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Asteroids Flyby — 2010 RF12 & 2010 RX30

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the duck-and-cover dept.

Space 118

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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that's right (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507810)

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

So, we should expect maybe Mini-Me?

Re:that's right (2, Insightful)

rachit (163465) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508696)

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

Re:that's right (2, Funny)

kaini (1435765) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508832)

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

Re:that's right (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509944)

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.

why not put something on there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33507822)

This isn't such an unusual event (it's just unusual that it's two in one night). It seems with asteroids zipping by fairly frequently, one should be able to do a lot of science on these: impactors, maybe stick a probe to them somehow, etc.

Is the problem that they are always being detected too late to do anything with them?

Re:why not put something on there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33507874)

I imagine they'll be moving so fast relative to us that attaching anything to them would be impossible.

Re:why not put something on there? (2, Informative)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507882)

"Is the problem that they are always being detected too late to do anything with them?"

It can be, if they either come from the direction of the sun, or from the galaxy center where there's a lot of bright stars and other things moving, it can be more difficult to spot them. But while they're zipping past the earth at high speed is probably not the best place to intercept them anyway, as you need to get up to the speed 'n direction that they're travelling, and that direction is going to be altered somewhat as they pass by the earth, chasing them slightly further out is more likely going to be a lot easier. If there was enough interest in it.

Re:why not put something on there? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507980)

This isn't such an unusual event (it's just unusual that it's two in one night). It seems with asteroids zipping by fairly frequently, one should be able to do a lot of science on these: impactors, maybe stick a probe to them somehow, etc.

Is the problem that they are always being detected too late to do anything with them?

What would you want to do with them?

-It's much too small for mining.
-I don't know if we want to waste a probe, or other measurement device on that (a probe would perhaps significantly affect the behavior of a rock that's only 6 meters long anyway, making the measurement useless).
-If we want to find out what it's made of, we can just blow it up with any regular old cannon (aim, fire!), and analyse the debris.

I say we wait for a bigger one.

Re:why not put something on there? (1)

bth (635955) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508688)

"What would you want to do with them?"

Tax them? Make them pay a toll?

Re:why not put something on there? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508796)

LOL
Good idea! Stupid that I hadn't thought of a way of making profit.

Silly me was thinking only of gathering knowledge and information, which is actually spending money, rather than earning it.

Re:why not put something on there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508846)

Here's what you can do:

1)Drop an RFID tag on the thing

2)Sell the rock on ebay to raise funds for NASA

3)????

4)Profit!

Re:why not put something on there? (1)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508102)

Most rocks that come this close to Earth are in orbits tied to Earth's and will come close again every few years. If we wanted to put a probe (or a manned lander) onto one of these, we could target one we've spotted before and arrange to intercept it on a future visit. There's no obvious incentive to visit one the moment we spot it.

Re:why not put something on there? (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508308)

The neat part, as stated in the article, was the fact that they were dectected a ways out and not last minute, like most of the rest that have gone whizzing by.

Ob (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507826)

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

Re:Ob (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508322)

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."

Re:Ob (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508758)

Never a safe prospect suggesting celestial mass when talking to a woman, much less trying to get lucky...

- Dan.

Bruce Willis (2, Interesting)

joe2tiger (1883232) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507838)

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:Bruce Willis (2, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507864)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507928)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508116)

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:Bruce Willis (2, Informative)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507948)

(Tiny Lister alone makes it worth watching.)

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

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507964)

::facepalm::

I'm so racist.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508058)

And knowing is half the battle...

Re:Bruce Willis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508390)

I'm curious how that was racist?

If you had confused Bruce Willis with Mickey Rourke would it still have been racist?

Re:Bruce Willis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508998)

::facepalm::

I'm so racist.

Yeah you are. I bet we all look alike to you. With our long legs, our long arms, our proportionally larger lips and facial features. I am personally offended, and demand an apology.

- a tall person

Re:Bruce Willis (2, Interesting)

ohcrapitssteve (1185821) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508024)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508468)

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 (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#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...

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507974)

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'

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508020)

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!)

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508068)

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

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508046)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508106)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508574)

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 was to catalog all the stupid shit in it.

It's also a lot easier to suspend belief when you're looking at x-wing fighters and death stars than when looking at space shuttles that you know all about.

Re:Bruce Willis (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508134)

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 the bomb? There's a dozen more accurate ways the ending could have played out that would have left the rest of the movie unchanged. Having the characters walk from one compartment of the ship to the other, when the exterior shots clearly show that they should have to climb ladders? Completely destroys the movie for me. At that point it's not about the story at all, it's just plain laziness on the part of everyone involved. It's not the inaccuracy that ruins the movie for me, it's the laziness.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508156)

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 science usually talk in a language that's incompatible with the language spoken by movie producers/crews. It takes a special effort, and a fantastic personality, to be able to clearly speak about nature, in a scientific way, to artsy folk.

Now, going back to realism: I'm pretty sure there are no movies out there that are mostly realistic. I was going to say "no popular movies" and "fully realistic", but I think that really pretty much any movie that's rentable on, say, Netflix, is not realistic in a major way, and Netflix does have some quite niche flicks. So if realism or its lack is something that bugs you, there's no way to enjoy any movie, short of, say an MIT lecture recording -- if that could be called a movie, that is.

Re:Bruce Willis (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508876)

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, your idea of "popular" and "Fully realistic" being impossible is "Total Crap"

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508626)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508782)

There was one shining message of truth though,

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

- Dan.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507876)

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?

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

BigT (70780) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508098)

Steve Buscemi, mostly.

Re:Bruce Willis (2, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508154)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508336)

Yes, he does reference it in the movie, doesn't make it look any less like riding a $.25 mall horse. :)

Re:Bruce Willis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33507880)

it's not that bad.

true, it's quite slow and not much really happens, but in the end, when he whispers something into here ear as they part ways... it's kinda sweet.

never understood the whole tokyo angle though.

Re:Bruce Willis (3, Funny)

Goboxer (1821502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507978)

SPOILER: Turns out he's a ghost. The earth is destroyed.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508618)

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). :-)

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507996)

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

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508432)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508820)

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.

Re:Bruce Willis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33509240)

Best asteroid thriller so far, server by Michael Bay - think Transformers, best popcorn ride of summer 98. And yep, Transformers films were also trashed by those critics, go figure..

Comet my ass... (3, Interesting)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Comet my ass... (1)

Darfeld (1147131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507930)

Yeah, right... And they get drunk too...

Re:Comet my ass... (1)

thorgil (455385) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507952)

Thats a cosmic string element right?
(Star trek reference)

Re:Comet my ass... (1)

thorgil (455385) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507960)

sorry... not element... filament

Re:Comet my ass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508070)

That's clearly a joke. Wonder why I^H someone would moderate that informative.

Re:Comet my ass... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508598)

That's clearly a joke. Wonder why I^H someone would moderate that informative.

You must be new here.

Re:Comet my ass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508916)

Aren't you familiar with ^H jokes? :P

Re:Comet my ass... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508342)

that photo only says something about the optics of cheap digital cameras

Re:Comet my ass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508884)

The trail isn't straight because of some issue with the telescope mount during the 120sec exposure.

Re:Comet my ass... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508914)

I'll alert the trailer parks to expect incoming anal probes tonight.

Re:Comet my ass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33509502)

Could, you know, be tumbling...

Its times like this (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507872)

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.

yes MR bond that's my plan if they don't pay up th (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507946)

yes MR bond that's my plan if they don't pay up there buildings will come down.

Re:Its times like this (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33507986)

I wish there was some way to direct these things.

Many would say the same about "Armageddon", but I digress, and the problems started long before and go way deeper than just directing.

Not so small ... (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508004)

Of course by the time it impacted it would be much smaller than 20 meters.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508066)

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.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508104)

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?

Re:Not so small ... (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508162)

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.

Re:Not so small ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33508306)

It would also depend on the composition of the object, initial velocity and angle of how it hit the atmosphere. I think those numbers above just came out of somebody's arse.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508334)

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 really bad day, had it hit in a big city -- so tgd was right, in a way.

It's very improbable that it would hit anywhere near a city, though.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508534)

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.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508976)

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 likely being ripped apart in the atmosphere, with the surface area increased, the transfer of energy will be increased.

Re:Not so small ... (3, Informative)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508110)

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.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508184)

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).

Re:Not so small ... (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508218)

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.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508350)

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

Re:Not so small ... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509562)

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 result is 419,000*3.0e16*12246 = 4.62e26 Joules.

Or about 1% of the energy that would result if you were to place the Earth directly in the path of the Moon. If it were made of iron that number would go up to about 3%.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508244)

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

Re:Not so small ... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508640)

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:Not so small ... (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509216)

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.

Re:Not so small ... (1)

prograde (1425683) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509222)

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.

Re:Not so small ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33509908)

No, a 20m rock wouldn't do much of anything [ic.ac.uk] :

Discovered just 3 days ago (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508082)

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.

We should still sling Bruce at it (3, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508122)

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:We should still sling Bruce at it (2, Funny)

bjackson1 (953136) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508246)

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

Re:We should still sling Bruce at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33509276)

+1 internets for the apropos Niven / Ringworld reference

Re:We should still sling Bruce at it (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508268)

I would rather have another "Live Free, Die Hard" then another Transformers, Twilight, or another M. Night Shyamalan movie.

Re:We should still sling Bruce at it (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509538)

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.

And in the sequel "Armagedon Again"... (1)

Wormfoud (1749176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508264)

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????

Re:And in the sequel "Armagedon Again"... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508506)

Adam and Eve? So the movie will contain nudity? :-)

Apparently Not Spacecraft (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508516)

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.

They'd be like nukes were they to hit (1)

dido (9125) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508568)

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] for the calculations). While they're no planet-killers, they could still cause some serious damage were they to smash into some populated region of the earth.

Re:They'd be like nukes were they to hit (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508722)

except that they're likely to expend that energy in the upper atmosphere, where they'll do little harm.

change course? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33508768)

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.

According to (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509106)

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????????

Mic'd Up (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509468)

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."

Moot point (1)

cherokee158 (701472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509700)

The big one already passed by harmlessly. The little one will likely do so in a few hours.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Two asteroids? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33509792)

Sounds like an alien attack to me. They're just closing in on the correct range.
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