NASA to Chronicle Close Earth Flyby of Asteroid today ( 02/15/2013 )

United States
February 15, 2013 2:53pm CST
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/asteroids/news/asteroid20130201315144.html I find this all very fascinating.. "NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 11 a.m. during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close. The half-hour broadcast from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting. At the time of its closest approach to Earth at approximately 11:25 a.m. PST (2:25 p.m. EST / 19:25 UTC), the asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth's surface. The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid's flyby before and after closest approach, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) and continuing through the afternoon at the following website: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 " This asteroid is roughly the size of half a football field, or a twelve story building. There's a huge crater in Arizona where another large asteroid fell and an asteroid flying close to the earth, called the Tunguska event was an enormously powerful explosion that occurred near (and later struck) the Tunguska River in Russia, in 1908. The explosion, having the epicenter is believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 3–6 mi (5–10 kilometres) above the Earth's surface. Different studies have yielded widely varying estimates of the object's size, but it is the largest impact event on or near Earth in recorded history. Although the meteoroid or comet appears to have burst in the air rather than hitting the surface, this event still is referred to as an impact. Estimates of the energy of the blast range from 5 to as high as 30 megatons of TNT with 10–15 megatons of TNT the most likely—roughly equal to the United States' Castle Bravo thermonuclear bomb tested on March 1, 1954; about 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan; and about two-fifths the power of the later Soviet Union's own Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated. The Tunguska explosion knocked an estimated 80 million trees down over an area covering 830 sq mi (2,150 square kilometres). It is estimated that the shock wave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter scale. An explosion of this magnitude is capable of destroying a large metropolitan area. This possibility has helped to spark discussion of asteroid deflection strategies. How about that!? Do you think it's a good idea to study this along with possible "deflection strategies"?
4 responses
@matersfish (6311)
• United States
15 Feb 13
Important to study? Very! Now, I really don't want to make this religious or political, but I'd be remiss to not mention some of the conversations I've had with people about potential meteor strikes and the methods by which we could prevent an asteroid/comet (NEO in general) becoming a meteor. Some tell me that we are protected by this or that, or that it's inevitable because of this or that. Others tell me they don't believe tax money should be going to such nonsense. If only we could ask the dinosaurs what they thought. Hopefully the rest of the world is stepping up and looking at deflection/altering technologies and methods. Because while Bruce Willis can save the world while donning an American Flag, our kids seem to be growing up with very little interest in real science. I don't think we put as much emphasis on space as we should. No real use to keep going to the moon. We don't need to send James Cameron to Mars. But deflecting a potentially civilization-ending space rock? Might come in handy for future generations! The speed at which these things are traveling literally makes them WMDs. Explode in the atmosphere or immediately upon contact with the surface of the earth, even the water, is the only way to stop them once they're here. That's scary. And what's even scarier is that the world's on alert now, but dozens of these things pass through our atmosphere every day. Every time you see a "shooting star," that's what it is. Most aren't really big, but they're forever wreaking havoc on us.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Feb 13
hi Matersfish, though I don't believe the theory about the dinosaurs and a comet, I agree we should study this topic, but hopefully they won't waste too much money or pad the bill with personal expenses. I would assume like with "Apocalypse Now" (was that the name) which you alluded to (with Bruce Willis) that some sort of atomic bomb could do the trick, hopefully far enough 'out there' to prevent collateral damage! On that I have to agree with Peavey, more often than not human brainiacs and intervention causes more harm than good. And I can just imagine the one coming to take us out getting closer and closer while government exchanges insults and bickers over the proper response, and then the remedy getting stalled for weeks or months in lumbering bureaucracy! Then we survivors, if government were still intact (heaven forbid?) we'd have to listen to a blame game to out shine all blame games!
• United States
15 Feb 13
If you're speaking about warmongering power-hungry types who want to create deathweapons, or an intrusive government that wants to centralize everything, I agree. But NASA is not made up of those individuals. NASA is only funded by government. You don't become a brilliant astrophysicist or an authority in propulsion or an engineer by popular vote. These are genius minds, by and large, relying on funding. It's not as if Congress is going to gather 'round and think up ways to deflect an asteroid. It's not going to be those on the level of John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. It's going to be those on the level of Amy Mainzer and Stephen Hawking and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
• United States
16 Feb 13
Coming back to check if the above responder had answered yet about who was trying to cancel thermodynamics (something I guess won't be answered now; though I am curious), I reread this and that dinosaur bit is still poking at me. There are multiple competing hypotheses as to what eliminated the dinosaurs, with a meteorite strike being the one that has had enough evidence to become a theory. Which extinction version do you believe? I'm curious to know. It wasn't until I started on myLot that I began to meet people with such differing views about dinosaurs in particular. Some people don't believe they existed at all, in the context of paleontology and millions of years, save a few that walked around with humans only a few thousand years ago.
@lampar (7605)
• United States
3 Apr 13
I think with whatever resources and tools available inside NASA
@CODYMAC (1357)
• San Diego, California
19 Feb 13
These "out of the blue" are normal. So they will seriously waste their time studying them. I mean they waste our tax payer money doing it even if we do not want them too, but as was stated, they will do it anyway. I dont see that it will help anything. As everyone knows, the threat is not what we can see, but what we can not see. I think that meteor that hit Russia the other day is a great example. They didnt even know that one was coming.
@bestboy19 (5482)
• United States
16 Feb 13
I don't see why not. Even if it wasn't a good idea, they're scientist, of course they're going to study it.