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Author Topic: Asteroid Impact thread - Alas, Mastodon
Starsnuffer
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Oh. Also in either/both cosmos and Pale Blue Dot he has the graph of rate of collisions relative to their size (statistically) (They're from some other guy, but they're interesting...)
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
1 in 75 chance of a skyscraper sized asteroid hitting Mars in January. Stay tuned for more info!

It's a shooting gallery out there, y'all!

Probability of asteroid strike has risen to 1 in 25!
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Tatiana
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I'm so watching this one if it hits. Jupiter was amazing and cool in 1994 when Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit! Mars is so much closer! Oh I hope it won't hurt Spirit and Opportunity, though!
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Tatiana
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By the way, Mars is about the same size planet as Earth. It's a bit closer to the asteroid belt, but otherwise, very similar to earth in all its characteristics as a target body. This should show that there's quite a good chance of these things hitting us as well, and it only makes good sense for us to begin work on a defense system (while, of course, continuing to survey the sky for possible impacting bodies). Had we begun in 1999, when I first started talking about it, we could be nearly ready by now. As it is, we have no idea when we're going to need it. Let's get going on it right away.

[ December 31, 2007, 11:51 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Starsnuffer
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Actually, Mars's radius is .533 that of Earth's radius. Making it nearly half Earth's size. wiki

This only furthers your case that stuff will hit the Earth, so please don't hate my contradiction.

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Tatiana
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lol, it's okay! I just meant it's not a gas giant like Jupiter, which we've already seen get hammered in 1994.
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Tatiana
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I've been thinking.... what if it was earth? What would we do?
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TomDavidson
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Stop worrying about my credit card payments.
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The Reader
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We would get out of the way, if possible. It would be too close at this point to do anything but watch. The danger is that it could destroy a city or a small nation if it were to impact land in a populated area. If it hits in Siberia or the ocean, I don't think there would be much to worry about, except for a tsunami.

The Tunguska event was caused by something about the size of the Mars impactor. I went to Impact Effects to see what the damage would be in water. I don't know how accurate the site is, but if true the impactor would open a crater in the water about a mile wide. There would be some big waves from that.

I am hoping that the morning of January 30 is clear here. Mars just left opposition, so the viewing should be great for the Americas.

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Launchywiggin
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I think they're over-reacting about the devastation of an asteroid. Besides, we've got Chuck Norris.
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Tatiana
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Has anyone heard what the latest odds are for the Mars impact?
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pooka
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http://www.hatrack.com/cgi-bin/ubbmain/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=051446;p=0&r=nfx
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aspectre
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Dropped a third from 3.6% to 2.5% : from 1 chance in 28 to 1 chance in 40
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BannaOj
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This says it has been ruled out.
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2007-152

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Noemon
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[Frown]
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aspectre
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Why the frown? The gravitational slingshot by Mars could deflect it closer to an intersection with Earth.

[ January 14, 2008, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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I don't know whether to laugh or scream.
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The Reader
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quote:
Originally posted by aspectre:
Why the frown? The gravitational slingshot by Mars could deflect it closer to an intersection with Earth.

I guess it's time for new sunglasses and binoculars. [Cool]
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Noemon
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Canada to Launch First Space Mission to Hunt Asteroids
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pooka
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That's one retro looking satellite, but more of a furniture retro than an space retro.
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Tatiana
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Bump for the 100th anniversary of Tunguska.
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Ron Lambert
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This should be kept in mind by those who would seek comfort in regarding the Tunguska event as something rare:

quote:
The late Eugene Shoemaker of the U.S. Geological Survey came up with an estimate of the rate of Earth impacts, and suggested that an event about the size of the nuclear weapon that destroyed Hiroshima occurs about once a year. Such events would seem to be spectacularly obvious, but they generally go unnoticed for a number of reasons: the majority of the Earth's surface is covered by water; a good portion of the land surface is uninhabited; and the explosions generally occur at relatively high altitude, resulting in a huge flash and thunderclap but no real damage.

Some have been observed. Noteworthy examples include the Sikhote-Alin Meteorite fall in Primorye, far eastern Russia, in 1947, and the Revelstoke fireball of 1965, which occurred over the snows of British Columbia, Canada. Another fireball blew up over the Australian town of Dubbo in April 1993, shaking things up but causing no harm.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_event

Sooner or later our luck--or perhaps divine forebearance--will run out, and an inhabited region will be hit, perhaps a major city.

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Ron Lambert
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I think I saw that 1965 event. I was taking a walk on the campus of my university in southwestern Michigan about 9:30 p.m. or so, and saw about a quarter of the sky lit up in the northwest. It lasted for over a minute. I thought at first some chemical company was on fire. I was surprised when the light dimmed down to nothing after awhile. Only a few other students saw it; some even ridiculed me. News reports the next morning said there was a fireball apparently of a meteoric origin that had been seen over most of North America.
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Tatiana
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One Saturday night I was chatting with Richard Berg at around 4am and heard a tremendous explosion. I mentioned to him that someone blew something up without inviting me. Later I found out it was a meteoric event that many people saw all over the northern part of the state. They never did find a crater, though. Whether that means it hit in the trackless wilderness of Alabama, or whether it exploded in the air and didn't damage anything much on the ground, I don't know. They say the fireball lit up the whole sky. It definitely made an impressive boom.
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Tatiana
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Major bolide to hit Sudan in about 10 minutes!!!!

No damage expected. Should be a spectacular view, though.

"The fireball may be visible over much of northern Africa, the Middle East, and possibly even southern Europe."

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ana kata
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Should have already hit by now. Did anyone see or hear it? Sorry I didn't give you guys more notice.

One kiloton was the expected energy release. I'm googling for more info now. NEO's site is predictably swamped.

[ October 06, 2008, 11:12 PM: Message edited by: ana kata ]

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ana kata
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Article on NASA's NEO (near earth object) site.

"The fireball, which could be brilliant, will travel west to east (from azimuth = 281 degrees) at a relative atmospheric impact velocity of 12.8 km/s and arrive at a very low angle (19 degrees) to the local horizon. It is very unlikely that any sizable fragments will survive passage through the Earth's atmosphere.

Objects of this size would be expected to enter the Earth's atmosphere every few months on average but this is the first time such an event has been predicted ahead of time. "

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Noemon
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Very cool, aka!
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aspectre
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http://www.spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=07&month=10&year=2008

Check out the final hours of 29Oct08

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Tatiana
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Apparently these things are more common than I realized. See here and here. This National Geographic site is actually really good. Another interesting impact-related article.

Another cool one.

[ October 07, 2008, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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They're still trying to gather any eyewitness reports there may be of the impact, but in the meantime, here is a short gif of the rock tumbling in orbit before it hit.
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Tatiana
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While eyewitness accounts from the ground don't seem to be forthcoming, this picture shows something like what it may have looked like.

[ October 12, 2008, 04:10 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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Those of you who remember the Deep Impact mission from 2005, in which an impacting body was released to hit a comet, and who remember the mystery of how big the explosion was and how much stuff was liberated (more than 100 times as much as expected) might be interested in this article.

quote:
[An astronomer] speculates that the impact must have punched through to a layer of water frozen as amorphous (not crystalline) ice. This form of ice is what theorists expect to find in comets that came together at temperatures below 190F (125 Celsius). [Another astronomer] explains that amorphous ice would rapidly convert to its crystalline form once exposed to space and liberate lots of heat.
That's an interesting theory. I wonder how much heat would be liberated.
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T:man
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What about Apophis, will it come back to hit us?
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Shigosei
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Fascinating, Tatiana! Thanks for the update. Deep Impact was such a cool mission [Smile]

T:man, I think that the consensus is that there is a very slight chance that the 2029 pass could alter the asteroid's trajectory so that it hits in 2036, but the current impact probability for that is 1 in 45,000. More observations over the next few years might let us rule out the possibility of a 2036 impact.

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aspectre
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Nope, phase transitions between low-density amorphous ice Ic, glassy water, and (Earth-normal) crystalline ice Ih are extremely smooth compared to other substances. ie There is little latent energy to be stored or released during phase changes.

As a guess, it's more likely the comet had a core of glassy*water held within a shell of ice Ih. And rather than ice being partially gassified and partially melted by the energy of impact with the melt water explosively decompressed (boiled off) as a result of exposure to the vacuum of space, most of the blow-off was the result of glassy water being squirted through the hole punched through the Ic shell by the impactor.

* ie The comet originated as amorphous ice. Then as the comet became warmed by the stronger sunlight during its inward plunge, the amorpheous surface ice transformed into a shell of regular ice. And (a significant portion of) the core Ic became sufficiently warm to transition into glassy water.

[ October 14, 2008, 09:21 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Shigosei:
Fascinating, Tatiana! Thanks for the update. Deep Impact was such a cool mission [Smile]

Seconded, on all three counts.
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aspectre
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Asteroid impact sends 20metre/66foot wall of seawater through NewYorkCity metropolitan area.
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Ron Lambert
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If 100 times as much matter exploded outward than had been anticipated, perhaps a nuke could be able to blow apart an earthbound asteroid, enough so most of the pieces are small enough to burn up in the atmosphere. Or maybe a well-placed nuke could alter the course of the asteroid sufficiently to miss earth, aided by the rocket propulsion from the enhanced amount of ejected matter.
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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by aspectre:
Asteroid impact sends 20metre/66foot wall of seawater through NewYorkCity metropolitan area.

Wow, aspectre! For a few minutes there my heart stopped.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
If 100 times as much matter exploded outward than had been anticipated, perhaps a nuke could be able to blow apart an earthbound asteroid, enough so most of the pieces are small enough to burn up in the atmosphere. Or maybe a well-placed nuke could alter the course of the asteroid sufficiently to miss earth, aided by the rocket propulsion from the enhanced amount of ejected matter.

unfortunately this is in violation of international treaties.
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aspectre
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quote:
quote:
Asteroid impact sends 20metre/66foot wall of seawater through NewYorkCity metropolitan area.
Wow, aspectre! For a few minutes there my heart stopped.
eh So the timing was a little off. Happens to the best of evil overlords.

[ November 25, 2008, 07:31 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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dantesparadigm
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I can see astronomers getting really excited about an impact being predicted in a few years. They call a press conference with these childish grins on their faces. "Ladies and gentlemen, within the next two years, my colleagues and I will have the opportunity to blow up an asteroid and save the Earth."
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aspectre
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Hardly. A true astronomer would insist that the asteroid be left unmolested, as test of the validity of their bolide impact theories if nothing else. And undoubtedly facinating new facts would be learned about the composition of asteroids as well as that of the crust of earth-like planets. Who knows, maybe even a bit of the mantle would be ejected for further study.
Think of all the journal publications an impact could generate.

Massive meteor lightshow over Alberta

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Tatiana
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Wow, that one's amazing. I can't tell if that's the same fireball shot from two different cameras or if it's two successive parts of the same meteor that has broken up.

[ November 25, 2008, 10:02 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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The astronomer Steven Ostro just died, who was studying near earth objects. Here is a comment he made on the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska event that I think would be of interest to readers of this thread. He was a cool guy and it's sad that he's gone.
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Ron Lambert
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If you want something else to worry about, the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park, if it blew, would have a caldera 40 miles wide (that is how large the underground chamber of molten magma is right now), and be hundreds of times more powerful than Mt. St. Helens when it blew. Say good-bye to Yogi. Scientists say past eruptions covered the ground deeply for nearly a thousand miles all around with volcanic dust. They also say the supervolcanoe is long overdue for another eruption. There was a special on the Discovery Channel a few months ago (it aired back in April of 2008), a fictional dramatization of this.
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Ron Lambert
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Tatiana, it is sad also that astronomer Eugene Shoemaker died. He was killed in a traffic accident in 1997. The asteroid bodies that struck Jupiter came from the asteroid he co-discovered, Shoemaker-Levy. He worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, and focused much of his attention on asteroids. He is said to have single-handedly created planetary science as a discipline distinct from astronomy.
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Tstorm
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quote:
If you want something else to worry about, the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park, if it blew, would have a caldera 40 miles wide (that is how large the underground chamber of molten magma is right now), and be hundreds of times more powerful than Mt. St. Helens when it blew. Say good-bye to Yogi. Scientists say past eruptions covered the ground deeply for nearly a thousand miles all around with volcanic dust. They also say the supervolcanoe is long overdue for another eruption. There was a special on the Discovery Channel a few months ago (it aired back in April of 2008), a fictional dramatization of this.
Last I heard, the odds of this happening were pretty slim. You'd think some seismic activity might precede an eruption of that magnitude, too.
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Nighthawk
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Even if it did, not a whole hell of a lot we can do about it. A thousand miles around covers almost everything from Seattle to Dallas, give or take.
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