All eyes are on the asteroid Apophis, but a new threat--just 460 feet wide--dominated the conversation at a recent meeting of the UN Action Team on near-Earth objects (NEOs). Known as 2011 AG5, the asteroid could well be on a collision course with Earth in 2040, and some are already calling on scientists to figure out how to deflect it.
A large metallic ball has fallen from the heavens and landed in a remote region of Namibia, spurring a lot of speculation about its origins and spurring local authorities to get NASA and the European Space Agency on the horn. No one is sure where the hollow metallic object came from, but it definitely came down hard--it was found 60 feet away from its landing site, a hole more than a foot deep and 12 feet across.
Just this week, the crew aboard the International Space Station had to take shelter in its emergency quarters after a piece of a destroyed Chinese satellite passed “danger close” to the orbiting outpost, sharply reminding the space community of the dangers posed by space debris. The rest of us will get our reminder in November, when a massive asteroid will make a close flyby of Earth at a distance of just 0.85 lunar distances.
Perhaps the most unsettling thing about a planet-killing asteroid is that we might never see it coming. But this infographic by Mechanicsville, Md.-based designer Zachary Vabolis helpfully visualizes which candidate near-earth objects will be swinging through Earth’s neighborhood and when they’ll be closest.
Cue the Aerosmith soundtrack; a plan to send a manned space mission to land on an asteroid is gaining traction within both NASA and the aerospace industry as experts look to bridge the feasibility gap between lunar missions and an eventual rendezvous with Mars. Of course, no party is ruling out the possibility of an Armageddon-esque trip to a Near Earth Object (NEO) on a harmful trajectory, should the need arise in the future.
Did a German teenager find a glitch in NASA's asteroid collision estimates?
By Gregory MonePosted 04.21.2008 at 11:07 am 3 Comments
A German newspaper reported last week that 13-year-old Nico Marquardt corrected a few glitches in NASA's estimates regarding the chances of a certain asteroid colliding with Earth. NASA concluded that the Apophis space rock has only a 1 in 45,000 chance of knocking into us, but this school-kid announced that the space agency had missed a few zeros, suggesting that the probability is closer to 1 in 450. And while quite a few news reports backed him up, even claiming that NASA agreed Marquardt was correct, the space agency is sticking to its estimates.