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Asteroid to Make Closest Recorded Pass to Earth

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the horseshoes-and-hand-grenades dept.

Space 455

unassimilatible writes "A 100-ft diameter asteroid will make the closest (26,500 miles, or about 3.4 Earth diameters) pass of earth ever detected in advance today, NASA reports. Asteroid 2004 FH's point of closest approach with the Earth will be over the South Atlantic Ocean. Using a good pair of binoculars, the object will be bright enough to be seen during this close approach from areas of Europe, Asia and most of the Southern Hemisphere. While we are in no danger this time, it is good to know NASA's LINEAR guys are on the job, for when that Death Star-sized object pays us a visit."

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Huh? (3, Interesting)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597682)

"100-ft diameter asteroid" ... "that Death Star-sized object"
The Death Star was bigger than 100 ft dia! Maybe the miniature Lucas used was that size? :-) If LINEAR can pick up 100ft dia objects, anything bigger would be easy. Now I can feel safe until this one veers off due our shoddy ozone, and smacks down on my hometown.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597710)

Honestly, who cares? If an asteroid hits, I promise, you won't feel a thing.

YOU FUCKWIT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597712)

Learn to read and comprehend the fucking article properly, you retard.

The big one... (4, Funny)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597745)

"it is good to know NASA's LINEAR guys are on the job, for when that Death Star-sized object pays us a visit."

So that we can all enjoy the peace-of-mind of knowing that we're all about to die, in advance. ;)

Re:The big one... (5, Insightful)

tuffy (10202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597801)

So that we can all enjoy the peace-of-mind of knowing that we're all about to die, in advance. ;)

We're all going to die eventually. But throughout all of history, mankind has yearned for the day when we all get to die at the same time. It's not as scary as dying alone, or as scary as the thought the world will go on without us.

Re:The big one... (4, Funny)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597844)

"We're all going to die eventually."

Speak for yourself.

Re:The big one... (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597977)

But throughout all of history, mankind has yearned for the day when we all get to die at the same time.

Actually, since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun.

Re:The big one... (2, Funny)

cherokee158 (701472) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597984)

You're a lot of fun at parties, aren't you?

Poor post! (-1, Troll)

PoorPost Troll (697855) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597975)

PoorPost Form v. 0.24

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Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

aipotsid (232736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597992)

...NASA officials say they detected the asteroid after it hit a parked car in Queens....

Lucky (5, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597683)

According to the article there are normally 2 of these every year. It seems a bit tongue-in-cheek to say "The important thing is not that it's happening, but that we detected it" [Chesley]. They were lucky, that's all.

It *will* give them a chance to study the thing as it passes, since all the other ones were only detected after they'd gone (and presumably therefore couldn't be easily studied). If it's close enough to see with binoculars, it ought to be possible to resolve quite well in a good optical 'scope.

The other point I guess is that it's only 100 ft across (why not 30m ?) so it would have burnt up on entry into the atmosphere, but still, good to know about these things. An asteroid that big would make quite some bang on entering the atmosphere, I reckon :-)

Simon

Re:Lucky (3, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597708)

I remember reading about NASA's (and others') ability to detect these in advance... apparently this science has improved immensely over the last ten years.

But you do bring up a good point - if this object would have hit Earth, would it have burnt up, or would something dangerous remain?

Much smaller items hit Earth all the time - they don't get burnt up completely. Of course, many end up the size of maybe pebbles or baseballs...

Re:Lucky (3, Interesting)

sponge_absorbent (588860) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597775)

it depends on the composition of the object and the angle and speed at which it enters the atmosphere.
I imagine that if it were a roughly spherical, dense, metallic object it would have a good chance of hitting the surface.

Re:Lucky (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597716)

What about the ones that do not completely burn up in the atmoshpere? Does anyone know how large those started off as? Every now and then you hear about a meteor hitting someones house and putting a hole in the roof. I'm just wondering if those are these 100 ft objects that make it through somehow, or are they larger and more rare than these.

Re:Lucky (5, Interesting)

Slowtreme (701746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597733)

Would this really burn up? Skylab was less than 50ft long and hollow inside. Many of it's parts made it to the ground. I'd image a solid rock hitting our atmosphere at that speed would not lose too much mass on the way in and do some pretty significat damage if it hit near a populated area.

This one is flying pretty darn close for comfort.

Re:Lucky (1, Interesting)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597749)

A solid mass entering the atmosphere would explode due to the pressure differences inside.
You get really big fireworks.

Jeroen

Re:Lucky (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597873)

lol. bullshit. and you got modded up for it. retard mods.

Re:Lucky (0, Troll)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597940)

you are an idiot, right? pressurce differences inside a solid mass? wtf... this rock would have been able to do some serious damage to a major city. maybe 20 square blocks completely gone, with related damages further out.

Re:Lucky (4, Informative)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597988)

Mod the parent back down. The AC which already replied and was marked as flambait is right. This guy is an idiot. The only exception where his statement might hold water would be if the object were solid water...and then, maybe. And then, it wouldn't be because of "pressure differences", it would be because of super heating, causing steam to form inside, causing it to explode.

Re:Lucky (2, Informative)

0x41 (682557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597875)

Skylab was going 100 times slower than this asteroid, hence it didn't burn up.

Re:Lucky (4, Informative)

tiled_rainbows (686195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597934)

But Skylab wasn't going as fast - Celestial mechanics isn't my strong point, but something falling from a gradully-decaying orbit around the Eath (eg Skylab) won't be going half as fast relative to the Earth as something aproaching perihelion on a huge elliptic orbit round the sun (eg an asteroid) - things on elliptic orbits go faster the closer they get to the thing they're orbiting. Conservation of angular momentum or something.

And as Skylab wasn't going as fast, it wasn't heated up so much in the atmosphere, so more bits of it reached the surface than most meteorites.

Re:Lucky (0, Flamebait)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597773)

100 ft across (why not 30m ?)

Because NASA is part of our "stupid american" culture.

Re:Lucky (2, Interesting)

Eevee (535658) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597891)

Except if you read the NASA site [nasa.gov] , they use metric measurements, then give the "stupid american" measurements. You have to blame the Associated Press for not using metric when they reported this on the wire.

For those too lazy to click the link, this is the relevent quote from the press release.

...is roughly 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter...

Re:Lucky (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597878)

The other point I guess is that it's only 100 ft across (why not 30m ?) so it would have burnt up on entry into the atmosphere

I'm pretty sure a 100ft diameter rock would make it to the ground. Meteors as small as 3ft can make it to the ground. It depends on what they are made of and whether they break apart when they hit the atmosphere.

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597889)

FTFA:

Astronomers have not ruled out that the asteroid and our planet could meet again sometime in the future. If the two were to collide, the asteroid likely would disintegrate in the atmosphere, Chesley said.

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597961)

You're missing the point of that sentence. The important thing is that technology and observation time are now at a level where even harmless asteroids like this one are (Or at least can be) detected.

This is a significant milestone in reliably predicting (potentially) hazardous asteroids.

Yay! (5, Funny)

MalaclypseTheYounger (726934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597690)

Time to dust off the "Thumb" and see if I can get off this godforsaken mudball.

Is the asteroid construction-equipment yellow, with lots of lumps?

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597719)

And does it hang in the air like a brick doesn't?

Re:Yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597872)

Don't forget your towel!

It's the one you don't see or hear that gets you (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597703)

If you hear the thunder, that means the lighting didn't kill you.

If you hear the gunshot, the bullet didn't kill you.

If you smell the engine burning, the car wreck didn't kill you.

If you are still reading, the asteroid missed.

Re:It's the one you don't see or hear that gets yo (1)

MC_Cancer_Pants (728724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597800)

If you hear the thunder, that means the lighting didn't kill you.

When struck by lightning people hardly ever die immediately. Most of the time the residual effects will kill you over the duration of a year or so.

If you hear the gunshot, the bullet didn't kill you.

So if I shoot you in the heart, you die immediately? The soundwaves would likely hit you at seemingly the same time as the bullet. I seemed to think that a gunshot wound to the heart or lungs that went untreaed wouldn't kill you for at least 5 minutes.

If you smell the engine burning, the car wreck didn't kill you.

Once again, the vital organ thing. Unless your brain suffers damage, fatal damage to your vital organs takes a few minutes to kill you.

If you are still reading, the asteroid missed.

Actually, the asteroid just hit me. you lose.

Re:It's the one you don't see or hear that gets yo (0, Offtopic)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597892)

you suck.

ever heard of a thing called shock?

even a non-fatal hit totally messes up your senses e.g. when Agent Smith shoots Neo the phone ringing goes quiet.

btw, most bullets travel much faster than sound.

Re:It's the one you don't see or hear that gets yo (1)

EvanTaylor (532101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597916)

I think the whole be an optimist in the face of absolute danger concept was lost on you. And it is "if you hear the bullet whistle, you aren't shot" or something to that effect, as when you hear the whistle it means if flew past you.

Bennifer, You're our only hope!?-SarcarticVersion (2, Informative)

mynameis (mother ... (745416) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597706)

Guess what everybody: There is another asteroid heading right for us. NEA 2004FH is due to arrive around 5pm EST today. Recently Discovered [nasa.gov] , the object is ~30kmmeters [google.com] across, and will pass within 30k miles of earth. "Scientists look forward to the flyby as it will provide them an unprecedented opportunity to study a small NEA asteroid up close." Also worthwhile, the view showing it's orbit [superimposed over our's] notes "The locations of the asteroid and Earth are indistinguishable at this scale."
  • Which should be shattering to all those who felt their Solar-model-with-lightbulb-as-sun was truely 'to scale.'

  • Affleck was not immediately available for comment.
[caugh]How can this not be the 11th planet: it has a rather round orbit that is very similar to earths own?! [/caugh]

In related news, Ron Page now claims this was the 'NEA' he was referring to as terrorist last month. [cnn.com]

Impact risks (3, Informative)

xlation (228159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597781)

For a long list of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) see: http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/PHACloseApp.h tml

Also, for information on assessment of the
impact risks using the Torino Scale, which is
kinda like the Richter Scale for impact risk,
see: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/

And when this is a threat we will... (2, Funny)

jtwJGuevara (749094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597711)

or when that Death Star-sized object pays us a visit.

At which point we will hide behind our moon and send a squadron of George Bush sponsered space monkeys to penetetrate it's interior and fire photon blasters into a two meter hole to destroy it and save the earth.....

Re:And when this is a threat we will... (3, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597847)

Whereas if John Kerry wins the election, the earth will be destroyed waiting for the U.N. to decide on an appropriate "police action".

Re:And when this is a threat we will... (1)

hkg4r7h (468346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597944)

That's no moon..

Re:And when this is a threat we will... (2, Funny)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597952)

...and fire photon blasters into a two meter hole...

Why not 6 ft? :D

Oh Great... (2, Insightful)

hardcode57 (734460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597715)

they'll be able to tell us in advance we're all going to die and there's damn all they can do to stop it. Still, I guess that's a better excuse for a really reprehensible party than most:)

But ... isn't it tracking? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597717)

Will it miss? Hollywood always taught me that killer asteroids come equipped with state of the art in tracking with the cross hairs firmly locked onto an American city like New York.

Hollywood special effects must have made a mistake this time around.

And if... (5, Interesting)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597718)

it was going to hit the earth and cause a massive extinction of the human race...
I highly doubt we will be told about it. Instead, our world leaders will gather in a cave somewhere with their mistresses and 500 years worth of refried beans...that ought to keep the human race going.

-Grump

wonderful... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597742)

bush as the source of the next wave of humanity?? evolution would be set back 100,000 years.

It would be like going back to the caveman!

Re:And if... (4, Funny)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597822)

Imagine what the cave would smell like after 500 years of refried bean consumption.

Come to think of it, I can't think of a better fate for our 'leaders'.

Re:And if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597885)

Maybe we should stage a simulation for them :)

Re:And if... (1)

YetAnotherAnonymousC (594097) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597981)

500 years worth of refried beans.

And don't forget plenty of Rico's nacho cheese [ricos.com] . It's the profitmaker!

NASA's on the job. Can they save the world? (1)

shibbie (619359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597721)

"it is good to know NASA's LINEAR guys are on the job"

Yeah? What can they do to stop an asteroid a couple months before impact? Its better we didn't know if we don't have line of defence.

Re:NASA's on the job. Can they save the world? (2, Insightful)

glpierce (731733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597846)

I suppose our best "defense" would be to evacuate as much of the impact area as possible. Nuclear winter theories aren't as respected as they used to be.

Re:NASA's on the job. Can they save the world? (2, Interesting)

shibbie (619359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597930)

I find it amusing that a threat to everyone thats a far bigger catastrophe than terrorism has no defence (I'm British, this is our spelling 8P ). In all likelyhood (imho) its the biggest continents that will suffer the most. The UK will either just be wiped out or get missed entirely (we've always had bad weather)...

um and? (1, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597722)

Ok so in the future we will know when a 100km diameter asteroid is gonna hit earth. Problem is, there is shitall we can do about it. I personally would rather not know when my time is up then sit and worry..

oh wait... screw that. If I knew the end of time was coming I'd l00t! Cuz that's what all good capitalist swine do!

Tom

Re:um and? (1)

MC_Cancer_Pants (728724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597863)

Ok so in the future we will know when a 100km diameter asteroid is gonna hit earth.

You realize that a 100km asteroid would not be an asteroid, it would be the second largest planet in our solar system (jupiter being around 140km)--9 times larger than earth. Do you REALLY think that there is any way that we could stop a planet 9 times larger than us that's in a collision course with us? Secondly: We would be able to see a 100km dia. planet coming toward us for decades before impact. I think it would be nice to know when life ends, better than this waiting crap.

Re:um and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597929)

Shit, Jupiter is only 87 miles in diameter? That's a lot smaller than I thought, it must be really dense.

Re:um and? (2, Funny)

Lebannen (626462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597947)

Jupiter being 140km?

Crikey, that puts a 2km cycle to work in perspective. No wonder I'm always turning up late!

Re:um and? (1, Informative)

tilmanb (739889) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597963)

>>Ok so in the future we will know when a 100km diameter asteroid is gonna hit earth.

>You realize that a 100km asteroid would not be an asteroid, it would be the second largest planet in our solar system (jupiter being around 140km)

There is a slight mistake here (mod parent wrong!):

Jupiter has not 140km diameter but 140k km (142984 km to be exact).

100km? (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597973)

Dude, you need to get out more often. 100km is about an hour's worth of driving at highway speeds (or about 40 minutes worth if there aren't any cops out.)

Basically, you're off by about three magnitudes: Jupiter isn't 140km in diameter, it's around 143,000km.

Re:um and? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597882)

Tom -

Please cram a Gentoo disk up your gaping asshole, you Gentoo zealot fuckhead.

Re:um and? (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597918)

well if i knew the end was a few days away, id spurge and get an athlon64 system with a gig of ram, a huge SATA raid array and finally....a fucking radeon 9800XT

i bet theyd still take their pretty time getting doom3 out the door, no sneek peeks or anything, wait and see

Dammit (2, Funny)

Viggeh! (645439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597726)

I cant believe its gonna miss! Now i cant throw my wicked end-of-the-world orgy-party! *sigh*

Re:Dammit (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597866)

I cant believe its gonna miss! Now i cant throw my wicked end-of-the-world orgy-party! *sigh*

Why not?

Re:Dammit (0)

Dogers (446369) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597869)

why should it missing stop you? :)

Gravitational Effects? (4, Interesting)

fishdan (569872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597736)

Any astronomers out there know if this will have a measurable gravitational affect on the planet? I know it's awfully small on a planetary scale -- but it's mass might be great. And, as I understand it, we're pretty good at detecting gravitational shifts [space.com] . I know there won't be high tides or coastal flooding -- just if an object that small will have ANY noticable effect.

Re:Gravitational Effects? (1, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597841)

It's 30 m across, and the earth is 12,760,000 m across, volume is pi r^2, assuming the same density, and gravity is proportional to mass - probably not. If we could do that, we wouldn't need line of sight radar - we could just track airplanes by their gravitational effects without line of sight.

Re:Gravitational Effects? (2, Insightful)

TGK (262438) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597921)

Er.... volume is 4/3 pi r^3. pi r ^ 2 is area.

Re:Gravitational Effects? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597925)

This force of gravitational attraction is directly dependent upon the masses of both objects and inversely proportional to the square of the distance which separates their centers.

You want to know (2, Funny)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597851)

how much the asteroid will tug the earth?

Are you serious?

100 foot diamater. Thats smaller than bunker hill.

20 busses parked together and loaded with people from Overeaters Anonymous would probably have more mass...

Re:Gravitational Effects? (4, Informative)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597900)

100' diameter ==> 15m radius ==> around 15000 m^3 ==> somewhere around 5x10^7 kg if it's rock.

26500 miles is around 4000 times further away from the surface of the earth than the 35,000 feet at which planes fly.

So the gravitational effect this rock will have at the surface of the earth is around the same as the effect from a 3kg bag inside a plane flying overhead. Probably not noticable. :)

Re:Gravitational Effects? (2, Informative)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597972)

Well, it's not that hard to figure out. Assume the 100' diameter (30.48m) thing is a sphere made of solid steel (density ~8000 kg/m3). That sphere has a volume of 14,827 m3, so would have a mass of ~118.6e6 kg. At a distance of 26,500 miles from earth's center, it will exert a force of 2.6e7 newtons (about 3000 tons) on the earth. This would make the earth accelerate toward the asteroid at only 4.3e-18 m/s2 (the asteroid, though, accelerates toward earth at a whopping 0.2 m/s2).

If you were standing on the asteroid, and you weigh 150 lbs on earth, you'd weigh only 0.0005 lbs (assuming the asteroid was the only thing around).

If you were standing on earth and the asteroid were directly over your head (at 26,500 miles from your center) and you weighed 150 lbs, it would reduce your weight by 6.6e-17 pounds. Not exactly a weight-loss program.

Those numbers seem pretty hard to detect directly, but we might be able to use indirect means.

Hmm (4, Interesting)

Czernobog (588687) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597748)

Either there's an ever increasing number of asteroids coming ever closer to Earth (unlikely methinks) or this is truly indicative of how blind we have been all thse years to what was happpening in space.
Sort of puts our achievements into perspective...

Hey! (4, Funny)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597757)

"Using a good pair of binoculars, the object will be bright enough to be seen during this close approach from areas of Europe, Asia and most of the Southern Hemisphere."

Great. Now even the Universe hates America.

Re:Hey! (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597777)

Do these kinds of "asteroid misses Earth" stories make anyone else feel like this is just one big "dunk tank?"

Re:Hey! (2, Funny)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597782)

Its pissed of by hollywood's type-casting of asteroids.

Jeroen

Alien Rock (5, Funny)

PRES_00 (657776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597768)

The first one is not a miss, it's just used for calibration. The second will be create a 10 cm crater but its organic content will exterminate all life on this miserable rock.

This is sserious (5, Informative)

cda (750377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597770)

Section of an IAU Statement prepared by Dr. David Morrison, 14 March 1998
The International Astronomical Union's (http://www.intastun.org/) list of 108 known ''potentially hazardous objects,'' or PHOs.
Most of the asteroids that could strike the Earth and cause a global catastrophe have not yet been found. For the year 2028 (or any other year) the chances of an unknown asteroid hitting the Earth are much greater than the chances of this particular asteroid hitting. If an unknown asteroid should hit us, we would likely have no warning at all. The first we would know of the danger is when we saw the flash of light and felt the ground shake. At the current rate of discovery, it will take more than a century to find 90% or more of the objects this large with Earth-crossing orbits. For better or for worse, the astronomers who carry out these searches and orbit calculations work in the public eye. The idea that a threatening asteroid could be kept secret (or that anyone would want to keep it secret) is ludicrous.
For further information see the NASA asteroid and comet impact hazard website at:

also to be noted (2, Interesting)

cda (750377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597791)

from http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/

THE SAGA OF ASTEROID AL00667 = 2004 AS1

Brian G. Marsden (from CCNet, 15 January 2004)

"That this latest PHA should have generated so much heated discussion on numerous mailing lists and the internet on the basis of four observations covering a time interval of one hour on the morning of Jan. 13 is surely quite amazing. On the routine arrival of the night's LINEAR data at the Minor Planet Center at 5:15 p.m. EST that day, the usual computations on them were quickly done, and, within a matter of minutes, five of the objects were placed on the MPC's WWW "NEO Confirmation Page" as being of potential NEO interest, predictions of the expected positions and their uncertainties being provided in the hope of securing early confirmation from observers in Europe. It was evidently cloudy over most of the continent, however, and the only follow-up observations immediately forthcoming were in fact from a single observer in the U.K. Also according to usual procedures, on the receipt of these U.K. observations, the predictions on the WWW could be quickly and significantly refined, well in time for further observations to be presumably made from North America. There was in fact also rather extensive cloud cover that night over North America, particularly over the numerous professional and amateur observatories in the frequently blessed Southwest.

How about using the metric system? (0, Redundant)

Dayflowers (729580) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597779)


Its much more practical, and these days everyone is adopting it (with few exceptions).

Knowing is only half the battle... (-1, Offtopic)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597789)

So, when they do detect the impending collision of a Death Star size object, I want to know: What will we be able to do about it? Somehow I don't think an umbrella is going to cut it.

Stock up on Cambels Soup (2, Funny)

gt25500 (622543) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597797)

At this rate of asteroids getting closer and closer, we're due for impact next month!

See! We told you there was a (-1, Offtopic)

meshmar (11818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597803)

WMD! NASA found it for us.

In Mother Russia... (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597814)

...the asteroid finds you!

Damn it, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597819)

will one hit us already, the suspense is killing me.

I always wanted a seaview from my city apartment.

Amazing... hrmmm (-1, Offtopic)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597820)

I for one am sick of all these new feature being put into phones. What happened to wireless sets that were actually good as phones.. Since my first wireless in 1995 it seems that every generation of phone seems to get worse and worse, more feature and poorer reception. Gimme a good old fasioned brick phone with support for the new wireless networks and I'd be a happy happy person, imagine the standby time you could get with a brickphone sized battery and newer more efficient processing....

How far away? (3, Informative)

pesc (147035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597824)

A 100-ft diameter asteroid will make the closest (26,500 miles, or about 3.4 Earth diameters)

If "feet" or "earth diameters" are not your preferred units of measurement, what the article is trying to say is that the asteroid is about 90m in diameter and will pass the earth at a distance of about 42600 km.

Re:How far away? (2, Informative)

pesc (147035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597848)

Ouch! meant 30m in diameter. *blush*

Re:How far away? (0)

Seahawk (70898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597998)

Yes - one could wonder how your original post got modded +4 informative! ;o)

I think you mean 30m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597861)

10ft is approximately 3m.

Re:How far away? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597907)

There are 3.2808 feet in a metre, for those of you still metrically challenged.

Re:How far away? (1, Insightful)

Larsing (645953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597960)

And that's exactly why NASA has lost so many Mars probes: the Imperial System

1 in = 25.4 mm
1 ft = 12 in
1 yd = 3 ft
1 fm = 2 yd
1 rod = 5 1/2 yds
1 chain = 4 rod
1 fur = 10 chain
1 mile = 8 fur

I.E. 100 ft = 30.48 m and 26500 miles is, quite correclty, roughly 42600 (42638.5) km.

Training material? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597827)

Wouldn't it be prudent to test out a plan to divert these things or blow them while they are still well out in space, yet close enough for us to practice? If you ask me, we should be capitalizing on these opportunities to test out methods of deflection/destruction.

If they do decide to try this, I just hope that NASA doesn't miscalculate and hit the wrong side of the rock. :)

Protect and Swat (0)

FraggedSquid (737869) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597832)

To protest against these all you will need is to build the space elevator and have a guy on the viewing platform with a long baseball bat (or rounders bat if there's a UK version). The World Series would finally mean what it says.

Pictures (1)

cuban321 (644777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597839)

Someone in Europe, Asia, or in the water should take pictures for the rest of us to enjoy!

Thanks!

Please strike Lindon Utah... (-1, Offtopic)

Lobo_Louie (545789) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597852)

... and I'll buy a SCO kontract.

Did we manage to /. NASA? (1)

STFS (671004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597862)

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/programs/linear.html [nasa.gov] isn't working for me...

Re:Did we manage to /. NASA? (1)

flabbergasted (518911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597949)

This just proves the danger of these near earth asteroids. While this one wasn't large enough to cause a mass extinction, it was big enough to wipe out a small web server.

Mars rover spotted UFO! THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597867)

Go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/default. stm

To the right there's a link under the "Also In the News" header, called: "Did Nasa's rover see a UFO in the sky of the Red Planet?"

However the link (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3520636 .stm) seems to 404.

Ergo, UFOs exist.

Distributed computing? (4, Insightful)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597886)

Is there a LINEAR@Home type thing? I would prefer to use my spare cpu cycles protecting life on earth. "meta-environmentalism" I guess.

I am so happy ! (3, Funny)

tgrasl (607606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597910)

"it is good to know NASA's LINEAR guys are on the job, for when that Death Star-sized object pays us a visit."

What are they going to do ? Send Bruce Willis up to save us ?

dreamed about this (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597912)

Wow, I had a dream about an asteroid hitting the earth the other morning [being a dream sequence, all laws of physics are suspended]. I went outside and everybody was looking at the horizon and this round, crater covered cliche' asteroid was coming right at us, and then it just passed right overhead (that was a big relief!). After a few orbits and just as it was about to plunge into the earth it all turned into a Wallace & Grommit clamation scene, so it cratered in claymation with a big sucking noise and out from a ring around the impact area, up popped a bunch of advertisements for stuff.

The real threat of these small ones (5, Insightful)

bwallace (152576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597943)

Imagine if you will that this thing actually penetrated the atmosphere. Okay - so it wouldn't reach ground, but there would likely be a fairly significant blast (this one is only about 1/3 to 2/3 the diameter of the Tunguska object, and that one made a hellish blast).

Imagine now that this penetrated the atmosphere over, say, North Korea, or the Sea of Japan, or somewhere over India/Pakistan. It is not much of a stretch to suggest that this might precipitate a limited nuclear exchange. Not a for-sure, but enough of a "could-be" that somebody's day could be ruined.

This is why it is important to look for (small) potentially hazardous objects - not because they will (directly) cause the extinction of the human race, but because they could precipitate an all-too-human conflict, just out of ignorance.

Note also that, as good a job as LINEAR and others do, there is a class of asteroids that are damn hard to see form the ground - the "Aten"-class asteroids, which orbit mostly inside earths orbit and thus come at us from out of the sun. These ones also need to be catalogued and a watchfull eye kept out for.

So, when people start to ask the value of asteroid hunting, bring up these ideas. Sadly, nuclear war is a much more real threat to most people compared to mass extinction.

Who the hell ? (0)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597966)

Who's shooting all these asteriods at us? Has Johnny Ricco and the RoughNecks been alerted to this?
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