Posts tagged asteroid

More info on the Chelyabinsk asteroid has been revealed:
The object started forming from molten droplets 4.56 billion years ago, just after the solar system started coming together.
Over the next 10 million years it gathered together enough dust particles to become an asteroid around 60 miles wide.
"Shock veins" in the rock show it had a major impact 125 million years after the solar system started forming.
Between 4.3 and 3.8 billion years ago it absorbed many more shocks during the late heavy bombardment.
Two more impacts occurred in the last 500 million years.
1.2 million years ago, a final impact created the 65 foot wide (20 meter) rock which hit Chelyabinsk in February.
The Chelyabinsk asteroid that landed on Earth was once part of a bigger body known as the LL chondrite parent body, and was probably buried several kilometers beneath the surface of this object.
Other fragments of the LL chondrite are still known to researchers to exist in space, including the 540m asteroid Itokawa, which a Japanese spacecraft visited in 2005.

More info on the Chelyabinsk asteroid has been revealed:

  • The object started forming from molten droplets 4.56 billion years ago, just after the solar system started coming together.
  • Over the next 10 million years it gathered together enough dust particles to become an asteroid around 60 miles wide.
  • "Shock veins" in the rock show it had a major impact 125 million years after the solar system started forming.
  • Between 4.3 and 3.8 billion years ago it absorbed many more shocks during the late heavy bombardment.
  • Two more impacts occurred in the last 500 million years.
  • 1.2 million years ago, a final impact created the 65 foot wide (20 meter) rock which hit Chelyabinsk in February.

The Chelyabinsk asteroid that landed on Earth was once part of a bigger body known as the LL chondrite parent body, and was probably buried several kilometers beneath the surface of this object.

Other fragments of the LL chondrite are still known to researchers to exist in space, including the 540m asteroid Itokawa, which a Japanese spacecraft visited in 2005.

'Apophis' asteroid could take out satellites in 2029.
The European Space Agency had updated it’s predictions for the trajectory of asteroid 99942 ‘Apophis’, based on new data gathered as it passed about 14.5 million from Earth last weekend.
The new data shows the asteroid is bigger than previously thought. “The 20% increase in diameter, from 270 to 325m, translates into a 75% increase in our estimates of the asteroid’s volume or mass,” says Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, who is leading the analysis of the new data. The team also gathered new data on the albedo (a measure of reflectivity) of Apophis, which is important for trajectory modelling, given that heating from the Sun can influence it’s path.
The updated model shows Apophis will pass within 36,000km of Earth’s surface - well within the orbit of some satellites. That distance just happens to be the lower limit of geostationary satellite orbits, which are most often used for communication and broadcast, as well as weather and classified military satellites. Although there’s currently around 400 currently outside this geosynchronous orbit, there are even more at the most used altitude of around 20,200km. If future updates on the trajectory show it coming that close there’s a chance it could take out navigation and communication satellites in Medium Earth Orbit, such as GPS and Glonass.
Apophis will pass Earth yet again in 2036, but that orbit is unlikely to be fully understood until after the 2029 pass with Earth, which will change the trajectory of the asteroid.

'Apophis' asteroid could take out satellites in 2029.

The European Space Agency had updated it’s predictions for the trajectory of asteroid 99942 ‘Apophis’, based on new data gathered as it passed about 14.5 million from Earth last weekend.

The new data shows the asteroid is bigger than previously thought. “The 20% increase in diameter, from 270 to 325m, translates into a 75% increase in our estimates of the asteroid’s volume or mass,” says Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, who is leading the analysis of the new data. The team also gathered new data on the albedo (a measure of reflectivity) of Apophis, which is important for trajectory modelling, given that heating from the Sun can influence it’s path.

The updated model shows Apophis will pass within 36,000km of Earth’s surface - well within the orbit of some satellites. That distance just happens to be the lower limit of geostationary satellite orbits, which are most often used for communication and broadcast, as well as weather and classified military satellites. Although there’s currently around 400 currently outside this geosynchronous orbit, there are even more at the most used altitude of around 20,200km. If future updates on the trajectory show it coming that close there’s a chance it could take out navigation and communication satellites in Medium Earth Orbit, such as GPS and Glonass.

Apophis will pass Earth yet again in 2036, but that orbit is unlikely to be fully understood until after the 2029 pass with Earth, which will change the trajectory of the asteroid.

World’s biggest diamond resource was created by an asteroid impact.
It turns out Russia has been sitting quietly on a supply of diamonds so large that it’s thought to be more diamonds than in the rest of the world’s supply combined.
The diamonds were created by an asteroid impact into Siberia 35 million years ago, creating an impact zone 62 miles in diameter. The impact started a process to turn an enormous amount of graphite into trillions of tons of diamond, known as impact diamonds, or impactite.
Impact diamonds are especially valuable as they are twice as hard as normal diamond. They can’t be used for jewels, but are sought after in industrial applications for their strength and cutting power.
The supply is said to be enough to satisfy global demand for 3,000 years.

World’s biggest diamond resource was created by an asteroid impact.

It turns out Russia has been sitting quietly on a supply of diamonds so large that it’s thought to be more diamonds than in the rest of the world’s supply combined.

The diamonds were created by an asteroid impact into Siberia 35 million years ago, creating an impact zone 62 miles in diameter. The impact started a process to turn an enormous amount of graphite into trillions of tons of diamond, known as impact diamonds, or impactite.

Impact diamonds are especially valuable as they are twice as hard as normal diamond. They can’t be used for jewels, but are sought after in industrial applications for their strength and cutting power.

The supply is said to be enough to satisfy global demand for 3,000 years.

Asteroid could hit Earth in 2040. 
Asteroid 2011 AG5 has a one in 625 chance of hitting the earth in 2040, with the force of 100 megatons of TNT, according to data presented last month at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (yeah, it’s a thing).
2011 AG5 is 140 metres wide, and currently has an impact probability of 1 in 625 for Feb. 5, 2040. It will be visible from Earth between 2013-2016, when further calculations will be carried out on its trajectory.
If the chance of an impact does not significantly decrease, the committee will look to launch a project to alter its course before 2023.

Asteroid could hit Earth in 2040.

Asteroid 2011 AG5 has a one in 625 chance of hitting the earth in 2040, with the force of 100 megatons of TNT, according to data presented last month at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (yeah, it’s a thing).

2011 AG5 is 140 metres wide, and currently has an impact probability of 1 in 625 for Feb. 5, 2040. It will be visible from Earth between 2013-2016, when further calculations will be carried out on its trajectory.

If the chance of an impact does not significantly decrease, the committee will look to launch a project to alter its course before 2023.

NASA tracking asteroid passing Earth on November 8.
Asteroid 2005 YU55 will be tracked for at least four hours each day between November 6 and 10, with observations starting at the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility on November 8.
At it’s closest pass to Earth the asteroid will be 324,600km away, or 0.85 of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

NASA tracking asteroid passing Earth on November 8.

Asteroid 2005 YU55 will be tracked for at least four hours each day between November 6 and 10, with observations starting at the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility on November 8.

At it’s closest pass to Earth the asteroid will be 324,600km away, or 0.85 of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Idea proposed to move asteroid into Earth orbit.
Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing have put forward a plan to put an asteroid into orbit around Earth, at around twice the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
While most research in that field discusses what to do if an asteroid is discovered to be heading towards Earth, the team found an asteroid called 2008EA9, which they say comes so close to ‘accidentally’ entering our orbit anyway, only a small nudge would put it into orbit for a few years at least. This proces has occurred naturally in our solar system in the past, when the comet Oterma entered orbit around Jupiter for two years from 1936, before heading back out into the solar system.
Having the asteroid nearby would make it ideal for research and perhaps even mining.

Idea proposed to move asteroid into Earth orbit.

Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing have put forward a plan to put an asteroid into orbit around Earth, at around twice the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

While most research in that field discusses what to do if an asteroid is discovered to be heading towards Earth, the team found an asteroid called 2008EA9, which they say comes so close to ‘accidentally’ entering our orbit anyway, only a small nudge would put it into orbit for a few years at least. This proces has occurred naturally in our solar system in the past, when the comet Oterma entered orbit around Jupiter for two years from 1936, before heading back out into the solar system.

Having the asteroid nearby would make it ideal for research and perhaps even mining.

China also decides to mess with near Earth asteroid Aphophis.
As covered here last month, the European Space Agency is planning to try and move 99942 Aphophis; a near Earth asteroid which has a 1 in 250,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2036.
Now China has announced it also plans to have a go, with a plan to send a roughly 20 pound spacecraft crashing into the same asteroid to study the effects. While the Chinese craft is significantly smaller than the 1,100 pound craft the ESA is planning to use, it’s speed will be much faster at impact - around 200,000 miler per hour.
It’s worth noting that neither mission is actively trying to stop the asteroid hitting Earth, but the size of the asteroid and the relatively close pass it will be making to Earth have made it an easy target for research. Both groups are aiming to put together useable reaction plans should an asteroid be discovered on a path to hit Earth in the future.

China also decides to mess with near Earth asteroid Aphophis.

As covered here last month, the European Space Agency is planning to try and move 99942 Aphophis; a near Earth asteroid which has a 1 in 250,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2036.

Now China has announced it also plans to have a go, with a plan to send a roughly 20 pound spacecraft crashing into the same asteroid to study the effects. While the Chinese craft is significantly smaller than the 1,100 pound craft the ESA is planning to use, it’s speed will be much faster at impact - around 200,000 miler per hour.

It’s worth noting that neither mission is actively trying to stop the asteroid hitting Earth, but the size of the asteroid and the relatively close pass it will be making to Earth have made it an easy target for research. Both groups are aiming to put together useable reaction plans should an asteroid be discovered on a path to hit Earth in the future.

European Space Agency planning mission to move an asteroid.
The program, called Don Quijote, has been underway since 2002, and aims to send two spacecraft to a near Earth asteroid. One craft would be used to smash into the asteroid to throw it off course, with the other to orbit the asteroid and watch the effects of the collision. Scientists hope to use this data to allow a future mission to be quickly launched, if an asteroid is found to be heading towards Earth.
New research published last month is now pushing for extra equipment to be placed on the orbiting satellite. They argue that watching the impact is not enough - the spacecraft also needs to measure the mass, density, speed, and type of material of the asteroid to allow the required calculations to be completed.
While it will make the mission better overall, it does add a huge cost to the mission which is currently being funded solely by the European Space Agency.

European Space Agency planning mission to move an asteroid.

The program, called Don Quijote, has been underway since 2002, and aims to send two spacecraft to a near Earth asteroid. One craft would be used to smash into the asteroid to throw it off course, with the other to orbit the asteroid and watch the effects of the collision. Scientists hope to use this data to allow a future mission to be quickly launched, if an asteroid is found to be heading towards Earth.

New research published last month is now pushing for extra equipment to be placed on the orbiting satellite. They argue that watching the impact is not enough - the spacecraft also needs to measure the mass, density, speed, and type of material of the asteroid to allow the required calculations to be completed.

While it will make the mission better overall, it does add a huge cost to the mission which is currently being funded solely by the European Space Agency.