Near-Earth objects – objects with a thousand kilometers in diameter




Near-Earth objects – objects with a thousand kilometers in diameter

NEOs (Near-Earth, NEO) – are asteroids and comets flying in orbit around the Earth at a distance of 45 million kilometers. They vary in size – some only a couple of meters, but there are monsters – up to 41 kilometers, as the largest near-Earth asteroid, 1036 Ganymed. Discovered more than 10,000 asteroids and comets that can pass by the Earth, and some have been successfully undertaken . 10000th-Earth object, asteroid 2013 MZ5, was recorded not long ago – June 18, 2013 telescope Pan-STARRS-1 located in the crater of Haleakala.

Now, NASA has decided to draw some conclusions.

Of the 10,000 finds about 10% are represented by objects the size of a kilometer or more. This is the maximum amount that the collision of the body with the Earth can cause curious and unpleasant consequences. NASA NEOO program emphasizes that none of these objects is not currently a threat to earthlings. 98% of all near-Earth objects have been reported as part of NASA.

“The first near-Earth object was opened in 1898,” – said Don Yeomans, a longtime manager of NASA NEO Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. – “For the next hundred years, it was found only about 500. But now, with the start of the program NEO Observations, we literally broke the barrier. The paper has other, more efficient systems, and we closely monitor where the NEO in the solar system now and where they will be in the future.

Following Yeomans performs Lindley Johnson, a spokesman for the program NEOO headquarters NASA:

“Finding the 10000th near-Earth object – a significant milestone. However, we have to find about 10 times more objects before we are assured that none of them will not cause harm to the residents of the Earth. ”

During the 10-year-old Johnson was working 76% of discoveries NEO.

Asteroid 2013 MZ5 across approximately 300 meters. Its orbit is well-defined and clear: he did not get close enough to Earth to be dangerous. Although the long history of the planet Earth has fallen quite a lot of interesting meteorite .

Астероиды, тысячи их.

The vast majority of NEO less than one kilometer, and the smaller the size, the larger the number is growing. For example, it is estimated that about fifteen thousand of these objects the size of half a football field (140 meters), and more than a million – a third of a football field (30 meters). NEO, fell to the ground, should be the size of 30 meters or more to cause significant damage in a populated area. About 30 percent of the 140-meter objects are found, but the 30-meter NEO registered less than one percent.

The program currently supports NEOO Lincoln Laboratory research program at MIT (LINEAR); Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NEAT); University of Arizona (Spacewatch and Catalina Sky Survey) and Lowell Observatory (LONEOS). All these teams report their observations to the Minor Planet Center, the central core, which unites all of the data on the observations of the movement of near-Earth objects.

“When I started to explore asteroids and comets in 1992, the discovery of near-Earth object was a rare event,” – said Tim Spahr, director of the Minor Planet Center. – “Today, we find an average of three NEO daily and monthly Minor Planet Center has received reports of hundreds of thousands of observations of asteroids, including those in the main belt. Colossal work. ”

Within ten years, the program has achieved a major goal – to find and register a 90% near-Earth objects that are one kilometer in diameter. In December 2005, Congress mandated NASA to find and catalog 90% NEO, larger than 140 meters in diameter. When this is achieved, the risk of unexpected future object collision with the Earth will be reduced to 1%. People will be saved in any event, as with the current technology NEO any object may be previously rejected. It is only necessary to have time to find it.

Currently, the main opening NEO is an initiative of Catalina Sky Survey, Pan-STARRS and LINEAR. The current thread open NEO is 1000 per year.

In 2016, NASA will launch a robotic probe to one of the most dangerous of the known NEO. OSIRIS-REx mission to an asteroid Bennu (101955) will pave the way for future spacecraft that will monitor the future objects that are yet to be found. In addition to the monitoring of potential threats, the study of asteroids and comets can learn more about the origin of our solar system, the emergence of water on Earth, and even the origin of organic molecules, which led to the development of life. The study is the latest issue not only on Mars .

The observations in the framework of the WISE mission initiated by NASA revealed a family of asteroids that may be responsible for the death of the dinosaurs . This question is still one of the greatest mysteries of the earth.

Метеорит Хоба

Hoba meteorite. 60 tons.

Scientists believe that about 65 million years ago, a large asteroid crashed into the Earth, which led to the extinction of dinosaurs and other life forms on our planet. However, they do not know where it came from an asteroid and in what way he came to Earth. A 2007 study using data from ground-based telescopes first suggested that Baptistina – a huge asteroid – in no way to blame.

According to the theory, Baptistina crashed into another asteroid in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter about 160 million years ago. The collision generated a lot of debris the size of a mountain. One of these pieces of stone fell to the Earth than the incredibly upset dinosaurs.

When this scenario was first proposed, evidence developed that the family of asteroids Baptistina uncomplicated recipe for disaster. New observations from WISE allow astronomers to state with certainty that Baptistina can be safely ruled out as a suspect.

“As a result of research teams WISE, the death of the dinosaurs remains under wraps,” – said Lindley Johnson, a spokesman for the program NEOO at NASA. – “Calculations show that the size and reflectivity of the Baptistina family members can find them guilty, but now we know that these estimates can be removed. WISE Infrared light has allowed for more accurate calculations, which put the theory involving Baptistina into question. ”

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Tags: Asteroids , Dinosaurs , meteorites .


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