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Chance for a Tunguska Sized Impact on Mars

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the flying-rocks-that-will-not-kill-us dept.

Mars 184

Multiple users have written to tell us of an LA Times report that an asteroid may hit Mars on January 30th. The asteroid is roughly 160 feet across, and JPL-based researchers say that it will have a 1-in-75 chance of striking Mars. Those odds are very high for this type of event, and scientists are hoping to witness an impact of a similar scope to the Tunguska disaster. From the LA Times: "Because scientists have never observed an asteroid impact -- the closest thing being the 1994 collision of comet Shoemaker-Levy with Jupiter -- such a collision on Mars would produce a 'scientific bonanza,' Chesley said."

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Shame... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777264)

Shame they don't have anything in orbit around Mars to give the thing just a leeeetle nudge to make certain it impacts...

Re:Shame... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777470)

What the fuck are you on about

Why? (1, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777492)

If this was venus, I would love to see it impact it, but it would be better if it was not mars. The reason is that it will lead to "nuclear winter". Mars is already cold and does not need more. If we have any chance of colonizing this planet, it will be only if it warms up. In addition, with lots more dust in the air, any future exploration vehicles will require nuclear power. Of course, if hits one of the poles, it might just melt all the CO2. Hmmmmm.

It would be interesting to see venus be hit. If that happened, it might just cool down the planet a bit. Of course, I suspect that it it would take a pretty big one

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777694)

That's the funny thing about mega-events in chaotic systems, you never know what might happen.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777720)

Except that the whole "nuclear winter" thing works by increasing the albedo of the planet. Venus is under constant, DEEP (the tropopause is at around 65km up) cloud cover already. Greenhouse effects massively outweigh the cooling from cloud cover.

Re:Why? (1)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778370)

If it were Venus, you wouldn't see anything, unfortunately, since the clouds are too dense. An IR image of the impact site might let you see the spike in heat from the impact, but with a super-dense atmosphere and high winds, the impact shock and thermal signature would be dissipated in very short order.

If it does actually hit Mars, the atmosphere won't be enough to break it up much on its way down. This crater is going to be there for a long, long time.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778438)

The nuclear winter is a concept that works only on Earth due to our unique atmosphere which lets a bit of sunlight in and prevents a bit of that from radiating out, thus warming our planet. If our atmosphere grew a bit more dusty, we'd reflect more sunlight and become colder.

You cannot apply this concept to Mars, which has no greenhouse effect in the first place. Its surface reflects most of the sunlight already, so reflective dust in its thin atmosphere would make no difference. You also can't apply it to Venus, which is a greenhouse. Its atmosphere is already highly reflective, and it is only as hot as it is because the tiny amount of sunlight it absorbs is prevented from escaping.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778688)

This isn't a big impactor. It won't cause any serious global effects, on Mars, Venus or Earth.

Sorry Mate... (4, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777722)

Prime Directive and all that.

Glad it's not us, eh? (4, Funny)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777272)

[...] and scientists are hoping to witness an impact of a similar scope to the Tunguska disaster.
Won't somebody PLEASE think of the marsians? :(

Re:Glad it's not us, eh? (2, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777386)

Marsia, Marsia, Marsia!

(And with that Brady bunch quote goes the last shreds of my geek cred.)

Re:Glad it's not us, eh? (1)

Faylone (880739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777640)

wouldn't that count towards TV geek?

Re:Glad it's not us, eh? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777834)

Kitsch, perhaps. Geek, perhaps not.

Re:Glad it's not us, eh? (4, Funny)

Drasil (580067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777424)

The Martians will be fine. The Old Ones just need to grok the rock and remove it from the universe, at which point there will be nothing to see here.

Re:Glad it's not us, eh? (1)

thermopile (571680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777690)

No, actually, I think the martians are behind this. See, they're upset by the recent spate of successes in the Expensive Hardware Lob contest [anl.gov] and are now doing everything they can to even the score.

Here's hoping that Spirit and Opportunity know how to duck and cover effectively...

that's kind of mean isn't it (2, Funny)

Martian_Kyo (1161137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777282)

From the article:

"Normally, we're rooting against the asteroid," when it has Earth in its cross hairs, Chesley said. "This time we're rooting for the asteroid to hit."

For all we know mars is a lifeless planet, but still....rooting for the asteroid to hit is just plain mean, bad karma. I hope it doesn't hit. Not only because of my ...uhmmmm.... nickname connection.

Re:that's kind of mean isn't it (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777870)

Look at it this way: one less chunk of rock hurtling around the solar system is one less that can eventually hurtle into Earth.

One down, 500 trillion to go...

*no signal* (4, Insightful)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777284)

It'll probably take something as dramatic as a direct hit from a meteorite to finish Spirit or Opportunity off.

dust in the atmosphere (1)

sharp-bang (311928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777418)

The impact would probably send dust high into the atmosphere

No signal, indeed. I seem to recall dust interference inhibiting communications recently. I bet the Spirit and Opportunity teams are not so excited.

Re:dust in the atmosphere (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778004)

Unless they can record the impact and keep the signal going as long as possible. And of course, there's the deal when in 20 years NASA hears this "beep, beep" cause something's still working.

Has someone (4, Funny)

nrgy (835451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777294)

informed the UAC base on Mars of the impending DOOM that is heading there way?

UAC ? (5, Funny)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777326)

Windows has detected an incoming Asteroid.

If you started this action, continue.

  [Continue] [Cancel]

User Account Control helps stop unauthorized changes to your planet.

Re:UAC ? (0, Redundant)

nrgy (835451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777350)

Whoosh!!!!

That one went over your head UAC [wikipedia.org] :)

Re:UAC ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777708)

Same to you mate: UAC [wikipedia.org] ;)

Re:Has someone (1)

ghostdancer (72944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777358)

Well, from what I gather about UAC:

The Union Aerospace Corporation is the largest corporate entity in existence. Originally focused on weapons and defense contracts, new ventures have expanded into biological research, space exploration, and other scientific endeavors. With unlimited funds and the ability to engage in research outside of moral and legal obligations, the UAC controls the most advanced technology ever conceived. The UAC contains many bases strewn about the surface of Mars.
Chances are, they would bring up a weapon that is powerful enough to blow the asteroid before it hit Mars.

Re:Has someone (1)

Gromius (677157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778708)

Chances are, they would bring up a weapon that is powerful enough to blow the asteroid before it hit Mars.

So you're saying all they need is a big fucking gun and they'll be fine. Do you really think they'll be able to find such a beast :)

Re:Has someone (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777588)

No, don't. I'm ready. I just knew my skillz in 2.5-D FPS would come in handy someday...

let's see...idclip...check
iddqd...check
idkfa...check

Re:Has someone (2, Funny)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777676)

God mode is all very well for you personally. But how do you plan on saving the rest of us by shooting down an asteroid when you can't look up?

Re:Has someone (1)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777698)

Just make sure the asteroid is in view and line up the crosshair along the y-axis. Auto aim takes care of the rest :D

what are the chances... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777298)

that it will hit some of the rovers?

Oblig. (1)

segwonk (1064462) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777310)

"Msar Bomba!" (Oh, come on - you know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba [wikipedia.org] )

Re:Oblig. (1)

gr8dude (832945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778652)

Of course we know what you mean... Except that 'tsar' means 'king' in Russian, and 'msar' means nothing in English. Perhaps it means something in the language of those who sent it towards Mars? ;-)

scientific bonanza? (4, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777312)

Um, so first a huge collection of rocks smacks into Jupiter, now another may hit Mars, and they're excited?

They sound awfully like ranging shots to me, I'm more inclined to get Venus to light the third cigarette and then be wery, wery, qwiet...

Re:scientific bonanza? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777534)

Why just make it the third to light the cigarette? Why not also give it a florescent balaclava and make it stand atop a ladder in the middle of no-man's land as well?

Re:scientific bonanza? (1)

Andrew Aguecheek (767620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777642)

Because to do that properly would involve endless cigarettes and we're not made of money.

Bad for studying Mars? (3, Insightful)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777314)

If it does hit or in some other way cloud the atmosphere of Mars, would this put the brakes on current and planned future studies of the planet?

A few years of darkened skies could finish off the rovers, or require better orbiting surveillance equipment, no?

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (3, Insightful)

bakuun (976228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777400)

I'd imagine that it's not big enough for that. Being in the same size class as the 1908 Tunguska asteroid, they should be fine (earth wasn't darkened by giant dust clouds in 1908, no?) While the article says that there will be a significant dust plume, I guess it'll seetle more rapidly and be more localized.

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (5, Insightful)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777464)

Even if it did, what we would learn would make it a more than fair trade. The mars rovers have done exceptionally well, but they won't last forever anyway. Its time to start thinking about the next generation of rovers, and manned missions back to the moon & to mars.

Also, the massive publicity if there was a hit, with the sorts of pictures NASA would get would hugely increase public interest and support in making sure we can predict early enough and prevent the same thing never happens here.

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21778620)

It might at least paint a real picture that Earth is not immune to these same kinds of events. Yes there will be some over-reaction in the media if it does hit Mars, but on the cosmic scale of things, Mars is our neighbor. And if your neighbor isn't immune from such an event, you are not immune from it either.

Aside from the massive amounts of science and learning that would come out of this, the next best thing would be a raised interest in astronomy, asteroid and NEO finding, and a larger push for change in certain government policies regarding such things.

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777484)

Earth has a much thicker atmosphere.

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (5, Insightful)

Peter Lake (260100) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777634)

The Tunguska asteroid exploded in the atmosphere, it did not hit the ground and raise dust.
If 2007-WD5 hits Mars it will probably not explode in the thin atmosphere but impact Martian soil and raise huge amounts of dust. Martian dust is fine-grained and lightweight, and can raise high in the atmosphere - as we have seen during the dust storms. So I guess the dust plume would not stay localized, and it could mean trouble for the rovers and even for the Phoenix-lander.

On the other hand the impact-crater would be very interesting to probe!

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778464)

Martian gravity's also 1/3 ours, so dust would be aloft that much longer.

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778772)

Tunguska was supposed to be about 10 megatons, recently downgraded to more like 5. We've had nuclear tests way bigger than that. None of them noticeably dimmed the planet.

Mars has global dust storms every couple of years anyway, which I expect put a LOT more dust into the air than an impact of this size. If I remember correctly the rovers have already weathered one of those.

Re:Bad for studying Mars? (3, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777472)

This is just a baby. There will be some fireworks, a big boom and some excited NASA scientists. :)
No extensive dust cloud or anything like that.

It'd be so awesome (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777330)

We'd be talking about it for decades. It might actually wake up some people to the NEA threat to our own planet. It might have a devastating and instant effect on the atmosphere of Mars.. which could actually make the planet a little warmer and a little more hospitable.

Re:It'd be so awesome (1)

kakofb (725561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777490)

Did you miss the part where they're comparing the size of the impact to an impact that Earth already had?

Re:It'd be so awesome (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777518)

Did you miss the part where the atmosphere of Earth and Mars are completely freakin' different?

Re:It'd be so awesome (1)

kakofb (725561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777704)

"It might actually wake up some people to the NEA threat to our own planet."
This is the part of your post I was referring to.

Re:It'd be so awesome (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777730)

A rock falling from the sky and hitting a planet is a rock falling from the sky and hitting a planet. People don't care about the NEA threat because they're sure it won't happen in their lifetime. Something like this is a wakeup call.

Re:It'd be so awesome (2, Funny)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778950)

You're completely leaving out the whole Planet X factor and the Niburu race. I don't think the NEAs are as big of a threat as Planet X. And I'm pretty certain that this object that they're talking about is really Planet X but they're not telling us to prevent widespread panic. That object isn't headed for Mars, it's going to pass between Earth and Mars and then the Niburu invasion will begin. From what I've been reading online, the power elite on Earth have made deals with the Niburu to spare their lives and the lives of their families. But the average earth man is doomed to live a life of slavery in the Niburu slave service. If our time stream hadn't been screwed with back in the 50s, we'd be fine. Apparently we were a much more advanced civilization before the 1950s. Pretty much all the "history" that takes place before the earl 50s is artificial. We already had space colonies throughout the galaxy and were trading with other races. But then another alien race messed with our time stream and changed the direction of the human race on Earth from that point on. They cooked up this fake history which was then set as our backdrop. But some of us are still aware of what happened. We just no longer have the memory of our former civilization to be able to fix the problem. And now we're powerless to defend ourselves from the dreaded Niburu! We're doomed!

And if it doesn't hit... (5, Interesting)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777334)

Even if it misses it should still be a little interesting. If it comes that close, its orbit will be greatly affected, observing the results should be useful?

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777440)

The asteroid is roughly 160 feet across
No, I highly doubt that this will significantly affect Mars' orbit at all.

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777622)

Even if it misses it should still be a little interesting. If it comes that close, its orbit will be greatly affected
missing something?

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777446)

and redirect it to hit on redmond to observe the results would be even better!

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (1)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777452)

And if it impacts then we have a great opportunity to examine further below the martian surface than we could if using small landing probes. So, it's a win win.

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (1)

coldcell (714061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777570)

Something 160 feet across whizzes by a planet measuring 6780 kilometers across and the orbit will be "greatly affected"...?

I don't think so somehow. Mind you, you did say a 'little' interesting.

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777648)

I think he meant it would affect the asteroid's orbit, not Mars'.

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778152)

The 50m chunk of rock will have its orbit affected rather significantly.

Re:And if it doesn't hit... (1)

ch0knuti (994541) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778140)

its orbit will be greatly affected
I was thinking about the same thing. What if it gets a slingshot boost sending it on a new trajectory intersecting Terra? Better get a shovel and start digging.

For their sake I hope it happens, but... (3, Interesting)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777336)

...if an Tunguska-sized impact occurs on the side of the planet we can't see, did it really happen at all?

Occluded for 2 weeks??? Bull**** (2, Insightful)

Ponderoid (311576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777398)

According to the article:

The asteroid is now behind the moon, he said, so it will be almost two weeks before observers can plot its course more accurately."

Nothing in solar orbit can stay occluded by our moon for that long. That's for about half of the moon's orbit! If I'm wrong about that, someone please draw me a diagram. *mutters something about lousy science reporting*

*** Ponder

Re:Occluded for 2 weeks??? Bull**** (2, Informative)

elFarto the 2nd (709099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777450)

It doesn't actually say it will be occluded for 2 weeks behind the Moon, it just says that it is currently occluded and it will be 2 weeks until they can calculate it's course. I assume the need to watch where it's going to predict it accurately.

Re:Occluded for 2 weeks??? Bull**** (2, Interesting)

Ponderoid (311576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777500)

If it's gonna take two weeks to get enough observations in to pin down its orbit, fine. Throwing in the fact there happens to be an occultation somewhere in there, which will last, what, an hour at most? That confuses the issue to the lay public. It's irrelevant for refining the asteroid's orbit. The article makes it sound like the asteroid will be hiding behind the moon for the entire period, when that can't possibly be the case.

*** Ponder

Re:Occluded for 2 weeks??? Bull**** (2, Funny)

Tenebrarum (887979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777856)

The article makes it sound like the asteroid will be hiding behind the moon for the entire period, when that can't possibly be the case.

Intelligent asteroid?

Re:Occluded for 2 weeks??? Bull**** (3, Interesting)

Ponderoid (311576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777890)

It just occurred to me that the astronomer being quoted might not have been referring to an occultation at all. That's a pretty rare event for any given asteroid. It's possible that the astronomer was referring to needing to wait for the bright moon to get out of the sky at the same time the asteroid is up, which can take a week or more, depending on its current phase. The extra extinction caused by a bright moon might be enough to prevent the detailed observations needed to get a good orbital fix on the asteroid. This still doesn't excuse the lousy science reporting, which flat-out declared the asteroid was behind the moon, and implied it would remain there for two weeks.

*** Ponder

New rover mission? (5, Interesting)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777412)

If the asteroid does hit the impact site would probably make for a good rover mission. Fresh samples of long buried rock without the extra hassle of having to dig it up!

The question is (3, Interesting)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777436)

How long would it take to get to the impact site, bearing in mind that it travels at an average speed of 1cm per second, and that dust in the atmosphere from the impact will probably drastically reduce it's recharge ability?

I think you'd get there quicker by launching another rover mission!!

Re:The question is (1)

Ponderoid (311576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777566)

I automatically inferred that the grandparent post was calling for a new rover mission, not for the current rovers to be sent there.

*** Ponder

Re:The question is (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778678)

How long would it take to get to the impact site

Well, it kind of greatly depends on where the impact site is relative to the rover, doesn't it? If the crater is a kilometer away, then I'm sure it will be visited. If it's 10,000 km away, then it will have to wait for a completely new rover mission.

Re:New rover mission? (2, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777650)

They'd need funding for another rover mission though... But let's tell Bush that "fresh soil" almost sounds like "fresh oil" and maybe he'll approve. :-)

This just in! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777466)

Small rock might hit bigger rock. More news @ 11

Bad news for the community (0, Redundant)

Zatic (790028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777468)

That spells bad new for the community and the Council of Elders. I wonder what K'Breel has to say about it.

beagle... (4, Funny)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777486)

Get the cameras rolling, I'm sure it'll be a better impact then the Beagle meteorite simulation of a few years ago.

:-)

(I do feel bad for poking fun at Beagle, many people much smarter then me put a lot of work into that probe.)

It won't be the same. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777506)

The received wisdom used to be that the meteorite, that caused the disaster in Tunguska, exploded above the surface of the earth. It entered the atmosphere at a relatively shallow angle and heated up much more than it would have if it had come straight down. The result was that a long relatively narrow area of forest was knocked down and there was no impact crater.

On Mars, the atmosphere is much less dense than that of the earth. The meteor in question is large. If it hits Mars, it will reach the surface, it won't vaporize in the atmosphere. The result will be much more like other impacts on the earth that did leave craters. In that light, the comparison with Tunguska doesn't make much sense. I don't know where Steve Chesley got his information on the size of the rock that exploded over Siberia but I bet it wasn't 160 feet across. Something that size would make it to the Earth's surface.

Do the rovers have seismographic instruments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777530)

I couldn't find an answer immediately by googling and someone that is more fascinated by this than I am probably knows already. If they do, what would such instruments indicate (other than the obvious vibrations) - could something else be concluded from what they register? Something about the composition of the planet?

Re:Do the rovers have seismographic instruments? (3, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777968)

If the picture's upside-down and the rover's not going anywhere, it was a big one.

Re:Do the rovers have seismographic instruments? (1)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778694)

Ha ha ha ha! Very funny. Wish I had mod points.

Tungusta "disaster"? (4, Insightful)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777536)

"Disaster" is a pretty hypy label for an event which led to no known loss of human life or property, and caused no significant environmental damage (yes, a lot of trees fell and some wildlife may have died, but it's not like it destroyed an ecosystem or led to an extinction of any species).

Most modern industrial projects are a bigger "disaster" in this sense than Tunguska. The event should be referred to as "phenomenon", or maybe just a "boom", but not a "disaster".

Re:Tungusta "disaster"? (1)

fracai (796392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778106)

haha, "The Tunguska Boom of 1908"

Gah, even Ghostbusters got it right.
"You have been a participant in the biggest interdimensional cross-rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909[sic]!"

Re:Tungusta "disaster"? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778538)

So: If an asteroid explodes in a forest and there is nobody around to hear it... ? =)

Are folks forgetting the relative lack air on mars (4, Interesting)

Almost-Retired (637760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777554)

I'll bet they are. Because we have this nice dense atmosphere to sustain our breathing, we tend to forget that mars has only 2 or 3% of the surface air pressure to heat and absorb energy from an incoming rock like we have. The damage will be from a direct surface hit at the rocks full speed and should be visible if it hits on our side of mars, and it will no doubt toss up a few megatons of ejecta, which due to the speed of the wind, will take a while to settle. That does have the possibility of finishing off the rovers. There is a slim chance some of the ejecta may even make it to earth and be found on the antarctic snow eventually, giving us a few more samples of our neighbor to study.

If it hits where we can see it, it should be quite a show and I hope they have a good number of our telescopes, even Hubble, recording like crazy.

I guess we'll find out January 30th. But if its on the far side, we may have to do before and after photo comparisons to find the crater once the dust has settled, and that won't be near as informative as a near side hit would be.

Humm, recently the chinese were accused of doctoring a moon photo. Makes me wonder if the moved crater might in fact be a new one?

--
Cheers, Gene
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
  soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
10) there is no 10, but it sounded like a nice number :)
                -- Wichert Akkerman

Re:Are folks forgetting the relative lack air on m (0, Flamebait)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777832)

Humm, recently the chinese were accused of doctoring a moon photo.

Only by mouth-breathers.

Might be bad for Earth... (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777714)

Mars gets hit, Mars blows chunks, Earth gets hit by Mars chucks, Andromeda strain wipes out life on Earth (like it did on Mars in the past) /Just sayin'

Re:Might be bad for Earth... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778564)

> Andromeda strain wipes out life on Earth (like it did on Mars in the past)

That sounds like a cool movie. What was it called?

Hm (0)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777728)

Four days after my birthday. A nice little birthday present from the Universe. Too bad gift wrapping an asteroid is pretty useless :-/

Re:Hm (1)

zoefff (61970) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777872)

exactly on my birthday. Bring on the fireworks :-)

Rovers? (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777732)

what will the effect be on the mars rovers i wonder.

Re:Rovers? (1)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778058)

Won't somebody please think of the rovers?!

In other news... (-1, Troll)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777840)

The Beagle 2 rover has been found. Astronomers watching the asteroid hit Mars say they saw the probe flash through their field of view just before it embedded itself in Natalie Portman's cleavage. Former US President William Clinton was first in line to try and extricate it. He is quoted as saying "Dammit, this thing is stuck good."

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777930)

...view just before it embedded itself in Natalie Portman's cleavage...

You must be referring to a different Natalie Portman. The one I know has none of this "cleavage" you refer to, without a serious application of duct tape.

Re:In other news... (0, Troll)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777988)

Portman's *ass* cleavage ;)

Hope it's not hairy, Ms. P :)

I only hope (1)

mariuszbi (1113049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777912)

... there is a martial Bruce Willis to save them.

Re:I only hope (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777972)

There is one, but hes too busy drinking his cocoa and putting his slippers on.

Article Worthless! (2, Funny)

oni (41625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778158)

This article is worthless to me because it doesn't give information in standard astronomical units of measure. I need to know how many hiroshimas and how many school buses this thing represents!

Statement from the Martian Ambassador (4, Funny)

goodEvans (112958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778252)

Ack ack ack ack, ack-ack ack ack-ack.

Ack, ack ACK-ack-ack, ack-ack ack-ack ack. Ack ack, ack-ack-ack-ack, ack ack ack.

Ack ack,

Ack-ack Ack-ack-ack-ack.

The face on Mars (2, Funny)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778486)

Remember the famous Face on Mars [wikipedia.org] ?

The Sandia labs simulation of the Tunguska impact [sandia.gov] has its own face - forward the video to 3.13e+00 seconds to see the Face of Tunguska!

Clearly, the Face on Mars is the "thumbprint" of a previous Tunguska event!

Oh My GOD!!!! (1, Insightful)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778618)

It's not an asteroid! It's Planet X! The Niburu are returning to enslave us all as has been predicted for centuries! There is a lot of good info out there on the internet about how the power elite on Earth have been in contact with the Niburu since some time in the 50s. Time has been manipulated and we've been fooled into thinking that where we are today is where we're supposed to be. But we were much more advanced technologically in the 1940s and 1950s until some of the other alien races started messing with our time stream. They've altered our reality and now we're powerless to defend ourselves against the Niburu. We're doomed! DOOMED!!!

Shades of Dr. Strrangelove (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778690)

Somehow I get this mental image of one of the rovers watching that fat rock come whistling down and flattening it, all the while transmitting images of its own impending demise. And to top it off, seeing Slim Pickens on top of that bastard, whooping it up and waving his cowboy hat around.

I gotta quit chugging those cans of Amp if I am to keep what is left of my sanity...

Re:Shades of Dr. Strrangelove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21778890)

Somehow I get this mental image of one of the rovers watching that fat rock come whistling down and flattening it, all the while transmitting images of its own impending demise.

Man, I guess I'm a dork for feeling a little sad about that. It just sounds so *noble*, this machine giving its life in the service of science...

Cue the David Bowie...

Ummm... (1)

solitas (916005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778814)

Tunguska (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event) wasn't an impact - Barringer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barringer_Crater) was an impact.
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