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Earth Space Science

Asteroid 2011 AG5 Will Miss Earth In 2040 143

Posted by timothy
from the 2039-on-the-other-hand dept.
dryriver writes with a report from CNN that the asteroid known as 2011 AG5 will not hit Earth in 2040 as early calculations had led some to fear when it was first spotted last year. "To narrow down the asteroid's future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October. 'An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated,' NASA declared Friday."
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Asteroid 2011 AG5 Will Miss Earth In 2040

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  • Serious question: Would we want them to tell us if an asteroid were going to impact the earth with sufficient force to elimate the current dominant life form?
    • by icebike (68054) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:56PM (#42372499)

      It has a diameter of about 140 meters. Its not a planet killer.
      You watch too much TV. Nobody can keep a secret in this world. Not least of all, government officials.

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @09:27PM (#42372625)

        Yeah, it'd have a large local/regional impact, but not planet-wide. Estimates of the impact seem to hover around 100-150 megatons of TNT equivalent, which is 2-3 Tsar Bombas [wikipedia.org].

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If it lands in the same spot as the Tsar Bomba, it would damage things in Norway. IIRC, there were a few shattered windows in Norway from the Tsar Bomba. Nevermind that. The blew that thing up in a very remote area. If it hit London... wow, just wow. Not a global killer; but certainly a global game changer.

        • by cstacy (534252)

          Yeah, it'd have a large local/regional impact, but not planet-wide. Estimates of the impact seem to hover around 100-150 megatons of TNT equivalent, which is 2-3 Tsar Bombas [wikipedia.org].

          Meeza thinkin' if da asteroid iz like a bomba, it be doing plenty of kabloohee!

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          I don't see how you could say it wouldn't cause a planetwide problem when you look at how a single volcano created "the year without a summer' back in the 1800s. The problem wouldn't be the asteroid itself, it would be how much debris and dust it threw up that would screw up weather patterns.

          Now if it hit in the ocean, which considering two thirds of this planet is ocean? Then other than the tsunami it probably wouldn't cause too much damage, but if it hit on land? Then i could see this thing throwing e

        • by cusco (717999)
          If it landed anywhere near the India/Pakistan border the firestorms from the resulting exchange of nuclear weapons would probably do for most of our agriculture for the next couple of years.
    • I'd want to know so that I can post on /. one last time. *tear rolls down right eye*
    • by MtHuurne (602934)

      Yes, since even with current technology it might be feasible to avoid the collision if we know its trajectory decades in advance. For example, if a probe flies close to the asteroid, the gravitational pull of the probe will alter the path of the asteroid a tiny bit, but a tiny bit can be enough if it happens a long time before the asteroid gets too close to earth.

    • by tuxgeek (872962)

      Most people don't want to know, and some shouldn't even be told if the Earth was about to be obliterated by a comet or very large asteroid.
      But you can rest assured, sooner or later something will come at us and impact the planet. It's happened before, it'll happen again

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      What you are talking about is commonly called the "War Of The Worlds scenario" after the Orson Welles broadcast that caused such a major panic and I would say that even if NASA had a 100% certainty that it would hit they'd not tell the public until something had been done to stop it or it was nearly on top of us for precisely that reason.

      As K said to J in MIB 1 "A person is smart, people are dumb, dangerous panicky animals and you know it" and that is why you simply couldn't tell the populace about such a

  • Well....

    That all depends.

    I hear the North Koreans are planning to land thrusters on it and propel it into the imperial bourgeois West...

    • So Opportunity and Curiosity need to be on alert then? On a more serious note: theoretical physics, as little as I understand, leads me to believe by looking for them we are actively inviting them to hit us. Shouldn't we figure out how to stop them and worry about seeing them later? If we can't stop it I would contend there is no use in knowing it'll happen.
      • by icebike (68054)

        theoretical physics, as little as I understand, leads me to believe by looking for them we are actively inviting them to hit us.

        Its clear you understand little.

        But I'd be interested in how one sends an invitation to a 140 meter ball of rock.
        Will it RSVP?

    • by asm2750 (1124425)
      Actually, has anyone even tried calculating the amount of Delta V needed to move an object like an asteroid? It would be nice if we could park a few at a Lagrangian point and exploit it for space craft/colony building materials.

      Although, processing said raw materials into usable product is another story.
      • by bmo (77928)

        Yes, people have calculated it. Depending on how far out you are, it can be enough to paint the asteroid white.

        --
        BMO

        • That's to give a potential impactor enough delta-v to miss the planet.

          Both Frosty and asm2750's proposals require taking a non-impactor and giving it enough delta-v to hit Earth or go into HEO. That would likely require a lot more delta-v, and vastly more control, than the impact-avoidance scenarios.

          • by bmo (77928)

            But that's wrong.

            Delta v can be applied in any case with white paint for either capture or avoidance. It's all the same math.

            --
            BMO

            • The difference between an object hitting Earth and one that just barely misses might be a few tens of metres per second, if you catch it early enough. But the difference between the orbit of the best suitable asteroid and a successful impact (or capture) could be anything up to kilometres per second.

              Worse, any miss is a good miss. Whether it scrapes the atmosphere, or swings wide of the moon, it's all good. A hit, otoh, requires aching levels of accuracy. If a million states are called a "miss" but just one

              • by bmo (77928)

                Delta V is Delta V and whether it is applied with white paint, ion thrusters, chemical rockets, gravity, etc, makes no difference if the magnitude and direction is the correct amount for capture or mere avoidance.

                Your thinking is too narrow. You are hung up on whether the application is high-tech enough, when the technology doesn't matter except for cost.

                Seriously.

                --
                BMO

                • You are hung up on whether the application is high-tech enough,

                  [Sigh] Try reading what I actually wrote. Missing and hitting are not symmetrical situations.

                  • by bmo (77928)

                    >[Sigh] Try reading what I actually wrote

                    I did.

                    You are hung up on the technology when all this is really just a lot of math called "orbital mechanics" and whether you use the gravity well of Jupiter or the gloved hand of an astronaut giving a sufficient shove (because the further out you are, the less of a shove you need) makes not one bit of difference if the vector is correct.

                    Missing and hitting are all the same situations with the same math.

                    --
                    BMO

                    • No you clearly didn't. I explained how the two are not comparable. Twice. This is attempt three.

                      An object on a collision course with Earth may require only the slightest nudge to send it off-course enough to miss, a few tens of metres per second. Small amount of force.

                      But if you want to target something into Earth (or into a Lagrange capture), you are not starting with an asteroid that is in a convenient orbit that is just a few tens of metres per second away from a perfect intercept. Instead you will have

                    • by bmo (77928)

                      >you are not starting with an asteroid that is in a convenient orbit that is just a few tens of metres per second away from a perfect intercept.

                      Really?

                      REALLY?

                      This is the basis for your dispute with me? You rule out asteroids that may be convenient, and then say it's going to be difficult to delta-v something?

                      Go away.

                      --
                      BMO

                  • by bmo (77928)

                    Furthermore, I find your signature/tagline most ironic since you can't see that the math for missing and hitting is all the same except for the tolerances for the resulting answer. The algorithms are identical.

                    --
                    BMO

  • 2038 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It wouldn't matter. Time ends some time in 2038 when the 32 bit signed time value overflows.

    • by icebike (68054)

      If there was any wisdom the Mayans passed down to us, it was that clocks and calendars do not control time.

      But just in case, we are all switching to 64bit clocks.

    • I totally just heard about this the other day. Wonder if it'll blow by like nothing like y2k or actually have bad effects. From what I read the choices are watch everything die, convince closed source proprietary apps to restart development and switch to 64 bit, or force it to be unsigned and break many functions that add or subtract time. Is this right?
      • by aliquis (678370)

        I totally just heard about this the other day. Wonder if it'll blow by like nothing like y2k or actually have bad effects. From what I read the choices are watch everything die, convince closed source proprietary apps to restart development and switch to 64 bit, or force it to be unsigned and break many functions that add or subtract time. Is this right?

        Thankfully such things are being done by engineers and scientists and not politicians.

        If they was made by politicians they would wait until the last day to recognize it and start acting like they was really busy trying to solve it at 23:45 and then they would pass the deadline.

        • by aliquis (678370)

          Maybe pass is the wrong word to use?

          Maybe I should say fail instead. I mean go over the deadline.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @09:20PM (#42372587) Homepage Journal

    You know how much government and private sector money you could had got if you tried to do a "white lie" like saying that it could hit, and even could be a planet killer? Everyone would want to have a working colony in mars or self-sustaining orbital colonies by 2020, if not before. It could had been a lie for the greater good.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @09:40PM (#42372661)

    . . . only slightly used in 2012 . . .

  • What we really need is to find a nice largish asteroid (200 - 600 metres) that is going to make a close approach in 10 to 20 years, then hit a few years later. It would divert a lot of resources from the war on X and into space development. Bonus points if the delta V to capture it is achievable.
  • Why do we care? The end of the world was two days ago, and now we have ceased to be, I do not see the point of this post

    By the way, how was the end of the world for you? Did you have a nice weather?

    • By the way, how was the end of the world for you? Did you have a nice weather?

      Yes, the weather was fine, about the same as here in the much hyped afterlife which, IMO, seems highly overrated.

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        afterlife which, IMO, seems highly overrated.

        Very true. Death did not even release me from back pain. How disapointing!

  • Damn! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:02PM (#42372933)

    So just how long do we have to wait for this "doomsday" thing?

    I'm going to have to spend Christmas catching up on two months' chores that I've been skipping.

  • that's what they want you to think.

    They wouldn't want anyone getting wind of their TS/SAR plans for a giant rocket to get all the politicians and Wall St. Bankers off the planet in 2039.

  • Another Earth-ending apocalypse avoided! I am so disappointed.

It's a poor workman who blames his tools.

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