NASA Detects A "Potentially Hazardous" Asteroid

NASA Detects A "Potentially Hazardous" Asteroid

NEOWISE Space Telescope - Main

A newly discovered asteroid is heading for the earth, but don't panic just yet.

In 2011, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a space telescope that had been actively detecting astroids since 2009, was placed in hibernation after completing its mission. But last August, NASA reactivated the device for another three-year assignment and WISE quickly uncovered some distressing news.

NEOWISE, the telescope's new moniker, identified a near-earth asteroid called 2013 YP139. The object was confirmed by the University of Arizona, Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, and an amateur astronomer at the Great Shefford Observatory in Berkshire, England.

NASA estimates that the asteroid is about 0.4 miles in diameter. For comparison, the meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk last February was roughly 65 feet. Thankfully, researchers expect YP139 to miss the earth by about 300,000 miles. Plus, its currently 27 million miles from the earth, which means that it won't reach us until our great-grandchildren are running the show.

Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE's chief investigator, is enthusiastic about the project's early success. "We are delighted to get back to finding and characterizing asteroids and comets, especially those that come into Earth's neighborhood," she said. "With our infrared sensors that detect heat, we can learn about their sizes and reflectiveness."

During its original mission, WISE found more than 34,000 asteroids and characterized 158,000 throughout the solar system. So, over the next three years, its probably safe to assume that you're going to read a few more alarmist news stories like this one.

Also, I'd like to point out that I didn't make a single Bruce Willis joke in this article. That kind of self control is unheard of among internet writers.

Source: NASA

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Lets decrease nuclear arsenal, they said.
Who really need 1 gigaton thermonukes, they said.
Lets make peace not war, they said.
Well, when some meteor will crash into Earth and life will go extinct, there will be peace, plenty of that shit.
Fuck that kind of peace!
I say we need more fusion bombs, bigger and more powerful.
And ballistic missiles with interplanetary capabilities.
So whenever something will be heading for Earth we will make it suffer.
Some tree-hugging hippies may save one or two species from extinction, but only military superpowers with tons of fusion bombs can save all of them.

.

But to be serious, is there any reaction plan in case some meteor or asteroid decides to visit our planet?

blackrave:
]But to be serious, is there any reaction plan in case some meteor or asteroid decides to visit our planet?

Sure. The current concept is a gravity tractor. They send out a satellite to the asteroid and the satellite flies just in front of the asteroid. Then it flies just off center, and its impact on the asteroid's gravity slowly (but surely) changes its course.

Link.

Josh Engen:
a single Bruce Willis joke

I DON'T WANNA CLOSE MY EYEEEEEEEEES
I DON'T WANNA FALL ASLEEP~

and on.

It pleases me that NASA has made the news. I'd like to see some funding return to them so that adventures in space can continue.

I was going to make a joke about how we should look into parenting techniques to make kids into bruce willis, but then that last line made me feel guilty about it.

Anyways, I'm just kinda glad we have this sort of shit out there looking for threats. I sure don't want to depend on some kid in his back yard with a cheap teloscope spotting the next planet killer.

blackrave:

But to be serious, is there any reaction plan in case some meteor or asteroid decides to visit our planet?

It is actually a fact that we CAN launch missles at it and change its course, if necessary. Armageddon was entertaining, but ultimately bullshit. Here's what I'm really worried about:

blackrave:
Lets decrease nuclear arsenal, they said.
Who really need 1 gigaton thermonukes, they said.
Lets make peace not war, they said.
Well, when some meteor will crash into Earth and life will go extinct, there will be peace, plenty of that shit.
Fuck that kind of peace!
I say we need more fusion bombs, bigger and more powerful.
And ballistic missiles with interplanetary capabilities.
So whenever something will be heading for Earth we will make it suffer.
Some tree-hugging hippies may save one or two species from extinction, but only military superpowers with tons of fusion bombs can save all of them.

.

But to be serious, is there any reaction plan in case some meteor or asteroid decides to visit our planet?

Well actually a nuke is probably the worst thing to use, depending on what type it is (and a few actual options to answer your question):

Although if you feel like you don't need sleep tonight, here's a doco on the topic of an asteroid hitting earth, including discussion of how we may take it out etc, it's longer and more detailed:

Personally I prefer the heat ray/laser options, safer and best chance of pulling a mission off. It's precision is exactly what we would need.

There are a nuumber of suggested methods of saving us from astroid collision.

Mostly these days they focus on imparting a steady but relatively weak force on the astreoid for extended periods. Lasers, solar sales, nuclear engines (cant recall if thermal rocket desing or pulse or another), chemical rockets are among the suggested methods of acheiving this. Most would take a good while to work.

In general destroying the asteroid or using large explosive forces to divert (whether conventional or nuclear for either) has fallen out of fasion. Though as stated if annialation is certain if other methods have failed we do have the ability to deliver missiles for surface impact explosions as an oh shit we're going to die anyway last resort. Likely wouldnt help much though.

RicoADF:
Well actually a nuke is probably the worst thing to use, depending on what type it is (and a few actual options to answer your question):

Although if you feel like you don't need sleep tonight, here's a doco on the topic of an asteroid hitting earth, including discussion of how we may take it out etc, it's longer and more detailed:

Personally I prefer the heat ray/laser options, safer and best chance of pulling a mission off. It's precision is exactly what we would need.

Thank you, that was quite informing.
I knew that direct destruction wasn't an option, but other ways of deflecting asteroid never crossed my mind.

I always thought this was a good incentive to focus more on space travel in our solar system. I mean, I sort of figure that if you can travel around the solar system with at least relative ease (as easy as it can get with space travel) you should be able to steer off some bitch ass asteroid every once in a while. Hate those things, they give me the creeps. Makes me feel vulnerable. At least I can console myself with the fact that 400 m is hardly an extinction level event. More like very bad news for whatever region takes it to the face.

EDIT: Isnīt this old news? I think it is. I recall the russian foreign minister going "Ehrmagerd itīs gonna blow up the planet!" about a 400 m asteroid.

Not to worry then. In the unlikely event it will collide with the Earth, I'm sure that by then we'll just be able to stop it in orbit and be able to mine it or something.

Dead Raen:

Josh Engen:
a single Bruce Willis joke

I DON'T WANNA CLOSE MY EYEEEEEEEEES
I DON'T WANNA FALL ASLEEP~

and on.

It pleases me that NASA has made the news. I'd like to see some funding return to them so that adventures in space can continue.

GOD DAMN YOU. That song is going to be stuck in my head all day now!

I HATE THAT SONG.

Didn't NASA get a bigger budget this year? Definitely enough to fund the James Webb space telescope and the SLS, but I'm not sure how much further the budget goes.

 

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