“There is an asteroid, discovered in December 2004, called Apophis. Named for the Egyptian god of death and darkness. It was named only after its trajectory was identified to intersect that of Earth… Turns out, in the year 2029, in the month of April… Apophis will come so close to Earth that it will dip below our orbiting communications satellites. And it is the size of the Rose Bowl. It will be the largest, closest thing we have ever observed to come by Earth. The orbit we now have for it is uncertain enough—because these things are hard to measure and hard to get an exact distance for—that we cannot tell you exactly where that trajectory will be. We know it won’t hit Earth, but we know it will be closer than the orbiting satellites. There is a range, a 600-mile zone, called the keyhole. If the asteroid goes through the middle of the keyhole, it will hit the Earth 7 years later. It will hit the Earth 500-kilometres west of Santa Monica. Now, that’s if it goes through the centre [of the keyhole]; if it goes through the centre, it hits the Pacific Ocean, plunges down into the Pacific to a depth of 3 miles, at which point it explodes, cavitating the Pacific in a hole that’s 3 miles wide, three 3 deep. That will send a tsunami wave outward from that location that’s 50 feet high. 5 storeys.”
NASA begs to differ:Using criteria developed in this research, new measurements possible in 2013 (if not 2011) will likely confirm that in 2036 Apophis will quietly pass more than 49 million km (30.5 million miles; 0.32 AU) from Earth on Easter Sunday of that year (April 13).
Much more at the NASA link.
Filed under : one more reason I adore the internet.
The NASA excerpt is misleading; the full article points out that the 2029 will still be a close call, while the excerpt is specifically talking about a second pass the asteroid will make in 2036.
The future for Apophis on Friday, April 13 of 2029 includes an approach to Earth no closer than 29,470 km (18,300 miles, or 5.6 Earth radii from the center, or 4.6 Earth-radii from the surface) over the mid-Atlantic, appearing to the naked eye as a moderately bright point of light moving rapidly across the sky. Depending on its mechanical nature, it could experience shape or spin-state alteration due to tidal forces caused by Earth’s gravity field.
This is within the distance of Earth’s geosynchronous satellites. However, because Apophis will pass interior to the positions of these satellites at closest approach, in a plane inclined at 40 degrees to the Earth’s equator and passing outside the equatorial geosynchronous zone when crossing the equatorial plane, it does not threaten the satellites in that heavily populated region.
It’ll be close enough that it’ll certainly be interesting, but not so close that it’s a threat. Let’s be clear, though — it will come much closer to the Earth than 30,500,000 miles.
How expensive? The bills totaled $618,616, almost two- thirds of it for the final 24 months, much of it for treatments that no one can say for sure helped extend his life.
In just the last four days of trying to keep him alive — two in intensive care, two in a cancer ward — our insurance was charged $43,711 for doctors, medicines, monitors, X-rays and scans. Two years later, the only thing I know for certain that money bought was confirmation that he was dying.
Since the disaster struck in Japan, about 800 workers have been evacuated from the damaged nuclear complex in Fukushima. The radiation danger is that great.
However, CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that a handful have stayed on the job, risking their lives, to try to save the lives of countless people they don’t even know.
Although communication with the workers inside the nuclear plant is nearly impossible, a CBS News consultant spoke to a Japanese official who made contact with one of the 50 inside the control center.
The official said that his friend, one of the Fukushima 50, told him that he was not afraid to die, that that was his job.
Cham Dallas, who led teams responding to the Chernobyl disaster, said that kind of response is not out of the normal for some workers in the nuclear energy sector.
“(In) my experience of people in the action area of nuclear power is much like that,” Dallas said.
The 50 are working amid decreasing but still dangerously high levels of radiation.
“The longer they stay the more dangerous it becomes for them,” said expert Margaret Harding. “I think it is a testament to their guts for them to say, ‘We’ll stay and if that means we go, we go.’”
If the contamination threat isn’t contained in a few weeks, finding enough workers willing to face the risks could become a crucial challenge.
Dallas said he expects that in that scenario, the Japanese energy authorities may have to find volunteers willing to undergo similar dangers, which will be hard to do, but not impossible.
Keep in mind they’d be volunteering to head into a place so potentially dangerous, that anyone within 20 miles of it was just asked to evacuate.