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Asteroid Will Make Close Pass To Earth

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the skin-of-your-teeth dept.

Space 119

The Bad Astronomer writes "News is starting to spread about a small 45-meter-wide asteroid called 2012 DA14 that will make a close pass to Earth on February 15, 2013. However, some of these articles are claiming it has 'a good chance' of impacting the Earth. This is simply incorrect; the odds of an impact next year are essentially zero. Farther in the future the odds are unclear; another near pass may occur in 2020, but right now the uncertainties in the asteroid's orbit are too large to know much about that. More observations of DA14 are being made, and we should have better information about future encounters soon."

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Good riddance (0, Flamebait)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242083)

Humanity has had it's chance in expanding outside of this little rock, and we blew it.

Re:Good riddance (-1, Troll)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242093)

If only we'd have used Gamemaker...

Re:Good riddance (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242121)

LOLOLOLOL!!!

Re:Good riddance (1, Insightful)

EchoRomeo (2582713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242133)

I don't see how that applies to this.

Re:Good riddance (5, Insightful)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242191)

Not this time, the article says it is expected to pass between us and Geostationary orbit. Even if it does impact intact, the worst the damage could be would be comparable to the Tunguska event.

Depending on location, it could be very bad, but not an extinction event. You are right though, if it was bigger, we would be screwed. Not even Bruce Willis could save us with one year notice.

If it does hit, maybe it will convince those with the cash that asteroid defense is a worthwhile expense.

Re:Good riddance (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242303)

If it does hit, maybe it will convince those with the cash that asteroid defense is a worthwhile expense.

But it isn't. The chance of anything important being hit is almost nil, while defending from asteroids is extremely expensive. It just isn't cost-effective.

Cost effective?!? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242381)

If it does hit, maybe it will convince those with the cash that asteroid defense is a worthwhile expense.

But it isn't. The chance of anything important being hit is almost nil, while defending from asteroids is extremely expensive. It just isn't cost-effective.

Just look at our wars on "Terror" and "Drugs". Do you honestly think cost effectiveness is ever considered?

Now defending from asteroids won't be politically feasible until we actually get hit by one - when people can actually see it and experience the impact, death and destruction. Some millions of years old crater in a desert is nothing.

Re:Cost effective?!? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246433)

War on Terror is happening for completely different reason. War on Drugs is fictional, there is no way, there is only lame attempts of making impression that the war is happening.

War on drugs would be real if American drones would be regularly whacking nacrobarons.

Re:Good riddance (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242383)

Since when is a rocket with a nuke more expensive than the global civilization that we have?

Re:Good riddance (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242641)

Trouble is, a single rocket with a single nuke isn't likely enough to fix a civilization-destroying rock.

Also, given the choice between practically any expenditure and world civilization, of course it's worthwhile. But by the time we get that choice, it's too late to do anything. At the moment, it's something like "building and maintaining a rocket with a nuke" for "1 in a million annual risk to global civilization".-- you can't just say that such a rock is eventually inevitable, because asteroid defense isn't something you buy once and put on the shelf in addition to the upkeep and periodic replacement of weapons, there's the cost of a concerted monitoring program to detect a threat early enough and with an accurate enough orbital solution that the gentle tap of a nuke will eliminate the risk.

It's not easy to come up with actual numbers, but once you factor in the possibility (IMO likelihood) that civilization may well end long before such an impact, it would not be entirely surprising to find that it's actually economically saner to hope for the best than to make preparations.

(It's analogous to a civilian in low-crime areas considering the purchasing and wearing Type III body armor -- the cost, discomfort, and hassle of wearing it for a day is certainly less expensive than dying from a rifle shot, but the odds of ever encountering such a situation are so low it's not worthwhile.)

Re:Good riddance (3, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243097)

The last 6 mile diameter/civilization-destroying-sized thing was 65 million years ago. we won't be human in 65 million years, we could as well be animal or rodent by that time. Clearly we should spend $0 on the problem. As for city-destroying-sized things, odds are any will just land in uninhabited area. If a city does get hit, well, sucks to be them.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245211)

And the next one could be a new comet heading in that we haven't detected yet that hits us in a decade or two.

Re:Good riddance (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242703)

I suspect you like watching things blow up, but that's not really the wisest choice here. Much better would be an impactor with very high mass - perhaps a depleted uranium core - and low relative velocity: slow enough to contact the asteroid without shattering it and massive enough to nudge its trajectory and keep nudging it for a while. Post-contact booster rockets might help further. It's not something you launch in the eleventh hour, though.

Re:Good riddance (2)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243831)

Anything that massive would suck all countries GDP for the next 100 years to get into orbit.

Re:Good riddance (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245709)

Touching/Landing on asteroids is difficult because they have very complicated structures and rotations. The best way to deflect an asteroid is not by nukes or what you suggest, but by spraying it white (solar radiation pressure) or parking a mass (e.g. 1t) with a ion drive next to it.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-deflect-asteroid.html [physorg.com]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid-impact_avoidance#Collision_avoidance_strategies [wikipedia.org]

Re:Good riddance (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249235)

In my defense I mentioned your second choice. I don't think I'd want the job for the first one... Bruce Willis as an industrial painter in a space suit?

Re:Good riddance (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242735)

It doesn't just need to be a rocket, it needs to be a really big rocket. To deflect something potentially civilisation-destroying, you want to do it as early as possible. Inside lunar orbit is much too late. That means that you need to get a rocket out to it, and then match velocities (just ramming it won't be enough) and deliver the explosive to a sensible location. Ideally, you want to attach to the side and push it, rather than try to blow it up. We're talking something that would make the Apollo rockets look small...

Re:Good riddance (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246801)

Since the elite only need about 8% max of the population? lets face it the thing nobody wants to mention is for the first time in history technology has pretty much made most peasants completely worthless. With robots and automation you can have entire factories run by just a couple of low skilled button pushers and even in the tech sector you are seeing the rise of smart servers and other gear that simply tells some monkey when to replace a failing part so the billions of peasants you have now simply are no longer required. When your average IQ is 101 and the jobs that can provide more than a "living on a couch" wage require a 140 IQ you are playing a game of musical chairs with more and more unable to find a seat.

Hell I'd argue a good 30%-40% of the jobs in the USA are "make work" that if it weren't for government subsidies wouldn't exist. Take Walmart and McDonald's for examples, Walmart gives a training video on how to apply for food stamps because without government subsidies nobody could live on what they pay. Don't think that if forced to pay a living wage they wouldn't replace many of them with machines? Self checkouts and robotic stockers could get rid of a bunch of them. And what about fast food? Do you think that those jobs couldn't be trivially done by an automated assembly line? Not exactly hard to imagine simply pressing a few buttons on a screen and having an assembly line "build" the order and drop it out a slot.

So as long as they had a nice well stocked hole to hide in I could see a plague or asteroid being very useful for the elite, it would "thin the herd" so to speak. We have 7 billion plus and with automation you could probably do just as well with less than a billion total, the peasants simply aren't needed for their labor anymore and are simply a drain upon the system.

Re:Good riddance (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242977)

I think a future victim could make an excellent case for debating on "point" the cost effectiveness for Asteroid Deterrent Defense.

Re:Good riddance (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243061)

not true, if you remember the Monty Python show "Is there Life After Death", with guests of several prestigious dead peope, there was un-aired segment of cost-benefit analysis questions asked of the dead, and it turns out dead people do not make convincing cost effectiveness arguments at all.

Re:Good riddance (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242509)

Not even Bruce Willis could save us with one year notice.

But how about Juan Carlos?

Re:Good riddance (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243383)

it is expected to pass between us and Geostationary orbit

With a bit of luck it will clean out a few dead satellites on the way

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242345)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barringer_Crater

Wouldn't want it landing on my house, but I don't think it's time to call Bruce Willis yet.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242423)

Humanity has had it's chance in expanding outside of this little rock, and we blew it.

Don't worry, you still have a chance of blowing my expanding rock or letting it slam "Uranus".

Re:Good riddance (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243077)

nonsense, the chance of a civilization-destorying rock landing within the time span we are recognizably human is so very close to zero it is of no import.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245267)

Statistically you are correct but sometimes you roll snake eyes twice in a row too.

Re:Good riddance (2)

RandomAdam (1837998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245623)

Isn't that sometimes you roll a 20 on your confirm roll?

45 meters? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242107)

Would any of that thing even reach the ground before burning out during atmospheric entry?

Re:45 meters? (2)

JordanH (75307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242153)

IANAA (Astrophysicist), but I believe asteroids of that size would reach the earth. Depending what it's made of, it could break into a lot of pieces, though.

This is a pretty small asteroid and (again, I'm no expert) but its orbit means that it wouldn't have a great relative velocity if it did strike earth (nothing like a comet, by comparison). There were some estimates on the damage it would do if it were to strike in the referenced article and this doesn't seem to be a major concern.

Re:45 meters? (5, Interesting)

KingofSpades (874684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242815)

What do you think of this [wikipedia.org] ?
It was made made by a 45 meter impactor.
Yes, A 45 METER IMPACTOR.

Re:45 meters? (3, Funny)

jovius (974690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244709)

See, meteorites create tourist attractions. The larger the crater the bigger the cash flow. Meteorite impacts are good for the economy.

Re:45 meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245155)

Didn't someone once say that broken windows were good for the economy as well? That would break any windows near bye I bet! :-)

Re:45 meters? (2)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242889)

Yes, depending what it is made of. Check out this one at the American Museum of Natural History:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2189/2106429655_9edb74118a.jpg [flickr.com]

The Earth's atmosphere is equivalent to 10.3 meters of water in mass per area. Re-entry heating gets split between the meteorite and the air it is traveling through. When the meteorite mass per area is higher than the equivalent mass per area of the atmosphere, it tends to not pick up enough heat to melt entirely or drag to stop. Asteroid density varies depending on type from near water to near steel (1 to 8). Dynamic pressure slamming into the atmosphere can definitely fragment an asteroid, but that deposits all the kinetic energy in an airburst. This size rock can generate 0.5 to 4 Megatons of equivalent energy. It either goes into the air or into the gound. Either way you get a shock wave far beyond the size of the rock.

Re:45 meters? (3, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243013)

The asteroid which made Meteor Crater [wikipedia.org] in Arizona is estimated to have been about 50 meters across. About half of it is thought to have burned up before impact.

Re:45 meters? (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243763)

So does that mean it was about 50 meters across in space, or about 50 meters across when it slammed into the earth?

Re:45 meters? (2)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243845)

Doesn't really matter. If half its mass ablated away, a rock 50m in diameter would be 40m in diameter at impact. 0.5^(1/3) = 0.7937, or half the mass = 79.4% the original diameter.

Want to see more? (5, Funny)

NoZart (961808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242155)

Seeing more and more reports of near passes. Frigging Bugs must be out of target practice and are homing in on us! Get NPH!

Re:Want to see more? (5, Funny)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242169)

Service guarantees citizenship

Re:Want to see more? (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242201)

I'd like to know more.

Re:Want to see more? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242267)

You have to sign up before you get to read the contract...

Re:Want to see more? (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242675)

Best "Cherry on top" post ever!

Re:Want to see more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243621)

I'm doing my part!

Re:Want to see more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247747)

I'd like to know more.

Best post ever.

Re:Want to see more? (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242975)

Agreed.

I think it's safe to assume they have always been there, we are just better at spotting them.
the question becomes how many are we still not seeing?

Re:Want to see more? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243601)

> ...the question becomes how many are we still not seeing?

Part of the purpose of the surveys is to answer that: not by finding them all but by acquiring enough data to use statistics to estimate the number unfound.

Re:Want to see more? (1)

kryliss (72493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249269)

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns; the ones we don't know we don't know. - Donald Rumsfeld (Maybe meteors are what he was talking about? :)

Of course it won't hit us (4, Funny)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242161)

The world ends toward the end of this year, duh! Of course the chance of hitting the Earth is 0%, because we won't be here!

Re:Of course it won't hit us (4, Funny)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242671)

I think you misunderstand the disaster that's coming. When the Mayan calendar ends, all computers that use the Mayan calendar will crash, world-wide. Worse yet, unlike Y2K, where we were able to drag old Cobol programmers out of retirement to fix the problem, experts in Mayan computers are all extinct. So we're all doomed! Except for those of us who don't use Mayan computers. :)

Re:Of course it won't hit us (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243671)

So all those old iMacs will crash?

Re:Of course it won't hit us (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246041)

No, that isn't it. The disaster will be all the TV shows predicting disaster will go away, I love those. Worse, Giorgio Tsoukalos' hair will expand to the size of small planet and then catch on fire. It will be a holocaust of immense proportions. I'm looking forward to a gonzo-whopper of a End-O-the-Hair Moronic Convergence.

Mayans (1)

mcswell (1102107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242857)

I'm sure someone (not me) will re-analyze the Mayan calendar and show that it's a couple months off..and Mayan doomsday is actually scheduled for 15 Feb 2013.

BTW, the location of the Chicxulub crater is at the northern edge of Maya-land, although the only Mayans around then were dinosaurs.

Big sky, little rock (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242163)

The odds of any individual item hitting us are (pardon me) astoromically small. Even if it did have a "good chance" of hitting us, that would mean maybe 1% at this point. Obviosly rocks have hit earth before, and rocks will hit earth again, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Re:Big sky, little rock (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242559)

Oh thank goodness an anonymous coward has determined there's nothing to worry about. Hey everybody! Everything's OK!

Re:Big sky, little rock (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243407)

Thank goodness. A retard has posted on \. Everything is still normal!

Re:Big sky, little rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246153)

Backslash-dot? Escape-dot?

JPL impact risk table (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242205)

TFA contains a link to an predicted impact table [nasa.gov] of DA14 with earth, going some 50 years into the future. The likelihood of each impact is rather small, and the cumulative probability of any impact is computed as 2.2e-04 (about 1 in 5000 - not alarming, but not exactly negligible IMO).

Here's what I don't understand: the first entry in the chart, corresponding to the next risk event, is in the year 2020. What happened to Feb 2013?

Re:JPL impact risk table (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242443)

Mm, yes the reality is that our ability to discover and track these rocks is pretty limited. Our civilisation could be destroyed tomorrow and the first thing anyone would know about it would be when their clothes lit on fire.

Re:JPL impact risk table (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246283)

This is quite wrong. The smaller ones are hard to track, but anything big enough to be civilization destroying is much easier to spot. Typical estimates is 5+ years or more warning.

Re:JPL impact risk table (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242979)

2013 is out of the question -- they already know approximately where it will pass, and that it will miss Earth by a safe margin.
Every place I have read about this has been clear in stating that the danger of collision is during the next pass.
This first pass is our opportunity for getting a more accurate fix on its orbit -- or more fancifully, to deflect it to make sure it doesn't become an issue.

Re:JPL impact risk table (3, Informative)

jaa101 (627731) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243533)

Since we can predict the next (2013) close approach very accurately we're very confident it will be a miss. Therefore that approach doesn't rate a mention in the table.

The trouble comes in that, while we know the 2013 approach distance will be greater than 0km from the surface (>6400km from the centre) there's still some uncertainty. The earth is massive and the close approach will cause a relatively large change in the orbit of DA14. The size of the change is inversely proportional to the square of the approach distance. Thus even a small uncertainty for 2013 results in a large uncertainty for subsequent approaches. Celestial billiards at work.

Re:JPL impact risk table (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243945)

Simple, they do not wish the masses to fear the inevitable. We'll never know when it hits, until it does.

Next pass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242211)

The linked article talks briefly about a possible next close pass in 2020. I thought that I only understood a tiny bit of astrophysics. Now, I guess I don't understand any of it at all. I would have thought that since we don't know the mass exactly and we don't know exactly how close it will come, we also wouldn't know how much its orbit would be changed by its close encounter with Earth. I'd think that coming in below some satellite's orbits would mean the deflection would be very large and there would no longer be an "orbit similar to Earth's". It would have its trajectory changed by so much that it would be "flung out" or at least begin a completely new orbit. However that would mean we have no real idea where it would be in 8 more years. So, I fail at astrophysics...

Re:Next pass? (2)

mcswell (1102107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242865)

Provided the asteroid's mass is much smaller than the Earth's--which it is, unless it's made of neutronium--then its deflection does not significantly depend on its mass.

It's not "simply incorrect" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242221)

Whether the asteroid has a "good chance" of hitting the earth depends on how you define "good chance," which does not have an accepted standard definition.

Wait... 45 METRES?! (0)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242235)

Oh no! A 45 meter space rock might hit us, and it might mean the end of the world, even though we're about 26,000 mi in diameter and it will probably burn up in the atmosphere! And of course, we all know when someone throws a pebble at a person, that person EXPLODES! WE ARE ALL DOOM-ED!

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242259)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242311)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-17248959

There was something bright over Britain last night, how big was that? any estimates?

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243103)

which killed how many people, exactly? the next thing of that size will also very, very, very likely strike where no one lives

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (2)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243783)

If it hit the ocean anywhere near land, it would still cause significant devastation. In "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, a much larger object struck the Pacific Ocean - IIRC a mile in diameter. At 30,000 MPH relative, about 8.3 miles per second, that large object went through the depth of the Pacific in something less than one second, vaporizing cubic miles of water and causing a tsunami a couple thousand feet high, striking LA and washing over the mountains into the Central Valley. This one is a tiny fraction of that one, but I suspect (without doing any math) that if it hit within a few miles of a coastline it might easily displace a volume of water equivalent to the crater it would generate on land, thereby causing a significant tsunami, and it would vaporize enough to change the weather for a year or two.

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (1)

cffrost (885375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245109)

[...] causing a tsunami a couple thousand feet high, striking LA and washing over the mountains into the Central Valley.

LA could use a good hosing down.

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (3, Insightful)

regdul (2561319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242273)

Don't know if trolling It's about energy – you would need a big pebble to do any damage if you were to throw it by hand, but accelerate it and it does some damage. A bullet is smaller than a pebble

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242287)

Depends on your definition of pebble, bullet, and smaller.

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242597)

Depends on you're definition of definition and depends

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242663)

Depends on your definition of "you're." Personally, I would define it as "you are," but that's just me.

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242613)

Oh no! A 45 meter space rock might hit us, and it might mean the end of the world, even though we're about 26,000 mi in diameter and it will probably burn up in the atmosphere! And of course, we all know when someone throws a pebble at a person, that person EXPLODES! WE ARE ALL DOOM-ED!

Looks like someone skipped class that day the high school physics teacher went over kinetic energy.

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (2)

KingofSpades (874684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242789)

even though we're about 26,000 mi in diameter

Who are *we* ?

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (1)

mcswell (1102107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242873)

No, we're nowhere near 26k miles in diameter. Not even obese Americans.

Re:Wait... 45 METRES?! (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242911)

Yeah, everyone knows a tiny piece of metal can't do any damage no matter how fast it's moving...

pfffffff..... (4, Funny)

butilikethecookie (2566015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242331)

What's up with all of these close passes? Hey universe! Grow some nuts and actually hit us with one, you pussy!

Re:pfffffff..... (2)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242945)

Yeah, it's such a tease. It's like a hot girl waving at you at a bar, and then you realize she's waving at a guy behind you.

I say enough with the tease. No more close passes. Either hit this, or go away.

Misleading Article Title (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242661)

Asteroid Will Make Close Pass To Earth != "the odds of an impact next year are essentially zero"

Let's get this to scale... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242727)

Astroid 60m passing at 27000000 meters is called close...

But it is like playing 10 pin bowling on a lane in San Francisco and roll the ball down the street in Santa Clara (87 km away) and call that a near miss. Forgive me for not getting too worried about this one. Give me a call when it is close enough that I need to duck.

Re:Let's get this to scale... (3, Insightful)

Xocet_00 (635069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243611)

But the Earth is much larger than a bowling pin. I'd say that passing passing within a few Earth radii is of us is a fair definition of a near miss.

45 meters? (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242729)

Sounds like not enough for me to care.

About those odds... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242751)

NASA places the odds at 99.9988% chance of a miss. That is almost, but not quite, 5-nines. With all the downtime I've seen from companies promising 5-nines of reliability and failing, I'm more than a little skeptical.

This will get more common (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242781)

The number of asteroids passing close to the Earth has not changed recently, but the number we know about has increased dramatically. The current statistics are around 8700 known NEO's, which is double what we knew about 5.5 years ago, 4 times that of 9.5 years ago, and 10 times that of 12.5 years ago. Therefore the number of *known* close passes will continue to go up.

In the silver lining department, the more NEO's we know about, the more chances for space mining, and the better chance we have of preventing dangerous ones from hitting us or the Moon. Lunar impacts are often neglected, but more mass can be tossed off the Moon, because it's smaller, to end up sucked into the giant gravity well nearby called Earth. You get just as dead being hit by a 1 ton Lunar fragment as by a megaton asteroid, but the deaths are more distributed in time and space.

Even if it did hit (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242881)

45m would be roughly comparable to Tunguska. It could completely fuck up a large metropolitan area, but only with a direct hit on land. Otherwise all you get is a sizeable earthquake and possibly a tsunami, which sucks, but is nothing we haven't seen several times in the last decade.

The point is that it would be a big explosion, but even at its most devastating it wouldn't come close to an extinction event.

Re:Even if it did hit (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243799)

If it hit the ocean the equivalent volume of water would be displaced, and quite a bit of it would be vaporized. So I would argue that the result would be a significant tsunami (bigger than Japan? I don't know) and a change in the weather for a year or two.

Re:Even if it did hit (0)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246331)

Not even close. It wouldn't change the weather at all on the scale of days. The energy needed for a tsunami like the one that hit Japan just short of a year ago requires enormous amounts of energy. The thing is that the earth is really really big, and even though this rock is moving pretty fast, its not that fast, and its not that big. It is comparable to nuclear weapons that have been tested, these did not change weather or produce "significant" tsunami's. At lest not at the scale you are thinking of.

Re:Even if it did hit (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247539)

Someone in an earlier comment pointed out that the Barringer Crater was thought to have been made by a rock about 55 meters in diameter. I was extrapolating from that. That crater is substantially bigger than anything humans have managed including fusion bombs. But It's an arguable point, especially since I'm too lazy to do any of the math. :)

Not a risk (1)

TechnoGrl (322690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242973)

The risk, for this asteroid as has been pointed out before is negligible. Anyone who follows http://www.spaceweather.com/ knows 2 or 3 times a year some small piece of rock comes between the earth and moon. Furthermore a few 10 MT nukes can easily either vaporize or at the very least break up into many small pieced a 150 foot chunk of rock. The technology to deliver such a device millions of miles out has been already proven by the recent asteroid and comet intercept probes. A single MIRV, attached to an appropriate launch vehicle could easily put from 10 to 30 nukes each containing half a megaton or more into the path of something like this. My guess is that you could create the launch vehicle for something like this in a year or so if the incentive were appropriate enough.

Isn't There A Game About This? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242993)

Its been awhile, but I thought there was a game where one could discover the requirements for moving an Asteroid.

Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243559)

"the odds of an impact next year are essentially zero." Until someone discovers it was in imperial and not metric.

Oh, Dear God, Just Hit Us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243607)

I'm soo tired of waiting for global calamity.

If the estimations in the article are correct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243739)

If the estimations in TFA are correct, then it should pass earth at an altitude of 2792.7005070920594418000000 kilometers. Thats not close. Thats a hike from Earth's gravity well. Its a hike from Earth's atmosphere. Its not close.

What? (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244049)

Are you kidding me? The MOON is almost 400,000 km away. A massive, dangerous object passing within 3,000 km isn't "close"? To a planet that's 13,000 km in diameter? This asteroid will be within SPITTING distance of Earth.

Re:What? (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249217)

You can spit 3,000 km? Tone it down, Bernice.

I stand corrected... (1)

gVibe (997166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244637)

...I was wrong when I once said that all the crazy people should be let out of the hospitals and let to run the governments of the US. Nope, it is now very clear that the crazy people should be kept locked up, and furthermore should not be allowed to read the news or anything above their education levels. I mean...I really think that "Interpretation 101" should be elected as a required course, starting in elementary school. Because it is again, very clear, that people should not be allowed to interpret anything that they are not qualified to do.

PSA (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249283)

Attention all non-scientists:

Watching the movie Armageddon does NOT make you a fucking expert in the subject of Near-Earth Asteroids. Like the newer article on the site has indicated, you know nothing about the subject and are incapable of even recognizing those who do.

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