### Author Topic: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)  (Read 12967 times)

• Full Member
• Posts: 615
• Liked: 16
• Likes Given: 2
##### Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« on: 12/21/2007 05:41 AM »
http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_7774602

"An asteroid the length of an Olympic-size swimming pool is racing toward the planet at 28,000 mph. JPL astronomers give it a 1-in-75 chance of hitting Mars on Jan. 30. "

#### simonbp

##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #1 on: 12/21/2007 02:34 PM »
Quote

http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_7774602

"An asteroid the length of an Olympic-size swimming pool is racing toward the planet at 28,000 mph. JPL astronomers give it a 1-in-75 chance of hitting Mars on Jan. 30. "

Let's take those numbers at face value:

An Olympic swimming pool is 25 x 50 meters, so let's say our asteroid is 25 x 25 x 50 meters, or 31250 m3. Also, let's assume it has a pretty regular density for an asteroid, 2.5 g/cm3 (carbon and silica are 2.0-2.2, but trace iron bumps it up a bit). So, the mass of our asteroid is 7.8125x10^7 kg, or 78125 tonnes. Next, let's convert that speed into real units, specifically, 12516.76 m/s. The kinetic energy of the asteroid is then 6.120x10^15 J, or 1.463 megaton of TNT.

Now, the article quotes the energy as 3 megatons, which is possible, but only if the asteroid has a density of about 5.0 g/cm^3, meaning mostly iron (a pallasite, in fact, pretty rare). So, the reality, if the asteroid actually hits (and my assumption about the size is right), will probably only half as much as this article claims...

Simon

#### meiza

• Expert
• Senior Member
• Posts: 3068
• Where Be Dragons
• Liked: 3
• Likes Given: 3
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #2 on: 12/21/2007 02:40 PM »
Are more asteroids hitting Mars on than Earth? It's closer to the asteroid belt at least...

#### kevin-rf

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 8652
• Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
• Liked: 1124
• Likes Given: 243
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #3 on: 12/21/2007 04:04 PM »
Simon they are within an order of magnitude and got the sign right

I would give them partial credit ... the typical press head line would be "mars to be destroyed rogue asteroid"
If you're happy and you know it,

#### rdale

• Assistant to the Chief Meteorologist
• Senior Member
• Posts: 9910
• Lansing MI
• Liked: 252
• Likes Given: 28
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #4 on: 12/21/2007 04:07 PM »
Quote
meiza - 21/12/2007  10:40 AM

Are more asteroids hitting Mars on than Earth?

No, any asteroid hitting Mars or Earth is not in the belt.

#### GLS

• Member
• Full Member
• Posts: 169
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #5 on: 12/21/2007 04:17 PM »
Poor martians! :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:
GLS is go for main engine start!

#### William Graham

• Senior Member
• Posts: 4210
• Liked: 213
• Likes Given: 90
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #6 on: 12/21/2007 05:56 PM »
Are any of the spacecraft currently on Mars (ie Spirit and Opportunity) capable of detecting/measuring the seismic effects of an asteroid impact? Also, could any of the orbiters provide any useful information?

• Guest
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #7 on: 12/21/2007 06:55 PM »
Quote
simonbp - 21/12/2007  9:34 AM

Quote

http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_7774602

"An asteroid the length of an Olympic-size swimming pool is racing toward the planet at 28,000 mph. JPL astronomers give it a 1-in-75 chance of hitting Mars on Jan. 30. "

Let's take those numbers at face value:

An Olympic swimming pool is 25 x 50 meters, so let's say our asteroid is 25 x 25 x 50 meters, or 31250 m3. Also, let's assume it has a pretty regular density for an asteroid, 2.5 g/cm3 (carbon and silica are 2.0-2.2, but trace iron bumps it up a bit). So, the mass of our asteroid is 7.8125x10^7 kg, or 78125 tonnes. Next, let's convert that speed into real units, specifically, 12516.76 m/s. The kinetic energy of the asteroid is then 6.120x10^15 J, or 1.463 megaton of TNT.

Now, the article quotes the energy as 3 megatons, which is possible, but only if the asteroid has a density of about 5.0 g/cm^3, meaning mostly iron (a pallasite, in fact, pretty rare). So, the reality, if the asteroid actually hits (and my assumption about the size is right), will probably only half as much as this article claims...

Simon

I suspect that JPL had better data for their calculation than you do.

#### William Barton

• Senior Member
• Posts: 3487
• Liked: 2
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #8 on: 12/21/2007 07:16 PM »
Quote
GW_Simulations - 21/12/2007  1:56 PM

Are any of the spacecraft currently on Mars (ie Spirit and Opportunity) capable of detecting/measuring the seismic effects of an asteroid impact? Also, could any of the orbiters provide any useful information?

For the landers, depends on how close they are.  :laugh:

#### meiza

• Expert
• Senior Member
• Posts: 3068
• Where Be Dragons
• Liked: 3
• Likes Given: 3
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #9 on: 12/21/2007 07:27 PM »
Quote
rdale - 21/12/2007  5:07 PM

Quote
meiza - 21/12/2007  10:40 AM

Are more asteroids hitting Mars on than Earth?

No, any asteroid hitting Mars or Earth is not in the belt.

But you need less perturbation for an asteroid in the belt to enter a path that hits Mars than to hit Earth.

For example, there is a certain number of asteroids of certain size that cross earth's orbit with some criteria. Is the number smaller or greater for Mars? Assume you adjust for the double time of Mars' orbit (Ie divide the crossing number by 2)?

On the other hand, Mars is a smaller target and its gravity is much weaker as well and it might play into the odds...

#### wingod

• Full Member
• Posts: 1305
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #10 on: 12/22/2007 04:43 AM »
Quote
simonbp - 21/12/2007  9:34 AM

Quote

http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_7774602

"An asteroid the length of an Olympic-size swimming pool is racing toward the planet at 28,000 mph. JPL astronomers give it a 1-in-75 chance of hitting Mars on Jan. 30. "

Let's take those numbers at face value:

An Olympic swimming pool is 25 x 50 meters, so let's say our asteroid is 25 x 25 x 50 meters, or 31250 m3. Also, let's assume it has a pretty regular density for an asteroid, 2.5 g/cm3 (carbon and silica are 2.0-2.2, but trace iron bumps it up a bit). So, the mass of our asteroid is 7.8125x10^7 kg, or 78125 tonnes. Next, let's convert that speed into real units, specifically, 12516.76 m/s. The kinetic energy of the asteroid is then 6.120x10^15 J, or 1.463 megaton of TNT.

Now, the article quotes the energy as 3 megatons, which is possible, but only if the asteroid has a density of about 5.0 g/cm^3, meaning mostly iron (a pallasite, in fact, pretty rare). So, the reality, if the asteroid actually hits (and my assumption about the size is right), will probably only half as much as this article claims...

Simon

It is probable that this is an S class body (statistically), and it comes into the inner solar system (baked the juicy stuff out), so I would put the probability of its density closer to 3.3 gm/cm3.

#### kevin-rf

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 8652
• Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
• Liked: 1124
• Likes Given: 243
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #11 on: 12/22/2007 11:46 AM »
JPL NEO press release that everyone is sourcing ...

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news151.html

As far as the rovers,

Quote
The zone of potential impact on the surface of Mars is approximately 800 km wide, and sweeps across the Martian equator from southwest to northeast, crossing the equator at roughly 30 deg W longitude. The MER Opportunity rover is close to the southern edge of this possible impact zone but clearly outside it.

Talk about dust on the solar panels

Oh and for typical press reaction, Aero-News Network is going with "Is Mars Doomed" ( http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=59c15ffa-55f3-4689-b2b9-d44afec7ecc9& ). To Aero-News' credit, they did source the jpl neo page at the bottom of the article.

Edit : Presser from the survey http://uanews.org/node/17415 (Has the estimated size and a few other details not in the other articles)
If you're happy and you know it,

#### eeergo

##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #12 on: 12/28/2007 09:24 PM »
The probability of impact has risen to 3.9%, or about 1-in-25 chance (from 1.3% or 1-in-75 chance). Probably just unfounded excitement, but it would be really great if it happened. I wonder if they've calculated if any orbiter would be in line of sight of a possible impact zone. Can you imagine the video, or even a before-just after photo?
-DaviD-

#### ShuttleDiscovery

• NASA's first teenage astronaut
• Senior Member
• Posts: 2141
• UK
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #13 on: 12/28/2007 09:44 PM »
I kind of want it to happen to!   :cool:

#### Blackstar

• Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 11386
• Liked: 2898
• Likes Given: 1
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #14 on: 12/28/2007 10:41 PM »
It still seems extremely unlikely.  But my impression is that it would actually be scientifically highly valuable.  We could image a freshly made crater and see what it unearths.

Right now Opportunity is exploring a crater, because craters expose the rock below the surface.  Think of it this way--scientists really want to look beneath the Martian surface, but drilling into it is going to be very hard.  This rock would do it for us.

• Full Member
• Posts: 615
• Liked: 16
• Likes Given: 2
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #15 on: 12/29/2007 01:56 AM »
Jeez,
Ya think you could see a flash with a decent backyard scope???

#### Lee Jay

• Elite Veteran
• Global Moderator
• Senior Member
• Posts: 6683
• Liked: 982
• Likes Given: 140
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #16 on: 12/29/2007 02:43 AM »
Are any of the orbiting probes carrying instruments that would have a chance at imaging this thing as it goes by?

#### tnphysics

• Regular
• Full Member
• Posts: 1073
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #17 on: 12/30/2007 05:30 PM »
I hope that neither of the Rovers get blown up or otherwise damaged.

#### Andrewwski

• Full Member
• Posts: 1536
• Buffalo, NY
• Liked: 6
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #18 on: 12/30/2007 06:55 PM »
I have no idea whether or not this is true, but wouldn't there be the potential to gather a great amount of data from the rover before it is destroyed?
NEW MUSIC VIDEO:
STS-125 DREAMS in HD!

#### ckiki lwai

• Aerospace engineering student
• Full Member
• Posts: 834
• Europe, Belgium
• Liked: 1
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #19 on: 12/30/2007 07:37 PM »

Quote
simonbp - 21/12/2007  4:34 PM

Quote

http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_7774602

"An asteroid the length of an Olympic-size swimming pool is racing toward the planet at 28,000 mph. JPL astronomers give it a 1-in-75 chance of hitting Mars on Jan. 30. "

Let's take those numbers at face value:

An Olympic swimming pool is 25 x 50 meters, so let's say our asteroid is 25 x 25 x 50 meters, or 31250 m3. Also, let's assume it has a pretty regular density for an asteroid, 2.5 g/cm3 (carbon and silica are 2.0-2.2, but trace iron bumps it up a bit). So, the mass of our asteroid is 7.8125x10^7 kg, or 78125 tonnes. Next, let's convert that speed into real units, specifically, 12516.76 m/s. The kinetic energy of the asteroid is then 6.120x10^15 J, or 1.463 megaton of TNT.

Now, the article quotes the energy as 3 megatons, which is possible, but only if the asteroid has a density of about 5.0 g/cm^3, meaning mostly iron (a pallasite, in fact, pretty rare). So, the reality, if the asteroid actually hits (and my assumption about the size is right), will probably only half as much as this article claims...

Simon

The asteroid has a length of an Olympic swimming pool, so it could be an asteroid of 50 x 1 x 1 meters or 50 x 50 x 50 meters.
The mean value of those 2 volumes is 62525 m2, which would give you more or less 3 megatons TNT.

I'm curious what would happen when there was an 1 to 75 chance of hitting Earth, even if it would be 1 to 1000 or 10 000, people would go nuts.

Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events. - Robert Heinlein

#### sticksux

• Regular
• Member
• Posts: 96
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #20 on: 12/30/2007 09:18 PM »
Quote
Andrewwski - 30/12/2007  7:55 PM
I have no idea whether or not this is true, but wouldn't there be the potential to gather a great amount of data from the rover before it is destroyed?

I guess there are no such potential. If rover is destroyed, it obviously can't send and data.

#### sticksux

• Regular
• Member
• Posts: 96
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #21 on: 12/30/2007 09:21 PM »
Quote
ckiki lwai - 30/12/2007  8:37 PM
I'm curious what would happen when there was an 1 to 75 chance of hitting Earth, even if it would be 1 to 1000 or 10 000, people would go nuts.

Why go nuts? Go hoist several megaton nuke on any ELV which is ready to fly before it hits, and send it towards the rock instead! Useful at least in order to find out whether space industry can do it in time in the emergency.

#### Andrewwski

• Full Member
• Posts: 1536
• Buffalo, NY
• Liked: 6
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #22 on: 12/30/2007 09:57 PM »
Quote
sticksux - 30/12/2007  5:18 PM

Quote
Andrewwski - 30/12/2007  7:55 PM
I have no idea whether or not this is true, but wouldn't there be the potential to gather a great amount of data from the rover before it is destroyed?

I guess there are no such potential. If rover is destroyed, it obviously can't send and data.

No ability to send it out in realtime, before it is destroyed?
NEW MUSIC VIDEO:
STS-125 DREAMS in HD!

#### Blackstar

• Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 11386
• Liked: 2898
• Likes Given: 1
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #23 on: 12/30/2007 10:15 PM »
Quote
tnphysics - 30/12/2007  12:30 PM

I hope that neither of the Rovers get blown up or otherwise damaged.

Mars is big.  The rovers are really small.  The chances of this thing hitting anywhere near a rover are remote.

Think about all the thousands of meteorites that fall to Earth every year.  How many actually hit anybody or anything?

#### ckiki lwai

• Aerospace engineering student
• Full Member
• Posts: 834
• Europe, Belgium
• Liked: 1
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #24 on: 12/31/2007 09:27 AM »
Quote
sticksux - 30/12/2007  11:21 PM

Quote
ckiki lwai - 30/12/2007  8:37 PM
I'm curious what would happen when there was an 1 to 75 chance of hitting Earth, even if it would be 1 to 1000 or 10 000, people would go nuts.

Why go nuts? Go hoist several megaton nuke on any ELV which is ready to fly before it hits, and send it towards the rock instead! Useful at least in order to find out whether space industry can do it in time in the emergency.

That would be a bad idea if the odds are too small, the chance that the ELV fails and falls back to Earth with the nuke would be bigger.
And how are you going to hit it, if you don't know its precise orbit?

But let's not go too far of topic with this, I just mentioned it to say it's funny that we consider 1 to 75 a small chance if it's just Mars, while a 1 to 1000 or 1 to 10 000 chance would be considered a serious threat if it would be hitting Earth.
Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events. - Robert Heinlein

#### kevin-rf

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 8652
• Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
• Liked: 1124
• Likes Given: 243
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #25 on: 12/31/2007 11:40 AM »
Quote
Blackstar - 30/12/2007  6:15 PM

Mars is big.  The rovers are really small.  The chances of this thing hitting anywhere near a rover are remote.

from http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news151.html

Quote
Quote
The zone of potential impact on the surface of Mars is approximately 800 km wide, and sweeps across the Martian equator from southwest to northeast, crossing the equator at roughly 30 deg W longitude. The MER Opportunity rover is close to the southern edge of this possible impact zone but clearly outside it.

I am curious how much dust would be stirred up and land on the rovers solar panels.

Quote
Think about all the thousands of meteorites that fall to Earth every year.  How many actually hit anybody or anything?

Actually they do hit things (and people) every now and then. There are websites that track these things. They usually put a hole in the roof of a house. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap030506.html

A link to a site that tracks large impacts : http://www.unb.ca/passc/ImpactDatabase/europe.html
If you're happy and you know it,

#### kevin-rf

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 8652
• Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
• Liked: 1124
• Likes Given: 243
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #26 on: 12/31/2007 11:43 AM »
Quote
ckiki lwai - 31/12/2007  5:27 AM
But let's not go too far of topic with this, I just mentioned it to say it's funny that we consider 1 to 75 a small chance if it's just Mars, while a 1 to 1000 or 1 to 10 000 chance would be considered a serious threat if it would be hitting Earth.

Saddly the rock was discovered less than 90 days before impact. Not much time to do anything. If it was earth all you could do is start a mass evac, giving everyone a ticket out of dodge.
If you're happy and you know it,

#### Blackstar

• Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 11386
• Liked: 2898
• Likes Given: 1
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #27 on: 12/31/2007 02:19 PM »
Quote
kevin-rf - 31/12/2007  6:40 AM
Actually they do hit things (and people) every now and then. There are websites that track these things. They usually put a hole in the roof of a house. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap030506.html

Forest.  Trees.  Thousands fall to Earth every year.  Do you have meteorite insurance?  Does anybody?

I'll bet you a thousand dollars that if this rock hits Mars, it will not hit either rover.  Deal?

#### kevin-rf

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 8652
• Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
• Liked: 1124
• Likes Given: 243
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #28 on: 12/31/2007 02:47 PM »
Did you read the whole post, jpl has said that Opportunity is the closest, but outside the potential impact zone.
If you're happy and you know it,

#### hyper_snyper

• Elite Veteran
• Full Member
• Posts: 730
• Liked: 1
• Likes Given: 18
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #29 on: 12/31/2007 02:50 PM »
Quote
kevin-rf - 31/12/2007  7:43 AM

Quote
ckiki lwai - 31/12/2007  5:27 AM
But let's not go too far of topic with this, I just mentioned it to say it's funny that we consider 1 to 75 a small chance if it's just Mars, while a 1 to 1000 or 1 to 10 000 chance would be considered a serious threat if it would be hitting Earth.

Saddly the rock was discovered less than 90 days before impact. Not much time to do anything. If it was earth all you could do is start a mass evac, giving everyone a ticket out of dodge.

90 days isn't enough time to get an interceptor on an ELV to divert it but what about an ICBM?  Wait until just a few hours before impact so it is within the performance envelope of a Minuteman or Trident.  Long shot I know but it is small enough to be shattered into a small enough pieces by a nuclear blast.

#### Blackstar

• Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 11386
• Liked: 2898
• Likes Given: 1
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #30 on: 12/31/2007 02:53 PM »
Quote
kevin-rf - 31/12/2007  9:47 AM

Did you read the whole post, jpl has said that Opportunity is the closest, but outside the potential impact zone.

Yeah, I did.  I was commenting that you were missing the forest for the trees--rocks from space are small, planets are big, their chances of hitting anything manmade, even when there is lots of manmade stuff, are small.

#### kevin-rf

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 8652
• Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
• Liked: 1124
• Likes Given: 243
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #31 on: 12/31/2007 03:04 PM »
What no one has addressed is how much dust this will kick up. That poses more of a risk to the rovers than anything else.

Man made stuff still gets hit every couple of years... Of course I have a better chance of winning the lottery ( or a nobel prize) than actually have a space rock hit me.
If you're happy and you know it,

#### HIPAR

• Member
• Full Member
• Posts: 586
• NE Pa (USA)
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #32 on: 12/31/2007 05:29 PM »
At one time during the cold war there was a huge 20 megaton device in service.  One is on display at the Air Force museum.  I believe there was a variant of this terror weapon employed on Titan missiles.  I'm thinking one of these could vaporize an asteroid the size of the one bound for Mars

I don't think we have any really big thermo-nukes ready to go any more.  They figured out that several smaller nukes can do more damage than one big one.  Minuteman and Trident have multiple device warheads.   Would it be possible to detonate the devices simultaneously for maximum effects on the asteroid?

---  CHAS

#### MKremer

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 3909
• Liked: 13
• Likes Given: 493
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #33 on: 12/31/2007 05:40 PM »
Quote
kevin-rf - 31/12/2007  10:04 AM

What no one has addressed is how much dust this will kick up. That poses more of a risk to the rovers than anything else.

Any impact isn't going to be that huge (maybe a Victoria-sized crater at most).

Unless the wind happens to be blowing the cloud directly at one of the rovers' locations, they won't notice a thing. And even if it was, it wouldn't hold a candle to the recent dust storms they survived through, plus it would be already spreading out and would dissipate rather quickly from their view.

#### Blackstar

• Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 11386
• Liked: 2898
• Likes Given: 1
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #34 on: 12/31/2007 05:50 PM »
Even if you assume several thousand tons of dust tossed into the atmosphere, once it spreads out it becomes minuscule, especially compared to how much dust is lifted up from the surface by winds.

#### MKremer

• Elite Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 3909
• Liked: 13
• Likes Given: 493
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #35 on: 12/31/2007 05:56 PM »
Quote
HIPAR - 31/12/2007  12:29 PM

At one time during the cold war there was a huge 20 megaton device in service.  One is on display at the Air Force museum.  I believe there was a variant of this terror weapon employed on Titan missiles.  I'm thinking one of these could vaporize an asteroid the size of the one bound for Mars

Heat, partially melt, and shatter, but not "vaporize". Things that go BOOM! in a zero-gravity, zero-atmosphere environment have much different effects than the same explosion would near Earth's surface.

Because of that, sending a stream of missles are pretty useless unless it's a large solid body - a small body (say a hundred meters) or even a much larger "rubble-pile" body will shatter in a variety of different acceleration vectors, and any follow-on weapons will be exploding in mostly empty space (unless each one is part of a stage that can do real-time tracking to follow larger pieces... assuming it can then catch up to them).

#### eeergo

##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #36 on: 01/04/2008 12:25 PM »
Chances of impact have been slightly reduced (to 3.6%):

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/mars-20071221.html
-DaviD-

#### Lawntonlookirs

• Veteran
• Full Member
• Posts: 1418
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #37 on: 01/04/2008 12:50 PM »
This is my first visit to this site as a registered user, so I am not sure of all of the past comments.  I have been trying to see how close asteroid 2007 WD 5 came to the earth.  Some of the animated models of the asteroid's path show that it was very close to earth orbit, but it appeared that it didn't make it.  Another question is how often they take sightings of 2007 WD5 on its journey to mars.  When will they know for sure if it will be a hit or a miss.
Everyman is my superior in that I may learn from him.  Albert Einstein

#### Blackstar

• Veteran
• Senior Member
• Posts: 11386
• Liked: 2898
• Likes Given: 1
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #38 on: 01/04/2008 01:38 PM »
NASA plans to blow up Mars if asteroid misses
Written by NickFun

NASA officials announced today that if the asteroid currently heading towards Mars fails to strike, they plan on blowing the planet up with nuclear weapons themselves.

"We are all psyched up for a big explosion", said NASA administrator Michael Griffin. "If the asteroid doesn't hit then the American people will be disappointed. Therefore, we will send a small part of our nuclear arsenal to the red planet so we can see the big Kaboom!"

Astronomer says that the chance of an asteroid hitting Mars on January 30th have been increased from 1-in-75 to 1-in-25. This has excited everyone from scientists to backyard astronomers to the average joe."

"If we see an asteroid crash into Mars it will increase our understanding of what would happen when one crashes into the Earth. And that will definitely happen someday!" said Princeton astronomer James Binney. "Personally I would like to see a big hole blown into the planet. I think that would be cool".

"I would love to see Mars blow up", said Martin Frisby, a homeless Los Angeles transient. "I just don't want to be standing next to it when it happens".

US President George W. Bush said he has three high-speed nuclear weapons pointed at the red planet. He also warned that the missiles may misfire and hit Iran. In that case, he claimed, "it's not our fault".

#### HIPAR

• Member
• Full Member
• Posts: 586
• NE Pa (USA)
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #39 on: 01/04/2008 02:48 PM »
Washington Jan 4, 2008 (YP)

Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were astonished when the data stream from Mars rover Spirit was mysteriously interrupted.  A spokesperson at the lab reports the Madrid Deep Space Network station recorded 10,000 bits of data that did not decode into pictures as expected.

According to an anonymous source at the super secret National Security Agency,  the 'mystery bits' arrived there cryptanalysis.  A preliminary decrypt  from a super computer read:

'No nukes on Mars .. asteroid  under control'.   Followed by a firm warning to NASA, 'You can't win interplanetary wars'.

When President Bush was informed he responded, 'If they aren't with us then they're against us'.

#### eeergo

##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #40 on: 01/04/2008 02:48 PM »

Quote
Lawntonlookirs - 4/1/2008 2:50 PM This is my first visit to this site as a registered user, so I am not sure of all of the past comments. I have been trying to see how close asteroid 2007 WD 5 came to the earth. Some of the animated models of the asteroid's path show that it was very close to earth orbit, but it appeared that it didn't make it. Another question is how often they take sightings of 2007 WD5 on its journey to mars. When will they know for sure if it will be a hit or a miss.

Hi, welcome to the site

This asteroid is in fact a NEO that doesn't quite intersect our orbit but passes pretty close by In this last encounter, it passed a mere 7 million km away. It does intersect Mars' and the uncertainty in its current orbit, due to a multiple body problem's inherent indetermination but mainly to the few measurements of its position (it's only been discovered a few months ago, when it made its closest approach to Earth) made so far, are what keeps the approx 3% chance of it hitting Mars. In fact, as you can see in this animation, its most probable path doesn't impact the planet (although it's close)

I don't know how long it will take to nail it down, but I wouldn't expect it before one week prior to the intersection date. What also must be interesting is to see the effects of the near-Mars pass, and the new orbit that will appear. Most probably, it will just swing it in a harmless -and boring- way, but there is a chance it will come closer to Earth.

-DaviD-

#### Lawntonlookirs

• Veteran
• Full Member
• Posts: 1418
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #41 on: 01/04/2008 04:15 PM »
Thanks David:

That was the same animation that I watched yeaterday and it appeared that it was closer than the 7,000,000 km.  I will have to keep an eye open for any new data on 2007 WD 5.
Everyman is my superior in that I may learn from him.  Albert Einstein

• Full Member
• Posts: 615
• Liked: 16
• Likes Given: 2
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #42 on: 01/04/2008 08:22 PM »
Is there any guess on what could be observable by amateur backyard astronomers??

#### pierogoletto

• Member
• Member
• Posts: 97
• Liked: 1
• Likes Given: 1
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #43 on: 01/05/2008 02:59 PM »
Piero Giuseppe Goletto

#### rdale

• Assistant to the Chief Meteorologist
• Senior Member
• Posts: 9910
• Lansing MI
• Liked: 252
• Likes Given: 28
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #44 on: 01/05/2008 03:10 PM »
The orbiter cameras are 1) not the type that would be good for deep-space observing and 2) pointed down :>

#### BigRIJoe

• Member
• Member
• Posts: 71
• Liked: 1
• Likes Given: 4
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #45 on: 01/05/2008 03:11 PM »

#### Antares

• ABO^2
• Senior Member
• Posts: 5202
• Done arguing with amateurs
• Liked: 368
• Likes Given: 226
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #46 on: 01/05/2008 03:56 PM »
The cameras don't *have* to be pointed down.  Last year or the year before, one of the orbiters imaged another.  Not sure JPL would want to spend the prop to reorient, though.

How far in advance was it certain that Shoemaker Levy 9 would hit Jupiter?  'Course, that was a bigger target.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

#### Smatcha

• Elite Veteran
• Full Member
• Posts: 645
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #47 on: 01/07/2008 07:35 PM »
Anyone know when the next trajectory update is going to happen?
“Do we want to go to the moon or not?”
John C. Houbolt - November 15, 1961
Question posed in Letter to Dr. Robert C. Seamans Jr, NASA Associate Administrator

Ralph Ellison “I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest”

#### psloss

• Veteran armchair spectator
• Senior Member
• Posts: 17327
• Liked: 1842
• Likes Given: 1125
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #48 on: 01/07/2008 09:35 PM »
The Near Earth Object program office update on the 2nd mentioned before seems to imply it's likely to miss:
http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news154.html

Quote
It seems likely that as additional observations further shrink the uncertainty region of this asteroid, the region will no longer intersect Mars and the impact probability will quickly drop to zero.

#### Smatcha

• Elite Veteran
• Full Member
• Posts: 645
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #49 on: 01/07/2008 11:11 PM »
Quote
psloss - 7/1/2008  2:35 PM

The Near Earth Object program office update on the 2nd mentioned before seems to imply it's likely to miss:
http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news154.html

Quote
It seems likely that as additional observations further shrink the uncertainty region of this asteroid, the region will no longer intersect Mars and the impact probability will quickly drop to zero.

Yes, I read that as well.  But I remember something along the lines of mid to late January for another assessment.    Error range should shrink as it approaches Mars.  I would think that we could confirm that it won’t hit sooner than we could confirm that it will hit.

“Do we want to go to the moon or not?”
John C. Houbolt - November 15, 1961
Question posed in Letter to Dr. Robert C. Seamans Jr, NASA Associate Administrator

Ralph Ellison “I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest”

#### CommanderAce

• Regular
• Member
• Posts: 88
• Cambridge, England
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #50 on: 01/09/2008 07:36 AM »
And the odds have decreased  to 1 in 40.
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

#### CommanderAce

• Regular
• Member
• Posts: 88
• Cambridge, England
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #51 on: 01/10/2008 09:03 AM »
and again to 1 in 10000 effectively ruling out any chance of an impact.
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

#### tankmodeler

• Regular
• Full Member
• Posts: 643
• Liked: 1
• Likes Given: 0
##### RE: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #52 on: 01/10/2008 08:01 PM »
Quote
CommanderAce - 10/1/2008  5:03 AM

and again to 1 in 10000 effectively ruling out any chance of an impact.
Pity. Analysis of the ejecta would probably be worth a couple of Mars landing missions in terms of the indications of water & other materials from deeper in the crust.

Paul
Sr. Mech. Engineer
MDA

#### RHAnthony

• I'm in yer planetz, talkin 2 ur roverz
• Full Member
• Posts: 220
• Liked: 0
• Likes Given: 0
##### Re: Mars, asteroid could be on a collision course (Jan 30th)
« Reply #53 on: 01/18/2008 06:26 AM »
Quote
Antares - 5/1/2008  8:56 PM

The cameras don't *have* to be pointed down.  Last year or the year before, one of the orbiters imaged another.  Not sure JPL would want to spend the prop to reorient, though.

How far in advance was it certain that Shoemaker Levy 9 would hit Jupiter?  'Course, that was a bigger target.

MRO was used to attempt to spot Mars Global Surveyor when it went dark, so yes they can reorient and take a photo but the chances of getting anything worth looking at would be much too low to stop the imaging they're doing currently on the suface (which makes gorgeous wall paper in their building here at JPL!)

Tags: