back to article High-speed asteroid pile-up prompts X-File

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the aftermath of just what happens when two asteroids collide at 11,000 mph (17,702 km/h), prompting an explosion "as powerful as the detonation of a small atomic bomb". The result is a "peculiar" object - dubbed P/2010 A2 - which boasts a comet-like debris trail behind a mysterious X- …

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Alien

Enhanced photos-

show a small pointy spaceship firing what appear to be little dots at the debris...

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Coat

"I'm hit, but not bad."

"R2 see what you can do with it. Hang on back there."

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Joke

X marks the spot.

While Astronomers wonder what shaped objects are needed to produce a large "X" on collision, Google wonder what shaped objects are needed produce all the other letters as well.........

Asteroid bombardment space advertising (Beta). Coming soon to a night sky near you.

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Pint

Don't laugh!

I'm sure it's occurred to them!!

Wasn't there something like that in one of the Red Dwarf books?

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Buy Jupiter it has been done before

Well the concept of space based advertising at least. See the story "Buy Jupiter", by Asimov.

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Coke is Life

Spelt out in a thousand supernovas (irony pointed out) - it was the voyage Krytens ship was on before failing.

Still like the line about how automatons for Italian space vessels were the only robots with genitalia so they could cup them and thus appear more like the human crew.

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Headmaster

Semantics...

David Jewitt, of the University of California in Los Angeles, said: "We expected the debris field to expand dramatically, like shrapnel flying from a hand grenade. But what happened was quite the opposite. We found that the object is expanding very, very slowly."

Er... Wouldn't 'quite the opposite' involve the object rapidly collapsing in on it's self, possibly resulting in a micro singularity?

TSK!

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Troll

@fLaMePrOoF, 14th October 2010 11:51 GMT

my first thought was the same since he said "expand." But if you only concentrate on the "dramatically" part, then what he said is correct.

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It's a message

"X"

Now, what does it mean ......

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I know!

I've seen this before - it means the X factor is about to start. I always thought it was a red X though...

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Welcome

Silly boy...

Of course it means that the X-files is coming back...

Bout time too.

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Boffin

Spurious 'accuracy'

"two asteroids collide at 11,000 mph (17,702 km/h)"

You don't think that original figure might possibly have been rounded? (From an original rough estimate). I really doubt it was accurate to 1 km/h.

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Space is big...

You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. /me:salutes Douglas Adams.

So the odds of a 122M object being hit by a 3-4M object is as close to zero as, well zero itself.

Now what are the chances of life developing without the intervention of a god? About the same?

Ergo, if this can happen we don't NEED a god to justify our existence.

Therefore... Eat that pork, eat that ham, laugh till you choke on Billy Graham. (cheers Frank)

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Troll

You seem to have forgotten...

...to multiply that "almost zero" probability by the "almost infinite" number of pebbles in said vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big Space. Surely, this has to affect the odds.

On the other hand, life-supporting planets are quite a few orders of magnitude rarer than pebbles. Are they too rare for spontaneous emergence of life? G-d knows...

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Tosh.

"On the other hand, life-supporting planets are quite a few orders of magnitude rarer than pebbles."

No they're not. They are _probably_ rarer than pebbles. Bearded pork dodgers call that probably "God". Im happy to wait for science to refute it. Which it is doing a remarkably good job of. There are "probably" as many "potential" life supporting planets in the universe as there are grains of sand on earth.

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Gates Halo

chances of life developing ?

"Now what are the chances of life developing without the intervention of a god? About the same?"

It doesn't work that way. A smart and powerful enough God can formulate the laws of physics in such a manner as to make the spontaneous occurrence of life inevitable or probable. Which is more logical: a to conceive of laws of nature without a legislator or b. to conceive of laws of nature with a legislator ?

I reject your puny and stupid straw god as much as you do. This particular theological rot (god of the gaps) started with William Paley. The God of the Bible is responsible for what we do understand as much as what we don't.

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Headmaster

Fail

"...to multiply that "almost zero" probability by the "almost infinite" number of pebbles in said vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big Space. Surely, this has to affect the odds"

Sorry, but the "probability" of the initial collision would have to have been calculated using the number of "pebbles" vs the volume of the "hugely, mind-bogglingly big Space." Therefore, would not need to factor in an "almost infinite" number of pebbles a second time.

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Alien

It's X-Bomber

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Bomber

Alien cause he looks like Commander Makara's weird extra facial appendage.

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Silver badge

Not symmetrical?

"The crisscrossed filaments at the head of the tail suggest that the colliding asteroids were not perfectly symmetrical"

Blimey, they lied to me in Astronomy 101 when they said asteroids were perfect spheres!

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Happy

Dave "Cinzano" Lister

is the name of the creator of the universe.

A thousand years from now people will read the good book(s) and know the truth.

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Could electromagnetism be at work here?

To me, this looks very similar to the effect you would get by placing lead pencil shavings on to a piece of paper with a magnet underneath. Perhaps the debris from the collision is caught in an electric field of some sort and it has nothing to do with gravity, the "solar wind", or the shapes of the colliding asteroids.

This might also explain why the particles are not moving apart as fast as would be expected.

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Re : pencil shavings on to a piece of paper with a magnet

Please try and report back. Hint - nothing will happen. Iron fillings, yes

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How silly of me

Yes, of course, iron fillings. It's been such a long time since seeing this experiment in elementary school. How silly of me.

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Go

"The crisscrossed filaments"

It's A Dum Dum Asteroid!!!

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