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UK plan to track asteroid threat

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Image credit: NASA
Image credit: NASA
UK space scientists and engineers have designed a mission to investigate a potentially hazardous asteroid. The 300m-wide (980ft) rock, known as Apophis, will fly past Earth in April 2029 at a distance that is closer than many communications satellites.

Astrium, based in Stevenage, Herts, wants a probe to track the asteroid so its orbit can be better understood. The concept will compete for a $50,000 (£25,000) Planetary Society prize, but a full mission would cost millions.

news icon View: Full Article | Source: BBC News

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GBart the Nerd

If only NASA would get in on the act, we could have a little more effective system. I've (very) conservatively estimated the asteroid mentioned to have a mass of about 111 Billion Kg, assuming it's a perfect sphere of solid iron. Barring ridiculously early detection combined with ridiculously accurate path calculations, it would require a massive force to move such an object enough to keep it away from us. I guess it's feasible, but we need to start using nuclear engines. LOX is r******ed. If I remember correctly, using an estimated Isp etc, the space shuttle could be replaced with a nuclear rocket with about a quarter of the weight at liftoff.

Anyway, thanks to the UK for not believing that Biblical Armageddon is coming too soon to worry about asteroids and actually doing something about it.

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dcman
If only NASA would get in on the act, we could have a little more effective system.

It's not NASA getting in on the act it is the military, and the search for planet X no less.

Title:

The Search for Planet X: Testing Inferences from the Kuiper Cliff

Corporate Author:

NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS MD

Abstract:

The goal of this project was to search a large archive of astronomical CCD imagery to test the validity of arguments regarding the existence of a hypothetical "Planet X." As proposed by Brunini and Melita (2002) this object would be a low inclination Mars-sized body residing in the Kuiper belt between 55 and 75 astronomical units from the Sun. Resonances with this hypothetical planet form a convenient explanation of the "Edgeworth-Kuiper Cliff," the observation that no low eccentricity Kuiper Belt objects are found more than 47 AU from the Sun despite numerous searches. Although the proposed "Planet X" is relatively bright its distance means that it could easily have been mistaken for a stationary object by previous searches. This project utilized the image archives of the University of Arizona's Spacewatch Project a near-Earth asteroid survey based at Kitt Peak National Observatory including data from May of 2003 to April of 2006. The survey images were taken with a CCD mosaic camera on a 0.9 meter telescope with a 2.7 square degree field of view at 1" resolution to a limiting magnitude of 21.7. A unique feature of this survey was its reimaging of the same sky area every 3 to 7 nights. The survey's rate sensitivity was 20-60 times greater than existing surveys. The final search covered approximately 10,600 square degrees of sky within 10 degrees of the ecliptic. An automated motion detection program was modified for this multinight search and processed approximately 3 terabytes of imagery. Nonetheless visual validation of the candidates was still required. The efficiencies of the software and of the human reviewer were measured as functions of rate field clutter and signal-to-noise. Quality control on the data was performed and methodologies were developed to aid in determining the unique coverage of the search and the probability of detecting the planetary candidate.

Distribution Limitation(s):

01 - APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE

Source Code:

245600

Document Location:

DTIC

Geopolitical Code:

2404

Supplementary Notes:

The original document contains color images.

Distribution Statement:

Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Citation Created:

13 SEP 2006

http://tinyurl.com/2ysyc2

I don't want to even imagine a Mars-sized body residing in the Kuiper belt hurtling this way...I mean how would they stop it?

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Wolvenblood

If it will eventually hit earth, what would people be able to do to it to stop the impact?

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GreyWeather
If it will eventually hit earth, what would people be able to do to it to stop the impact?

BLOW IT UP! YEEEEHAAWWW.

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greggK

The Chinese may beat that asteroid with their lead paint!

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swtp

I,m not sure they could stop it,but if it was going to hit us would you want to be told in advance or stay blissfully ignorant till it smacked into us? Personally i don,t want to know about it, i,m already too freaked out about things i have no controle over!

Edited by swtp

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Bella-Angelique

April 18, 2008

Apophis asteroid likely to hit Earth says German kid, NASA says otherwise - Image 1It was just recently when German 13-year old school boy named Nico Marquardt has predicted that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth.

Marquardt utilized scientific methods such as telescopic findings. Some reports have even went on and mentioned that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA has verified the kid's claims.

The asteroid Apophis will come close to Earth on April 13 2029. However, NASA sent out an official press release today saying that its offices involved in near-Earth object research were not contacted.

It added that they have had no correspondence with the said young German student. The statement continues:

This student's conclusion reportedly is based on the possibility of a collision with an artificial satellite during the asteroid's close approach in April 2029.

source

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Raptor
BLOW IT UP! YEEEEHAAWWW.

Or plant a small propulsive device on it's surface that will gently nudge it from it's path.

What? :ph34r: That's fun, too!

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