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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Approaches

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the how's-that-space-program-coming-along dept.

Space 94

Today at about 19:25 UTC (2:25 PM EST), Asteroid 2012 DA14 will make its closest approach to Earth, passing a mere 27,650 kilometers above the surface — closer than our satellites in geosynchronous orbit. NASA is broadcasting a live-steam showing the asteroid from an Observatory, and will have coverage on NASA TV starting about a half-hour before closest approach. The Planetary Society will be broadcasting a live webcast, and Phil Plait will be hosting a Google+ Hangout. NASA has also compiled a nice post filled with information about the asteroid, including trajectory diagrams, animated videos of the path, and answers to question about 2012 DA14. You can also watch it move at 50x actual speed through a telescope. They take pains to note that there is no danger of the asteroid striking the planet today, or any time in the forseeable future. Its next notably close approach in 2046 will only bring it about a million kilometers away. What makes 2012 DA14 significant is that it's rather large — it's 45 meters across and weighs about 130,000 metric tons. It's also moving about 7.8 kilometers per second relative to Earth. "To view the asteroid, you will need a good pair of binoculars, or even better, a moderately powered telescope. During the closest approach, and dependant on local weather, the asteroid will be visible from parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. The asteroid will appear to be moving relatively quickly as it crosses the sky from the south to the north." NASA says this morning's meteor event in Russia was unrelated.

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94 comments

I wonder if... (1)

zrbyte (1666979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912831)

the news broadcast will be this detailed when the BIG ONE is actually about to hit?

Re:I wonder if... (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913255)

sux that the live stream is just blobs of small lights.. was hoping something epic like in star wars.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914363)

I don't think the reporters care all that much. I got off the phone with a reporter in Buenos Aires a minute ago, and he just hung up mid-conversation. I get the impression they aren't taking it seriously.

Re:I wonder if... (4, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42915761)

You were communicating with someone in Buenos Aires about an asteroid when the communication got cut off? I would like to know more.

Re:I wonder if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932597)

APPLAUSE

Service guarantees citizenship I've heard

Re:I wonder if... (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42920657)

I wonder if the news broadcast will be as detailed as the news about the Triumph cruise ship.

Strange plants (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912923)

Has anyone noticed these fast grow plants? I dont remenber planting them, but my memory

Nothing to be frightened about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912935)

We are just seeing a tip of the new barrage of such events sure to fill up discussions more often .. or make it a non-event... interesting stuff nonetheless.

Re:Nothing to be frightened about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913083)

Say that when it hits earth and you're dead cause somebody couldn't do math. Let the looting begin.

Re:Nothing to be frightened about (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914153)

Say that when it hits earth and you're dead cause somebody couldn't do math. Let the looting begin.

??? You think the ability to solve math is a mutation that somehow enables one to alter the trajectory of an asteroid? I've got some 2+2=4 to sell you...

easy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912943)

Just launch a triangular ship and shoot at it in two dimensions. When you get in trouble try hyperspace.

Re:easy (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914185)

Just launch a triangular ship and shoot at it in two dimensions. When you get in trouble try hyperspace.

OMG! Now there are TWO asteroids! We're doomed for sure now!

Re:easy (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914245)

hyperspace

Pathetic Atarians, we call it the third dimension [wikimedia.org] !

Please make it brake (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912953)

I have a very small, rather shameful hope that this thing will actually start braking, get into orbit and start broadcasting.

With Apologies to Futurama (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913061)

"YOU HAVE 72 HOURS TO START BROADCASTING NEW FIREFLY EPISODES. YOU HAVE 72 HOURS TO START BROADCASTING NEW FIREFLY EPISODES. YOU HAVE 72 HOURS TO START BROADCASTING NEW FIREFLY EPISODES."

Re:With Apologies to Futurama (5, Funny)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913381)

-OK Nathan, here's the setup. You, Morena, Jewel, Gina, and Summer are all in the ship. And someone releases a love drug. And next thing, all 5 of you are going to town.
-You sure this isn't some fanboy's fantasy?
-Possibly, but he's got a giant rock hanging over LA and demanding that we do this.
-Well sure. I mean...*eyeing fellow cast members*...anything to save the Earth.

Re:With Apologies to Futurama (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42914219)

I'll be in my bunk...

I wonder if... (-1, Offtopic)

dobbshead (1602355) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913095)

[evil calvin grin] ...it's wrong to even momentarily hope it hits the intelligent design legislation idiots in Missouri?[/evil calvin grin]

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913701)

ID's most significant failing is that it is not falsifiable. But unfalsifiable does not equate to the notion that it never happened (nor does it mean that it did, actually).

ID's only significantly attractive feature is that it is the only hypothesis that there is even the slightest hope of, short of inventing time travel, actually ever finding scientific evidence of (eg, we discover the remains of an ancient advanced alien civilization somewhere, and are able to archeologically ascertain that life on earth was actually genetically engineered by them... or else an ancient superpowerful entity who can observably manipulate reality itself makes him or herself visibly known to the world in a manner that is objectively verifiable).

Re:I wonder if... (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914099)

Let's say for a second that intelligent design proponents are right. That you are also right in that aliens created us. This doesn't answer the underlying question: why do these aliens exist? Was it evolution or intelligent design? Repeat until you're bored to death.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914281)

This so-called "failing" of ID is equally unaccounted for in the theory of evolution, which necessitates that life itself exists in the first place.

I'm not suggesting that ID is accurate... only that, as I said, short of inventing time travel and somebody going back in time to observe it happening, it's the only hypothesis that we can probably come up with which has even the remotest hope of ever actually being validated. (Of course, what would be truly interesting is if in the process of going back in time to observe it, we end up seeding the planet with the initial genetic material from which life on earth ended up evolving... not sure if you'd call that ID or not, however.)

Re:I wonder if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42914715)

And of course you're mixing up abiogenesis and evolution.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914955)

Not at all.... my point was dismissing ID because it does not explain where life originally came from is just as invalid as dismissing evolution for the same reason.

But you raise a good point. ID is far more of an alternative hypothesis to abiogenesis than it is to evolution.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

the biologist (1659443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42916155)

Proponents of ID try to use it to explain where current life came from, while ignoring the initiation of life. Since they don't believe in evolution, it makes sense to them to focus on all the myriad ways life is now... instead of the simple one way life started.

Evolution explains where current life came from, but does not explain where/how the first biological replicator formed.

Which is to say, the "so-called failing" of ID to which you refer is not the reason that anyone takes issue with ID.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42916481)

Who says all ID proponents don't believe in evolution? The strongest case for ID isn't that evolution doesn't explain how life itself began, it's that we can't come up with a good justification for the alternative, which is to say "something mysterious happened", nor can we ever hope to actually say any more than this, since any efforts we might undertake to try to artificially recreate conditions in a lab, to see if life can really evolve "on its own" would ultimately be doomed to futility in this regard, because such those conditions would still be, themselves, "intelligently designed".

Most people that I know of who take exception to ID do it for one of three reasons: 1) they stubbornly reject it because of their existing beliefs, and without having any internal understanding of why; 2) it is not falsifiable; or 3) it leaves the question of where the other life began. I was asserting that position 3 is essentially identical to a similar weakness in evolution. If it is not part of evolution's job to explain how life began here, why should it be ID's job to explain how it began elsewhere? Position 1 is exactly the same reason that some religious people reject evolution, and is groundless. Position 2 is a legitimate reason to scientifically reject the hypothesis of ID, but it's important to realize that such rejection is not synonymous with falsehood (of course, such realization is not synonymous with veracity either... so the wisest thing to do is take the hypothesis with a very large grain of salt and move on to things that you actually *CAN* study and measure).

Re:I wonder if... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42920161)

The strongest case for ID isn't that evolution doesn't explain how life itself began,

And the weakness in the theory of gravity is that it doesn't explain incandescence. Just because something doesn't explain something it didn't set out to explain in no way weakens the theory.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42923369)

That's kind of my point.. If the fact that a hypothesis doesn't explain something it was never intended to explain should not be reasonably considered a weakness in the hypothesis, then why do is to so common for people criticize ID for the same?

Re:I wonder if... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42923525)

Because ID is a derivative of Creation, which does explain something ID does not. In fact, most people who advocate ID express that ID *does* explicitly include creation. The only time it doesn't is when religion is explicitly excluded from being allowed (government issues, schools and such). The great thing about ID is that it is 1000 different things, depending on who is using it.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42926067)

For what it's worth, ID does not equate to creationism. I'm not saying this to give it any more scientific credibility... I'm saying it because ID means only what ID stands for... "intelligent design". Sure. creationism is one possible (and certainly very popular interpretation of ID, but it's not the only one.. ID is not remotely mutually exclusive to the theory of evolution.... it is only mutually exclusive to the the notion that life happened here merely by chance. And believe it or not, it's the only hypothesis that we have about our origins that has even the smallest hope of a chance of ever being ultimately proven, unless we can ever invent time travel and observe what happened directly. Not that this makes it somehow more scientiically valid... it's only real strength is that it gives you a whole lot more to work with than the alternative, which is to just shrug and say that we'll probably never know for sure.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42926131)

ID isn't a "how" or "what" but a "why". That makes it the same as creationism. It's like evolution without the natural selection. Unnatural selection ID being put up against natural selection evolution does make it mutually exclusive. As I said, " The great thing about ID is that it is 1000 different things, depending on who is using it.", and I never hear in these school debates where they want to include ID because it is evolution/natural selection.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928501)

ID does not attempt to remotely answer any "why"... it really only offers a hypothesis about "what". It's an alternative to the notion that life developed here entirely by chance. Nothing more, and nothing less. Creationism is entirely compatible with ID, but really, they aren't actually the same thing. ID only attempts to convey a notion of what happened to start life here, on this planet. Not elsewhere. It does not preclude the possibility that the originator of life here may have evolved elsewhere, while creationism does.

And if ID were actually true, it would not mean that the entire notion of natural selection was false, it would only mean that we, here and today, on this planet, were not actually a byproduct of that process.

For example, an unusual shaped mound of sand that you might find on the beach might have been formed by natural processes, but that does not necessarily mean that it *WAS*. Nor does it even mean that it was particularly likely (or unlikely for that matter).

As for notion that ID does not really answer "how", once we've created artificial life ourselves (and we're getting closer all the time), we may very well have an answer. In fact, that may arguably be the most interesting aspect of ID... when we "intelligently design" a new life form ourselves. The great irony would be if such life forms, upon developing intelligence, and many hundreds of thousands of generations later, started debating amongst themselves whether or not they were ever "intelligently designed", or if they would simply take the existence of phenomena that we had designed for them for granted as part of a natural process, that is completely unguided.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932991)

ID does not attempt to remotely answer any "why"...

You must hear different people talking about it than me. The "intelligence" in ID is God. Or so I'm told.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937693)

Possibly... although I tend to hear that the "intelligence" in ID is supposedly God from people who detract from it *FAR* more often than I hear it from supporters of the notion.

Regardless, it's still an unfalsifiable premise without inventing time travel and going back to watch.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42942351)

Possibly... although I tend to hear that the "intelligence" in ID is supposedly God from people who detract from it *FAR* more often than I hear it from supporters of the notion.

That's because when everyone hears ID, they think "creation by God" so you don't have to say it. The proponents don't mention God so that when anyone else brings it up, they can claim strawman, but the ID proponents stick together because they all know "God" is the core.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

dobbshead (1602355) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980851)

ID's most significant failing is that it is not falsifiable. But unfalsifiable does not equate to the notion that it never happened (nor does it mean that it did, actually).

ID's most significant failing is that it DELIBERATELY DOES NOT SPECIFY any intelligent designer, and is therefore not only not falsifiable, it's so meaningless as a "hypothesis" in the first place that it doesn't really even warrant the nomenclature in the first place. All it posits is "life is just so complicated, something even cleverer must have done all this, life can't have just happened".

The reason it doesn't specify an intelligent designer is of course purely political and utterly disingenuous for it —if the majority of people who want to push intelligent design as a hypothesis actually put their cards on the table and posited their favoured specific brand of intelligent designer (to whit, one JHVH), it would not be able to be taught in US public schools due to restrictions on the separation of superstition and state.

And even if it could, said JHVH is subject to exactly the same ID problem —"JHVH is just so complicated something cleverer must have done all this, JHVH can't have just happened", to infinite regress.

Now many will try to point out that ID doesn't necessarily posit JHVH —but that's because it is framed in a deliberately vague and disingenuous way by the JHVH supporters to obfuscate the whole affair. So that exobiogenesis etc people will sign up to it to obscure the real point of it. It's why the hypothesis is non falsifiable — there's absolutely no agent specified, ergo no real hypothesis, to falsify. It also makes no real attempt to explain why life can't have "just happened", and indeed most proponents are comfortable in asserting that said JHVH definitely did just happened, despite the rather hypocritical contradiction to their supposedly closely held ID tenet that amazingly complicated things can't just happen.

So ID is deliberately designed to make no actual hypothesis for fear of invalidating itself from being taught for political reasons, and it hopes that no one will notice it is a paradox that leads to infinite regress. All it's really aimed at doing is getting bible studies to be taught as having equivalence to science. Which is frankly preposterous.

If they really want to teach an actual extant controversy involving JHVH they should start from here: christianity is a minority superstition in a sea of thousands of equally valid superstitions. Discuss.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914733)

Would it not be better as a first strike for the country overall for it to hit D.C. and take out most of both parties?

Delta-V (2)

ElizabethGreene (1185405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913137)

I wonder how much delta-V it would take to circularize it's orbit? Surely there is something useful we could do with it?

Re:Delta-V (1)

jt_04 (2687097) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913237)

sure, like use it to sweep up all our space debris. unless it breaks apart and makes more debris, that is.

Re:Delta-V (3, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914239)

It's moving about 8km/s relatively, with a periapsis of about 27000km. Orbital speed at GEO is about 3km/s. It has a mass of 190000 metric tons.

You should be able to calculate the delta-V from all that.

Re:Delta-V (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42919587)

I thought it was more funny than interesting but I don't have mod points.

Way Cooler (1)

Zeroblitzt (871307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913139)

I think it would be a much cooler event if the Russian meteor this morning WAS related.

Re:Way Cooler (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913225)

I think it was. Too big a coincidence otherwise.

Re:Way Cooler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913609)

Yep, no mere coincidence at all. I mean, do you really expect me to believe that 2 meteors travelling in opposite directions are completely unrelated?

Re:Way Cooler (4, Funny)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913761)

So, what you're saying is that aliens are shooting asteroids at us from both sides?!?

Re:Way Cooler (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914119)

ELAINE: No, no . . . but it is quite a coincidence.

RAVA: Yes, that's all, a coincidence!

ELAINE: A big coincidence.

RAVA: Not a big coincidence. A coincidence!

ELAINE: No, that's a big coincidence.

RAVA: That's what a coincidence is! There are no small coincidences and big coincidences!

ELAINE: No, there are degrees of coincidences.

RAVA: No, there are only coincidences! ..Ask anyone! (Enraged, she asks everyone in the elevator) Are there big coincidences and small coincidences, or just coincidences? (Silent) ..Well?! Well?!..

(Everyone just kinda shrugs, then murmurs. The elevator doors open)

are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913223)

wouldn't it be possible that for every rock we see in space there are some smaller rocks held in loose gravitational formation?

these things have been out there for a very very long time. plenty of time to pick up loose junk

i mean look at pluto: every time we look at it we find a new pebble moon. pluto is not exactly a gravitational power house. it's just that the neighborhood is full of a lot of flotsam and jetsam

i wouldn't be surprised that deep space objects, no matter the size, are often loose agglomerations of stuff

i think it is very possible that this meteor very much is (was) associated with DA14

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913309)

I think your analysis does not use any actual numbers. Trajectory, speed... something in a gravitational field that breaks off isn't going to greatly change those numbers. The numbers between the two simply do not match, according to NASA.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913371)

well then we are left with extraordinarily cosmically improbable coincidence that two large objects approach the earth in a small time frame

people love to say correlation is not causation

what they forget to say is that correlation is the first step in establishing causation

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913515)

I think a lot of scientists, when they first heard about it, were totally ready to think that this was a part of DA14. But as more evidence came in, we realized that they were basically heading in opposite directions; there's no way their orbits could be related. Really all this proves is that there's a lot of space rocks out there we haven't found.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913725)

if the loose gravitational agglomeration is large enough, it's possible for the smaller rock to pass by on the other side of the earth, swinging around and appearing to come from another direction

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914517)

if the loose gravitational agglomeration is large enough, it's possible for the smaller rock to pass by on the other side of the earth, swinging around and appearing to come from another direction

This isn't an issue of two objects "appearing to come from another direction." The problem is that the direction of travel of the two objects was tremendously different. In other words, they don't share the same orbit around the Sun. Notice that the Russian meteor isn't following a path anything like DA14's south to north path: http://attivissimo.blogspot.com/2013/02/russian-meteor-path-plotted-in-google.html [blogspot.com] .

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (3, Informative)

Clueless Moron (548336) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914591)

No... if that meteorite was in an orbit 30,000km radius from DA14 (which it would have to have been in order to hit Russia when it did), its orbital velocity would necessarily have to be very low. As in, so slow it would take millenia to complete even one orbit. Since DA14 is moving at a whopping 30km/second relative to Earth, anything orbiting it that far out would be moving in virtually the same direction and speed with respect to us.

In short, there's no way that meteorite could have been orbiting DA14

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42952559)

That is assuming it's not on the backswing of an orbit and/or
  perturbed by the moon,how can you really make this statement when there is no info on the Russian bolides orbit.They made huge mistakes with Apophis.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913583)

The object that entered over Russia was not "large", at least not in the sense 2012 DA14 is.

If they were related there would likely be many more entry events before and after 2012 DA14.

And the coincidence is not nearly as improbably as you suggest, the Earth suffers many entry events each day of varying sizes. This was a bit bigger than most, but certainly not unheard of. The most unusual thing about it is that it was captured on video.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913863)

no, the one over russia was very rare. it was very large

the tunguska event in 1908, ironically also over siberia, is the last time we had something as large or larger, a century ago

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914565)

no, the one over russia was very rare. it was very large

the tunguska event in 1908, ironically also over siberia, is the last time we had something as large or larger, a century ago

Citation needed. The Tunguska event came from an object on the order of 100 meters in diameter (http://web.utk.edu/~comet/papers/nature/TUNGUSKA.html). The early estimate I saw from NASA of today's meteor's diameter was 10 meters in diameter. That's a 1000x difference in volume, making your comparison pretty extreme.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42915143)

Sorry, you're simply not correct. Tunguska released energy equivalent to 10 - 20 Megatons (very rough estimate) and flattened over 2,000sq KM for forest. Thousands would be *dead* if this was even remotely that scale of event, not merely cut with shards of glass.

Events of the size seen today happen roughly every 10 years or so, maybe more since if they happen over the ocean we might not detect it at all and until recently always-on video recording devices have been pretty rare.

2012 DA14 (~50m) is likely not as large as the Tunguska object. No, Tunguska was truly exceptional in the history of human experience. Today's "Russian Object" is estimated to be in the order of 15m, substantially smaller. Probably around 150 - 200 Kilotons.

1930 in Brazil, estimated ~100kt - 1MT energy release.

1947, Siberia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikhote-Alin_meteorite, made craters 28m wide, 70 tons of recovered material.

In 2002, a 10m rock in the Eastern Med:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Mediterranean_event

In 2008 over Sudan, 2 - 5m
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_TC3

in 2009 over Indonesia, ~10m

Please stop commenting unless it's to ask a question to gain knowledge, you clearly have no grasp of the subject matter involved.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42915217)

Meteors of the estimated size of the one in Russia hit Earth once every decade to once every year. The on that was tracked to hit in Africa in 2008 was almost 10 times as massive. They are more frequent than you think, just not usually over urban areas and caught on large numbers of cameras, especially more than 10-20 years ago, where lucky coincidences like sporting events were needed to catch sightings on tape.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913511)

While your theory makes sense, I would hope the experts also took into consideration things such as speed and direction of travel. Even more could be told if/when fragments are found. The type of meteorite can be determined and see if it is a close match for what DA14 is expected to be, and certain geological signs can tell its history, and possibly even the speed of entry (frictional heating can cause various chemical reactions, all leaving their mark).

While it is a strange coincidence that this happened so close to the approach, it may well be just that, coincidence. Do not mistake correlation for causation.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913833)

the experts weren't even looking for the russian rock. there's no data on it except for the moment of impact

if the loose gravitational agglomeration is large enough, it's possible for the smaller rock to pass by on the other side of the earth, swinging around and appearing to come from another direction

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42915327)

You realize the Hill sphere for 2012 DA14 in the asteroid-Sun system is about 6 km? Anything outside of that is dominated by interaction with the sun, and for it to hit about 23-24 hours before the closest approach means it would have to be over a million kilometers away from 2012 DA14. If it was in anyway related to 2012 DA14, it wouldn't be a "loose gravitational agglomeration," it would be just another rock going in about the same direction, due to a common origin or otherwise. And such an arrangement would be rather unstable for them to stay close together, so unless they broke up rather recently, it would be unlikely, much more unlikely than yet another 10 m meteor hitting on a specific day.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42915367)

Earth's gravity simply isn't strong enough to cause a 180 degree course adjustment in the manner you suggest. Gravity, in spite of what you might think, is pretty weak. An object traveling that fast relative to the Earth would certainly be on a different orbit around the Sun after passing by, but it wouldn't pass near the Earth again for quite some time. Much longer than the time frame necessary to associate an object with such a divergent orbit with 2012 DA14.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42917343)

This isn't "another direction", it's track was 90 degrees removed from DA14. There are no known natural forced that would make an object's path change in that way. Sorry.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (2)

HairyNevus (992803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913603)

"On the cosmological scale, it's all relative" - Septimus Signus

Sorry, just picked up Skyrim again after almost a year. But, if your point is that at one point in time, very far off, these two 'hunks of rock' may have been attached then I suppose you're correct. I mean, if the Big Bang was an explosion of matter in space (at one point in time), these hunks of rock may have been very close to the matter that makes up yours or my body at one point. However, I'll trust NASA if they say that for our purposes, that on a smaller timescale, these two have nothing to do with each other.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913703)

" it's just that the neighborhood is full of a lot of flotsam and jetsam"
    Flotsam is just stuff washed overboard- random act. Jetsam is something deliberately thrown overboard. There are salvage rights issues with each, which have changed over the years.
    However, if anything was found to be deliberately thrown away in Pluto's somewhat bizarre orbit, expect some big changes in Maritime law.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914877)

So dead satellites and broken satellite parts as a result of micrometeor impacts are among the flotsam, and the orbiting boosters and other debris are jetsam. I don't see why the phrase doesn't apply here.

Re:are we sure it has nothing to do with DA14? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42924843)

"So dead satellites and broken satellite parts as a result of micrometeor impacts are among the flotsam, and the orbiting boosters and other debris are jetsam. I don't see why the phrase doesn't apply here."

    Because if _we_ eventually find some jettisoned parts in Pluto's orbit, it most certainly wasn't _we_ who jettisoned it in the first place.
    Maritime Law doesn't apply to the Ferengi. Yet.

    Please bear with me: My father was a recognized expert in the areas of Maritime Law as regards to Marine Insurance, and gave evidence in Court.
    One thorny issue was this: are the tens of thousands of Containers piling up in ports in the Third World; countries with significant imports, and insignificant exports, to be considered Flotsam or Jetsam? Those Third World countries considered it Jetsam. The containers were deliberately left behind, thus abandoned, and they could do with them as they wish.
    Shipping companies wanted the containers to be considered Flotsam, and it was the responsibility of the Countries to return them.
    Container companies just wanted their containers back.
    The issue was resolved in court before my father could testify, having inconveniently died the year before. The decision ultimately boiled down to this: Flotsam and Jetsam were the same, and kicked it back.
    Containers are now individually tracked, and a small industry of Container Recovery evolved. It was my father's idea.
    Now as to space, where Maritime Law does not yet apply... The USA claims that any equipment that was left on the Moon still belongs to them. But there are companies now seriously considering going there and retrieving the artifacts. Considering the black market in Moon rocks is quite lucrative, what is the value of a Moon Hasselblad? Or a Lunar Rover? All with full Provenance.
    There actually was a movie dealing with this: "Salvage 1". Great fun, but with a serious implication: Finders Keepers. A very Ferengi concept.

    (I could go on... a lot, but this is not the place or time. I'm well past my tl:dr limit; I doubt if anybody has read this far.)

Live Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913295)

So Valve is in the broadcasting business now?

I Sure Hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913387)

They paid attention in basic math when they were young. 17,000 miles is awfully tiny on a galactic scale. I'd hate to see moments before it passes "Oops ! silly mistake!"

Ustream claims capacity for 3.3 million viewers (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913477)

Over 300,000 watching the live feed from Ustream right now. Come on Slashdot, we can break 'em!

On another note, it's funny that the asteroid shows as a streak on camera. Most of astronomy is about long exposures, so the camera at the Gingin Observatory apparently isn't very fast at all. This particular event is radically faster than most of what astronomy observes. If the watching of large rocks becomes a world-wide pastime, observatories are going to start wanting budgets to add a high speed camera.

Re:Ustream claims capacity for 3.3 million viewers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42914189)

Quick, someone put a donation link on the feed.

Re:Ustream claims capacity for 3.3 million viewers (1)

Lord Lemur (993283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914243)

If the watching of large rocks becomes a world-wide pastime, observatories are going to start wanting budgets to add a high speed camera.

Sadly, I doubt there is much reason to fear that.

Object Moved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913611)

Object Moved

This document may be found here [nbcnews.com]

Flash Gordon (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913637)

How can w be sure this is not Ming from Flash Gordon (1980 movie) that sent it since Flash stopped him the last time?

Just your friendly neighborhood physicist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913715)

This asteroid won't do squat. Even if it was coming directly at us. Seriously. Don't panic, don't freak out, don't lose any sleep over a 45m asteroid barreling towards earth at a "break-neck" 7.8 km/s. If someone is screaming "THE END IS NIGH!!! THE ASTEROID WILL KILL US ALL!!!!" point at them and laugh in their face.

The following is backed by SCIENCE:
https://www.purdue.edu/impactearth

If we assume that the asteroid is made of pure freaking iron, comes in head on, is moving at 11 km/s, smacks into crystalline rock, and you are standing 1 km from where it hits, it's still not all that impressive. Sure, it might cause a little havoc, might even destroy a small town, but that is the best a 45m asteroid could do, going at that speed. It won't get ANY worse than that. But that's not even going to happen, because I can guarantee you that it's NOT pure iron, it's NOT moving that fast, and IF it hits, it won't be head on. It's much more likely that it is, at best, made of dense rock. so if we assume EVERYTHING else is the same, ideal stuff, guess what? It knocks down trees and some buildings, but it doesn't even touch the ground. So again, city crisis as best.

Re:Just your friendly neighborhood physicist (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | about a year and a half ago | (#42915853)

Cool tool. Can you summarize the important assumptions being made?

Re:Just your friendly neighborhood physicist (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | about a year and a half ago | (#42916117)

I'd be interested to know if anyone can spot something that would make this simulation invalid in the case of 2012 DA14. I just searched through and copy-pasted excerpts containing the word assumption for effect, but have no idea how important any of these are:

"To implement such a program, it is necessary to make some simplifying assumptions that limit the accuracy of any predictions."
https://www.purdue.edu/impactearth/Content/pdf/Documentation.pdf [purdue.edu]

assuming that the meteoroid is approximately spherical

For the purposes of the Earth Impact Effects Program, we
assume that the trajectory of the impactor is a straight line
from the top of the atmosphere to the surface, sloping at a
constant angle to the horizon given by the user. Acceleration
of the impactor by the Earthâ(TM)s gravity is ignored, as is
deviation of the trajectory toward the vertical in the case that
terminal velocity is reached, as it may be for small impactors.
The curvature of the Earth is also ignored. The atmosphere is
assumed to be purely exponential:

We define the airburst altitude zb to be the height above the surface at which the impactor diameter L(z)
= 7L0. All the impact energy is assumed to be deposited at this altitude;

if the unbulked breccia lens volume Vbr (i.e., the observed
volume of the breccia lens multiplied by a 90â"95% bulking
correction factor; Grieve and Garvin 1984) is assumed to be
related to the final crater diameter by: Vbr â 0.032Dfr^3

Assuming that the top
surface of the breccia lens is parabolic and that the
brecciation process increases the bulk volume of this
material by 10%

we assume, based on numerical modeling work
(Pierazzo and Melosh 2000; Ivanov and Artemieva 2002), that
the volume of impact melt is roughly proportional to the
volume of the transient crater

Here we assume that the
crater floor diameter is similar to the transient crater diameter

Numerical simulations of vapor
plume expansion (Melosh et al. 1993; Nemtchinov et al. 1998)
predict that the fireball radius at the time of maximum radiation
is 10â"15 times the impactor diameter. We use a value of 13 and
assume âoeyield scalingâ applies to derive a relationship between
impact energy E in joules and the fireball radius in meters

The time at which thermal radiation is at a maximum Tt is
estimated by assuming that the initial expansion of the fireball
occurs at approximately the same velocity as the impact:

for a first-order estimate we
assume Î = 3 Ã-- 10â'3 and ignore the poorly-constrained
velocity dependence.

âoeas a rough approximation, the amount of thermal energy
received at a given distance from a nuclear explosion may be
assumed to be independent of the visibility.â

To calculate the seismic magnitude of an impact event,
we assume that the âoeseismic efficiencyâ (the fraction of the
kinetic energy of the impact that ends up as seismic wave
energy) is one part in ten thousand

we assume that the main seismic wave energy is that
associated with the surface waves.

For simplicity, we ignore the uplifted fraction of the
crater rim material. We estimate the thickness of ejecta at a
given distance from an impact by assuming that the material
lying above the pre-impact ground surface is entirely ejecta,
that it has a maximum thickness te = htr at the transient crater
rim, and that it falls off as one over the distance from the
crater rim cubed

we
assume that the transient crater is a paraboloid with a depth to
diameter ratio of 1:2

assumes that all ejecta is thrown out of the crater from
the same point and at the same angle (45Â) to the horizontal.

we assume that the impact-generated shock wave in
the air is directly analogous to that generated by an explosive
charge detonated at the ground surface

the Mach region is
assumed to begin at the impact point

For convenience, however, we assume that the shock
wave travels at the ambient sound speed in air

The air blast model we use extrapolates from data
recorded after a very small explosion (in impact cratering
terms) in which the atmosphere may be treated as being of
uniform density. Furthermore, at this scale of explosion, the
peak overpressure decays to zero at distances so small (

Re:Just your friendly neighborhood physicist (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year and a half ago | (#42917649)

While some religious nuts are over-playing this, you are seriously under-playing it. We would not "all die", but you would certainly not want to be standing 1 km from the [projected] impact point. It would be like a 1-2 Megaton bomb going off more-or-less over your head (from the Purdue link - which I ran and found the results rather ambiguous btw). The Hiroshima bomb (also an air blast) was only about 1% of that energy and took out the centre of a city to a radius of about 2 km.

Asteroid 2012-DA14 is about the same size as the 1908 Tunguska Meteorite. Take a look at the descriptions and the photo (taken ~50 years after the event) and the descriptions. Trees were flattened out to 25 km. Here :-

www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/from-the-archive-blog/2013/feb/08/tunguska-asteroid-comet-1908-siberia

Re:Just your friendly neighborhood physicist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42921661)

It really depends on at what altitude it blows up and releases most of that energy, which in large part would depend on what angle the meteor comes into the atmosphere. That can make it difficult to compare to nuclear weapons where a lot of effort is spent on figuring out what is the optimal altitude that would maximize damage to the ground.

Video and interactive WebGL animations (4, Informative)

huntes (533085) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913729)

We put together a blog post with a video and interactive WebGL demos that will let you see the path of the asteroid in relation to the satellites in orbit: http://blogs.agi.com/agi/2013/02/04/2012-da14-asteroid-animation/ [agi.com]

T Minus 5 minutes till Impact (1)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914005)

...and counting.

Whoosh! (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914027)

I sure hope the NASA video includes the sound the asteroid makes as it goes by.

Re:Whoosh! (1)

corbettw (214229) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914169)

Um, asteroids don't make sounds.

Re:Whoosh! (1)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914279)

They have always made kind of a dull rumbling sound when I shoot them.

Re:Whoosh! (2)

treeves (963993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914625)

You said that just to get another whoosh, didn't you?

Re:Whoosh! (1)

corbettw (214229) | about a year and a half ago | (#42916713)

;)

Re:Whoosh! (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year and a half ago | (#42917659)

Whooooooosh !!

Re:Whoosh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42914303)

It's a streaming video. In space, nobody can hear you stream.

I hope we get more coverage like this. (2)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914029)

I hope the mainstream media gives more attention to this instead of some celebrity bullshit. People might start gaining an interest in this stuff and maybe give this subject matter the attention it deserves.

If it hit us... a good thing? (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42914261)

Not that I'm hoping that it squishes innocent people or anything. I was just thinking that an impact with an object of DA14's size could be a great way to get some funding back into the sciences. All without that pesky nuclear winter that a more Apophis sized object would bring. Maybe a collision could give mankind a common enemy.... SPACE!

kilometers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42917535)

i must be the only person who doesn't use metric. i had to convert 27,650 kilometers to 17,180 miles. 45 meters is equal to about 147 feet 7 inches. just sayin'

Re:kilometers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932653)

WEIRDO!

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