Asteroid Flyby Going to be Visible without Telescopes


Blue Velvet

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Jul 4, 2004
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"Whether you could see it from the center of London is another matter," said Alan Harris of the Space Science Institute.

Poo.

Mind you, I'll be 65 then and may just be needing my glasses.

Still, that's really close. Unnervingly close...
 

Mr. Anderson

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Nov 1, 2001
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Given that much time, who knows if its trajectory will change or not. They didn't mention how many orbits it will make around the solar system between now and then and given the dynamics of gravitational perturbations on cyclical orbits on asteroids like this and the planets it might pass close to, we could get an even closer view, or no view or worse yet, too close a view.

D
 

emw

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Aug 2, 2004
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Mr. Anderson said:
Given that much time, who knows if its trajectory will change or not. They didn't mention how many orbits it will make around the solar system between now and then and given the dynamics of gravitational perturbations on cyclical orbits on asteroids like this and the planets it might pass close to, we could get an even closer view, or no view or worse yet, too close a view.

D
They did mention that
2004 MN4 circles the Sun, but unlike most asteroids that reside in a belt between Mars and Jupiter, the 323-day orbit of 2004 MN4 lies mostly within the orbit of Earth.
which, if my early morning math can be trusted, it would make roughly 27 trips around the sun in that time.

It does not, however, give any good indication of how close it may come to other planets.

But to think it will pass inside the orbits of some satellites is pretty mind boggling. It could, perhaps, even wipe out a few of them, I would think. But 24 years is a long time for us to develop more advanced tracking or defense systems.
 

whocares

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Oct 9, 2002
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emw said:
It does not, however, give any good indication of how close it may come to other planets.
Yes it does (sorta): its orbit is similar to that of the Earth, hence unlikely to cross other planet orbits (except maybe Mars). ;) :cool:

2004 MN4 circles the Sun, but unlike most asteroids that reside in a belt between Mars and Jupiter, the 323-day orbit of 2004 MN4 lies mostly within the orbit of Earth.
 

emw

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Aug 2, 2004
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Blue Velvet said:
Or get Bruce Willis suited & booted for zero G...
:D

And this is the best that you - that the government, the U.S. government could come up with? I mean, you're NASA for crying out loud, you put a man on the moon, you're geniuses! You're the guys that're thinking **** up! I'm sure you got a team of men sitting around somewhere right now just thinking **** up and somebody backing them up! You're telling me you don't have a backup plan, that these eight boy scouts right here, that is the world's hope, that's what you're telling me?
 

Mr. Anderson

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emw said:
They did mention that
which, if my early morning math can be trusted, it would make roughly 27 trips around the sun in that time.
Bleh, I hate when I miss stuff like that....thanks.

But that's exactly it, 27 orbits is quite a lot, also bringing it within possibly areas where other planets (Earth and the Moon) would *bump* the thing off its current trajectory. So we'll probably need to wait 10 or more years at least to really know if its going to be that close.

D
 

Daveway

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Jul 10, 2004
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Geee. Thanks for the advanced notice. I'll have to mark my calendar for 2027.
They'll tell us about an asteroid coming decades away but they couldn't tell us about the one that almost hit us a few years ago.
 

stoid

macrumors 601
My guess is that in the next 25 years, technology will have advanced far enough to the point that we will catch the asteroid at it's closest point and utilize it to build a space elevator. The biggest technical hurdle I see at this point is the lack of a space side anchor. Seems to me that a 1000-foot wide asteroid would be a perfect candidate!
 

emw

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Aug 2, 2004
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daveway00 said:
Geee. Thanks for the advanced notice. I'll have to mark my calendar for 2027.
They'll tell us about an asteroid coming decades away but they couldn't tell us about the one that almost hit us a few years ago.
It's not always that easy to find these things hurtling through space. It's a big area out there, and we're bound to miss a few. Hopefully, they'll miss us too ;)
 

agreenster

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Dec 6, 2001
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Still, its just going to look like a fast moving star. Kinda boring if you ask me.

Now another Hale-Bop Comet would be cool to see. THAT was one of the most dramatic space events in my lifetime, methinks.
 

Mr. Anderson

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agreenster said:
Still, its just going to look like a fast moving star. Kinda boring if you ask me.

Now another Hale-Bop Comet would be cool to see. THAT was one of the most dramatic space events in my lifetime, methinks.
Well, that's somewhat true. But I remember going out one night for the last flyby of Mir before it went down and managed to see it. I'll always remember that one.

Also, if its that close, the replacement of the Hubble will get some nice pics :D

And I don't think we'd be able to capture it by 2029 - that thing is 1000' across. You'd need some serious thrust to stop that or even move it in an orbit between the earth and the moon.

D
 

iGav

macrumors G3
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
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agreenster said:
Now another Hale-Bop Comet would be cool to see. THAT was one of the most dramatic space events in my lifetime, methinks.
Hale-Bopp was visible for days as well... one of the most beautiful, and awe inspiring things I have ever seen. :)

So 2029... I'll be 51!! :)
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
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Mr. Anderson said:
And I don't think we'd be able to capture it by 2029 - that thing is 1000' across. You'd need some serious thrust to stop that or even move it in an orbit between the earth and the moon.
The trick to "capturing" an asteroid is to send a robotic spacecraft to land on the asteroid, and then use the raw materials found there to build an engine (or series of engines) that would then use the raw asteroid material as propellant... rather than capturing it, you would control its velocity and steer it into an orbit that you specify.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't state if this particular asteroid is metallic/rock or carbonaceous/ice. A captured metal/rock asteroid would be valuable from the perspective of the minerals it contains, but a carbon/ice asteroid would be valuable for its water (billions of tons of water already in orbit would be a boon to space exploration efforts) and for its organics (carbon compounds can be synthesized into plastics and, along with the water, fuel).
 

emw

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Aug 2, 2004
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Applespider said:
That would be Friday the 13th of April... hmm, I wonder how many cults will incorporate that date into their 'myths'.

"And lo, on Friday 13th, a giant asteroid shaped like Bill Gates head will crash into Cupertino" :p
Ah, good catch! I didn't think to look if the 13th fell on a Friday.
 

javabear90

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Dec 7, 2003
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Applespider said:
That would be Friday the 13th of April... hmm, I wonder how many cults will incorporate that date into their 'myths'.

"And lo, on Friday 13th, a giant asteroid shaped like Bill Gates head will crash into Cupertino" :p
Actually Acoriding to iCal and the date and time calender it would be a monday..
 

joepunk

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Aug 5, 2004
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Mr. Anderson said:
Also, if its that close, the replacement of the Hubble will get some nice pics :D

D
Just so you know NASA is ending the life of Hubble after this year. So, no Hubble pictures. Sorry :(

Distance of the moon from Earth: 384,400 km

Estimated distance of asteroid from Earth: 36,350 km

Hale Bopp comet distance from Earth: 200 million km

Just some info I had to find out for myself and I thought I would share it with all of you.

I will be about 48 years old by the time it passes. Hopefully my eye sight will not go bad on me or they perfect eye surgery where there will be no chances of any problems that could arise.
 

MacSA

macrumors 68000
Jun 4, 2003
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Here's the original news article at JPL's NEO website:

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news149.html

Radar observations taken at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on January 27, 29, and 30 have significantly improved our estimate for the orbit of asteroid 2004 MN4 and changed the circumstances of the Earth close approach in 2029. On April 13, 2029, the predicted trajectory now passes within 5.7 Earth radii (36,350 km or 22,600 miles) of the Earth's center - just below the altitude of geosynchronous Earth satellites