrewNeo (979708)

          Or more modernly, from guys named Mike, Kevin, and Bill [rifftrax.com]

          (At first I was just going to say something about MST3K -> RiffTrax, but they actually did do Armageddon!)

          • by AndrewNeo (979708)

            (And apparently I need to pay more attention, because while being hosted on their site, that wasn't riffed by them)

      • by AndrewNeo (979708)

        If you're able to disconnect yourself from "reality" and just watch a movie, you are almost guaranteed to enjoy it. If you have trouble disconnecting yourself, you will likely hate it.

        I'm really glad I'm one of those people who can ignore a lack of scientific accuracy, unlike most of Slashdot it seems, and enjoy a movie for being a movie. It does bug me, but I can still enjoy the rest of it. Too many people can't seem to just enjoy themselves.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Oddly enough, the original Star Wars Trilogy is what taught me how to do that :) Sounds in space, laser guns that produce a visible (and short) beam, ships that can fly in and out of atmosphere with no change in design or function...the list goes on.

          • It depends on how bad the lack of science is and how bad the movie is. Star Wars was a really good story, with good characters, so you could ignore the endless lack of science, and besides, Star Wars have a large element of fantasy in it. (Until George Lucas made those other three shitty movies and turned the force into a blood disorder)

            Armageddon was so bad, even though it has some really good actors (Bruce Willis is in like 5 of my top 10 movies) that the only way to enjoy the movie and pass the time wa

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MozeeToby (1163751)

          Scientific inaccuracy doesn't bother me unless it has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Take the dreaded movie The Core as an example. Ship that can withstand the Earth's pressure? Sure, movie doesn't work without it. Laser that can drill through solid rock at many kilometers per hour? Again, necessary for the story. I can deal with that because you can't make the same movie without abandoning reality.

          On the other hand, boosting the power of your nuclear weapon by placing reactor fuel next to th

          • by Teancum (67324)

            The gold standard for scientific accuracy in a movie still is 2001: A Space Odyssey [wikipedia.org] Its sequel, 2010, had many more inaccurate aspects even though I thought it was a real fun movie too.

            While there are aspects to spaceflight that are exciting, something like most of what happens during an EVA is usually as boring as it can get and makes watching paint dry look exciting.

            I don't know if any prominent Hollywood director will ever take those kind of efforts to realistically portray science fiction in such a man

        • by tibit (1762298)

          Same here.

          I have a problem with the phrase "scientific accuracy", though. It's not "scientific" accuracy, it's realism. As in: does it match the reality, or not. Science is just a way of analyzing nature (reality), so "scientific accuracy" is a term that, perhaps, would apply to a movie about scientists and/or scientific process. So, in general, the movies are just that: unrealistic. The don't show our world and the nature in a true way. Perhaps the biggest impediment to that may be that people who know sci

          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I may be missing the point of the hyperbole but:
            "21" - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478087/
            "The Godfather" - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068646/
            "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031679/

            just to name a few of the good movies that have been made and are "realistic" - then there is "The Blair Witch Project" which, though annoying, boring, and a lot of other disrespectful phrases, none of which characterize the movie as "good", it was popular, and it was fully realistic.

            so, sorry, yo

      • Purely from an entertainment perspective, it's fun and enjoyable (Tiny Lister alone makes it worth watching.) When you start focusing on scientific inaccuracy is when it starts to suck.

        You don't need to focus much if the object in your field of view is the size of King Kong.

        Gatling cannon on a lunar rover. Fully loaded with ammunition as well.

        And that was the least scientifically inaccurate thing in the movie.

      • by Hylandr (813770)
        There was one shining message of truth though,

        Russian this, American that, all made in Taiwan!!

        - Dan.
    • Steve Buscemi rides a nuclear weapon like a $.25 mall horse on a Texas-sized asteroid about to hit the earth. What's not to like?
      • by BigT (70780)

        Steve Buscemi, mostly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by oodaloop (1229816)
        No, he rides it like Capt King Kong (played by Slim Pickens) rode a nuclear weapon like it was a horse in Dr. Strangelove. He even references Slim Pickens as he does it.
        • Yes, he does reference it in the movie, doesn't make it look any less like riding a $.25 mall horse. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Goboxer (1821502)
      SPOILER: Turns out he's a ghost. The earth is destroyed.
      • Obviously you missed the real end (you know, the one they show after all the names passed, and the projector was switched off for five minutes). :-)

    • by tgd (2822)

      And I'm sure a hundred thousand Slashdotters were curious about that...

    • by arivanov (12034)

      Something probably hit the producers that year and there were 3 movies with similar topics. Out of them only Deep Impact is more or less worth watching on all accounts.
      It is tolerable in terms of scientific accuracy, it is also reasonably good in terms of acting, directing, cast and special effects.

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      Go ahead and watch it, Its an entertaining movie. Its ridiculous, but entertaining.

      I did much of my graduate work on asteroid deflection, and do spacecraft navigation for a living, so I know better than most the lack of realism -- but who cares, its entertaining.

      The only complaint I have is that it keeps the nuking an asteroid thing, a wildly dangerous and unproductive thing to do in almost all cases, in the public conciouslness. But you can't blame the movie for that.

  • Comet my ass... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @08:51AM (#33507858)

    If you look at this picture from the site you'll see the trail isn't straight.

    http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w189/walcom77/2010_RF12_120sec.jpg [photobucket.com]

    This is a UFO. Finally, proof.

  • that I wish there was some way to direct these things. There's some buildings I know of that need some renovation, if you know what I mean.

  • Not so small ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgd (2822) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:08AM (#33507982)

    A 20 meter asteroid is not all that small ... if it actually hit the earth, it could potentially make a few million people have a really bad day.

    • by xednieht (1117791)
      Of course by the time it impacted it would be much smaller than 20 meters.
      • I did a simulation on that a few years back. Just subtract about 4 meters due to ablation, that's what you'll have left if it hits.
        • by thijsh (910751)
          Ah great, I always wondered what the rule of thumb would roughly be... but is that 4 meters around? So a 20 meter asteroid would be 12 meter crashing down in flames, correct?
        • I did a simulation on that a few years back. Just subtract about 4 meters due to ablation, that's what you'll have left if it hits.

          I find it hard to believe that a flat number such as that you gave is accurate for all possible strikes. Is 4 meters the maximum ablation amount? The minimum amount? Or is it the average amount for a spherical asteroid with a diameter of 20 meters?

          And no I'm not trying to be a dick, I'm just honestly curious about the details.

        • by tibit (1762298)

          Well, let's see. ~16 meters in diameter at density of iron 7.9gm/cm^3 gives mass of ~260e3 kg. At 30km/s relative velocity, that's 10^14J of kinetic energy, that's about 24 kilotons worth. So we're looking at the equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb.

          Let's check the dissipation, though. The mass difference to go from 20m diameter to 16m diameter is 66e3 kg. To melt (ablate) all that iron off, you need 6.6*10^9 J. So that's tiny compared to 10^14J.

          So yes, it would in fact cause a few million people to have a real

          • by tibman (623933)

            It's very improbable that it would hit anywhere near a city, though.
            Is that one of those "The odds are low but the chances are high" type things? haha.

            • by tibit (1762298)

              No, it's just a matter of seeing how large the "large enough" cities are (say 200k+ residents), in terms of combined surface area, and comparing this to the lowball-spherical-approximate surface area of Earth.

              I am of course ignoring that asteroids may be coming from a preferred direction w.r.t. to Earth's orbital plane, and that may cause some of them to bounce off the atmosphere. That'd be a small fraction of big-enough objects, I'd think.

        • I did a simulation on that a few years back. Just subtract about 4 meters due to ablation, that's what you'll have left if it hits.

          That's a wildly simplistic assumption. Are you assuming that it will remove 4 meters from the radius(diamter)? Or an amount of mass equivalent to reducing a spherical asteroid by 4 meters?

          Is it a rocky asteroid? Metallic? Aggregate?

          A perfectly uniform sphere of sand might behave like a perfectly uniform metallic asteroid, but any abberations from perfect will result in it li

    • Re:Not so small ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:21AM (#33508110) Homepage
      It all depends on the composition of the asteroid. If it is more dense (like iron), it may make a lot of damage or create a small tsunami, since it wont disintegrate or explode before impact. If it is less dense (ice/rock), it should partly disintegrate or explode high in the atmosphere.

      Yes, there would be damage, like the Tunguska event [wikipedia.org] in which estimates give it "a few tens of meters across", but the uninhabited area of the world is a lot larger than the inhabited area, so most chances are there would be few casualties, except if it explodes directly over a large city.
    • by tibit (1762298)

      LOL no. If it'd impact into a mid-sized city, say of a million, smack into the downtown, it'd take a few buildings out 9/11 style, damage many others, but that would be it. Hardly a million people would be affected. Wait no, I take that back. The secondary effects of governmental bureaucracy and overreaction would certainly affect more than a few million, at least in some countries. Unless it'd hit somewhere relaxed like in South America (I'm serious, I love their attitude to living a life).

      • Take the mass of a 20 meter asteroid times 312.854x10^6 meters per second squared all divided by 2.

        It looks like to me it'd vaporize a city like NY.

        • by tibit (1762298)

          Why 300km/s? I thought it'd be an order of magnitude less?

        • Oh, with that speed it might do a bit more than that.
          (You probably just got your numbers off a bit, but I thought it would be a bit of fun with a 'what if')

          To avoid dealing with imaginary numbers, I'll reduce it's speed so it is 1 m/s LESS than 300 x 10^6. (in this case, I'll approximate c to 3.0e8 m/s) 20 meters in diameter. 4/3*3.14*100 = 419 m^3 or 419,000,000 cm^3 assume it's not very dense, maybe at water so 1g/cm3 so it will weigh in at 419,000kg

          The lorentz factor is approximately 12246

          So the re

      • by tibit (1762298)

        OK, obviously I can't get my orders of magnitude right, the above is total BS. See below.

    • A 20 meter asteroid is not all that small ... if it actually hit the earth, it could potentially make a few million people have a really bad day.

      The worst effects I could generate using the asteroid impact calculator, the equivalent yield was around a megaton. Nasty for sure - but the only way it make a 'few million people have a really bad day' would be for it to hit a densely populated urban core. (Which cover so little of the Earth's surface that they're lost in the noise.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      It wouldn't even hit the ground. As TFA says, it would burn up in the atmosphere. And if it were bigger, large enough to be 20 yards wide when it hit, chances are it would hit the ocean (most of the world is ocean) and wouldn't even produce a small tsunami.

      A 20 meter astreoid IS small.

    • by prograde (1425683)

      Not small, but also not uncommon. According to NASA JPL: [nasa.gov]

      Although neither of these object has a chance of hitting Earth, a ten meter-sized near-Earth asteroid from the undiscovered population of about 50 million would be expected to pass almost daily within a lunar distance, and one might strike Earth's atmosphere about every ten years on average.

      ...so this happens pretty much every day. This time, however, we know about it.

    • by mdielmann (514750)

      Yes, but the odds of it affecting a million people are vanishingly small, and the odds of it affecting me are even smaller. If I have any sleepless nights, it won't be because of these asteroids.

    • by colbaz (555331)
      I used to bull's eye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They're not much bigger than 20 meters.
  • So you know how much time in advance you will get if something really coming this way next time. Much bigger and problematic ones probably would be easier to spot and predict with more time, but still is pretty scary.

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:22AM (#33508122) Homepage

    Just to be sure something like "Live Free, Die Hard" doesn't happen again.

    In fact, I'm a big fan of slinging stars after asteroids. We could do it in the same style as throwing a perfectly good virgin in to a volcano, but with less loss of anything worthwhile.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bjackson1 (953136)

      We're going to have to call in the Puppeteers if we want to move something as massive as Bruce Willis.

    • by dunezone (899268)
      I would rather have another "Live Free, Die Hard" then another Transformers, Twilight, or another M. Night Shyamalan movie.
    • by PPH (736903)

      Yeah, but then you might not get another 12 Monkeys [imdb.com]. Although Brad Pitt's performance is at least as good a reason to watch this as Willis.

  • In the sequel, the team travels back in time to pickup Bruce Willis (before he dies) and then goes back 2 billion years to alter the proto-moon's trajectory with an atomic sledge hammer so that the Earth's orbit gets changed just enough that it is no longer in the way of the next on-coming asteroid. However, the time machine is damaged and crashes on the Earth leaving Bruce and his lovely co-star to become the human race's Adam and Eve. And you are worried about technical accuracy????
  • With new observations, updated orbits show that the last time these objects got close to Earth was September 9, 1915, so these are apparently natural bodies, not "lost" interplanetary junk.

  • Assuming the smaller asteroid is 6m in diameter and made of somewhat dense rock and moving at 17 km/s (typical for asteroids), the impact would have an explosive yield of approximately 12 kilotons, just a little less than the yield of the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The bigger one, assuming it to be 20m in diameter and also made of dense rock and moving at 17 km/s would have an explosive yield of 434 kilotons, roughly equivalent to a warhead of a modern Minuteman or Trident missile (see this site [arizona.edu]

    • except that they're likely to expend that energy in the upper atmosphere, where they'll do little harm.
    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)
      Anything that small will burn up on entry. Anything a bit bigger (around 30-50m) will burn up some, and then airburst far above the ground so still no one will notice it. Regional devastation starts to happen when you get up above 100 or 200 meters. The prime example of this is 99942 Apophis, which at ~300 meters would make a life miserable for a large region, but still wouldn't be world-ending.
  • so even if they change course, don't expect Bruce Willis to be called in.

    1. it's too late for Bruce Willis to save us...
    2. Change course? If they do change course then we've got more to worry about that a couple of 10m dia rocks.
  • TheRealNimoy

    Hey !! 44th anniversary of the debut of Star Trek.Thanks for all the great comments. And Happy New Year to those who celbrate today. LLAP

    Coincidence????????

  • 2010 RF12: "It just happened, RX30. It... "

    2010 RX30: "Sure, sure, I know... it just happened. Coulda happened to anybody. It was an accident, right? You tripped, slipped on the floor and accidentally stuck your dick in my wife."
  • The big one already passed by harmlessly. The little one will likely do so in a few hours.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Sounds like an alien attack to me. They're just closing in on the correct range.
  • Could we at least have one of the Bridges?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wish one of these things (if they were solid metal/rock asteroids) would have airburst a few miles out to sea off of major city, like New York, blowing out every window in the city and scaring the crap out of people. That's about the only thing that will wake the idiot populace to the fact that these things present a real threat (besides an actual hit of course), like earthquakes/tsunamis/hurricanes/tornados. I'm not saying we should bankrupt ourselves on a threat with this level of probability. But it

  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @06:13PM (#33515096) Journal

    The current cumulative impact probability of all objects tracked by SENTRY now exceeds 1.5% for the next 100 years. This is from ~300 known bodies with non-zero impact probability. They estimate that they've discovered 10% of such potential planetary post hole diggers.

  • One is 6-14 meters and the other is 10-20, so even if they change course, don't expect Bruce Willis to be called in.

    If they changed course significantly in the time between (say) this press release and their closest approach, then it is time to be calling Bruce Willis.
    For them to garner an appreciable course change on that timescale, then they've got to pass relatively close to something pretty big. CORRECTION : something pretty massive, not necessarily something particularly big. And more importantly, it's

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