Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×
Space Science

2010 AL30, Asteroid Or Space Junk, To Pay a Close Visit 136

astroengine writes "A near-Earth object that could be manmade has just been discovered hurtling toward us. On Wednesday (Jan. 13), an object called 2010 AL30 will fly by Earth at a distance of just 130,000 km (80,000 miles). That's only one-third of the way from here to the moon, i.e. very close. It will miss us, and if it did hit us, it wouldn't do any damage anyway, but I managed to pick up on some chatter between planetary scientists and found out that the 'asteroid,' or whatever it is, gives us a new standard: a 10-meter-wide asteroid can be detected two days before it potentially hits Earth. A pretty useful warning if you ask me."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

2010 AL30, Asteroid Or Space Junk, To Pay a Close Visit

Comments Filter:
  • Not an asteroid? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rhaban ( 987410 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @05:32AM (#30748662)

    Isn't a man-made space objet, like a satellite, much easier to detect than a piece of rock because it's all metally and shiny (except in the case of a secret orbtial space station with climate laser weapons used for the supremacy of an evil overlord ready to conquier the world, but it seems unlikely such a thing would just fall out of its orbit)?

    If so, it doesn't really tell us anything about detecting a earth-crushing meteor far before the impact.

  • Close encounters (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:27AM (#30749508) Homepage

    If you can trust extrapolating the orbit backwards in time (you can't), JPL's orbital tool [] shows that this object had a 'close encounter' with Venus on Apr 15th, 2006. It also looks suspiciously like an Earth-Mars trajectory launched around Jan 12th, 2007. I was unable to find any corresponding launches, however.

    Real Astronomers (TM) have now discounted the object being man-made, but it is interesting to speculate.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll