Yet more uncontrolled proliferation of unitage - Get a grip, Reg.
A gigantic, spinning, dead black spherical object dubbed YU55 and approximately of the same bulk as a nuclear aircraft carrier is expected to make a close pass by planet Earth on Tuesday night, coming well inside the orbit of the Moon. NEO YU55 imaged by the Arecibo radar telescope. Credit: NASA Looks a bit like that thing …
"same bulk as a nuclear aircraft carrier"
Bulk? do they mean mass? or volume? Which nuclear aircraft carrier? What is it in double decker buses or even brontosauruseseseses
FS Charles De Gaulle, 40,600 tons
The Kiev, 42,000 tons
USS Enterprise (CVN-65): 93,500 tons
Nimitz class: 101,000 tons
The Gerald R. Ford is scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet in 2015 at a displacement of approx 100,000 tons.
No wonder they keep loosing satellites on Mars
How come the moon is held in orbit by the Earth's gravity, and yet this object of much less density can pass within that orbit and not be affected by. pulled in by, the Earth's Gravity?
Just a thought.
It has to at least be deflected by the gravity effect. I assume it's travelling at a fair speed so will just skim on by....
Of course it's affected by Earth's gravity.
It will do a hyperbola around Earth, no problem. As opposed to passing in a straight line.
It's actually impossible to see in the app below, because Earth is not super-massive. If there were no Sun, the hyperbola would be really flat:
If oyu haven't uninstalled Java:
http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2005%20YU55;orb=1 (Select Center on Earth)
That's not a mass extinction size. From memory, the collision that did for the dinosaurs was of a rock something around 10 miles across, massively larger than the rock we're talking about here. And even that didn't immediately wipe out the dinosaurs, the final extinction was a slower process around the change in the ecosystem that the impact caused.
Still, you probably wouldn't want to try and catch it....
a) Of course it is affected by the Earth's gravity, as well the gravity of the Moon, the Sun, and absolutely everything else in the universe that has mass. That includes the dense posts to this forum (electrons have mass before anyone shoots me down).
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_law_of_universal_gravitation if you slept through physics at school, or went to school after the 1980's when they apparently decided science was too hard and we should all study hotel management.
b) The reason the thing doesn't crash in to your head is because it has too much momentum. If you attached a car to a tree with a really long elastic band (office type) and then drove past the tree at 100mp/h, do you think the car would keep going, the tree would fall over or something else would happen? (Answer: the car would speed up a tiny bit as the elastic band contracted, then slow down a tiny bit as the car starts stretching the band again). Not how gravity works, but a reasonable analogy nonetheless.
Eventually the combined gravitational effects of the Sun, Earth and Moon (plus anything else in the solar system the object passes reasonably near by) might alter its orbit enough that the Earth happens to be in the way when the object is passing by. That is no more the Earth 'pulling the object down' than a sniper's bullet is pulled in to your head. Rather it's case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
All that momentum would be transferred in to radiation(heat/light), sound, bits of rock and bits of you flying off in all directons, plus the earth's orbit and rotation would alter a small amount; vastly less than aforesaid car when a gnat splats on the windscreen.
c) No it wouldn't be game over. This object is far to small to have a significant effect. Depending on what it was made from and how fast it was travelling, it would most likely break up in the atmosphere and chunks would hit the ground. There would be an impressive bang and you certainly wouldn't want to be too close to the impact, as tt would leave a crater about a mile wide and a third of a mile deep.
There would be no fireball and if you were (say) 500 miles away, you probably wouldn't even wake up to notice anything had happened. You'd be watching it on the news over your toast if it hit land in an inhabited aread. Most likely it would fall in to the ocean and nobody would even notice.
If you want to play 'End of the world', see: http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEffects/
The moon wasn't captured by earth, it formed from the stuff that was already floating around earth. Stop me if I get too technical. Most of the crap that was thrown into space when the other planet hit earth actually landed back on earth, some of it flew off into space but only a small amount had the right speed to start orbitting earth. This all formed together and made le moon. Most stuff that approaches us will either collide with us or sod off again. The speed and angle needed for earth to capture another body is quite unlikely, but possible.
If you had a bowling ball in the middle of a trampoline and you start rolling marbles towards it, it's very hard to get the marbles to do a whole orbit around the bowling ball. Obviously friction would stop it from orbitting for any significant period of time, but you get the idea about trajectory and speed from this simple experiment.
I say we grab it. Even if it is not a station now , it can become one.
Much more worthy technological goal than the "expedition to Mars" and stuff. If we manage to get it to L1 or L2 between Earth and Moon it will sit nicely there and be 100 time more useful than a moon base.
If it's so big and so close, why is the photo so low resolution? Surely a near miss like this is worth training a high orbit satellite on and getting a decent photo?
Or are they scared the public will panic when they see the network of metal surface tunnels and citadels, and the factories of 'spare parts' used by the native inhabitants?
"the closest approach to date by an object this large that we know about in advance"
So if you read between the lines (and if you talk to those in the know), they actually admit that they don't see everything in advance. There are in fact many things that they only see once they go whizzing by.
In other words, we probably won't see the rock that hits us on the 21st December 2012. :)
Grey looked like quite the witty thing, when it wasn't inflicting ironic torture on genocidal dictators.
If you haven't killed a million people or so, I don't think you'd have much to worry about. It's just a big floating hyperintelligent London Dungeon. Madame Tussauds might even do an exhibit swap!
some others have already said...how do they KNOW its just a meteor? I'd say this is first strike - some super planet killer weapon - probably cos one of our early probes went and crashed into one of their planets...maybe even killed a few hundred people or smashed a bio-dome
'hi, we're from earth, heres a copy of some jazz music' - WTF? ;-)
or they are sick of all the junk we're emitting in RF - its playing havok with their planet-to-planet comms....finally their uber-civilisation can watch 'Planet A94VF's got talent'
Think about how long it takes to get those probes authorised, funded, built, tested and ready to go. This rock (assuming it is!) was spotted in 2005, which coincidentally happens to be the same year that ESA's ExoMars rover was approved. ExoMars is scheduled to launch in 2018. Go figure.
It's going too fast, we can't get a probe up to sufficeint speed to soft land on it without years in space doing gravity assists round massive planets like the Voyager probes did. i.e. catching a lift on a passing space rock is pointless as you have to be able to go that fast anyway.
OTOH, I guess we could have put something up to get splatted like a fly as it wizzed by.
a) how long do you think it would take to build the probe and it's launch vehicle and actually work out how to land the thing on the asteroid thingy? It's not like parking a car you know.
b) "Circles the universe". If this thing was circling the universe, which it isn't, how long do you think that would take? IOW what's the point?
Because that looks like the alien mothership from Independece Day!!
I'm getting out my telegraph and . Reg readers may want to evacuate all major cities and Tivo enough TV to keep yourselves entertained when the aliens mess up our cable reception.
What's with the heavens these days? First, Bruce Willis saves us from comet Elenin (Don't try to tell me it wasn't Bruce!) and now we get the evil resource-hungry alien strip-miners coming after us? Talk about a bad month!!!
Where are the loonies? Shirely by now the internet should be awash with loonies telling us that the lump was going to come screaming through the atmosphere and destroy all life on earth, except the cockroaches. Oh, and that NASA are covering it up.
Or is it all quiet because NASA managed to say it wasn't going to hit us before the nutters said it was? Perhaps it's only a conspiracy if a governmental agency are denying a claim made by the tinfoil hat brigade.
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