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NASA Testing Planetary Defense System on Asteroid

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#1 Ghost in the Machine

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 11:49 AM

How NASA Plans to Test its Planetary Defense Systems on Close-Approach Asteroid
 
NASA is preparing to test out its planetary defense systems on an asteroid that will come extremely close to Earth next week.
 
Asteroid TC4 will pass us by on October 12 at an estimated distance of 31,000 miles—that’s an eighth of the distance between our planet and the moon, so just a whisker in astronomical terms. About 50 feet wide, the asteroid poses absolutely no threat to Earth. But it presents NASA with an opportunity to practice for a real-life impact event.
 
 
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"This is the perfect target for such an exercise because while we know the orbit of 2012 TC4 well enough to be absolutely certain it will not impact Earth, we haven't established its exact path just yet," says Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies.
 
This experiment will test how well NASA can determine the orbit of a newly detected asteroid that might pose a danger to us. If the agency can successfully track an asteroid of this size, it would then be possible to determine where it is likely to impact the planet. Then, we could decide whether or not we need to intercept it.
 
2012tc4-graphic.jpg
 
 
Small asteroids hit Earth almost daily, breaking up harmlessly in the upper atmosphere. Objects large enough to do damage at the surface are much rarer. Objects larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in diameter -- large enough to cause global effects -- have been the focus of NASA’s ground-based search for potentially hazardous objects with orbits that bring them near the Earth, and about 93 percent of these sized objects have already been found. DART would test technologies to deflect objects in the intermediate size range—large enough to do regional damage, yet small enough that there are many more that have not been observed and could someday hit Earth. NASA-funded telescopes and other assets continue to search for these objects, track their orbits, and determine if they are a threat. 
 
To assess and formulate capabilities to address these potential threats, NASA established its Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) in 2016, which is responsible for finding, tracking and characterizing potentially hazardous asteroids and comets coming near Earth, issuing warnings about possible impacts, and assisting plans and coordination of U.S. government response to an actual impact threat.
 
 
To learn more about NASA planetary defense and DART visit: 
 
 

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#2 Feathers

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 12:11 PM

Sounds like Reagans old Star Wars plan on steroids.


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Posted 08 October 2017 - 02:12 PM

Sounds like Reagans old Star Wars plan on steroids.

 

Yeah, but this is supposed to just track incoming asteroids. Doesn't say anything about how to nudge them away from Earth.


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#4 Ghost in the Machine

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 02:27 PM

Maybe that's what that mini space shuttle is for.
 
Who knows why they blast that thing off.
 
Supposedly, it's unmanned.
 
It goes up and comes down a while later.
 
Outfit them both with whatever it takes to deflect all incoming rocks of appropriate size. 
 
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Too much?
 
:funny-chicken-smiley-emoticon:
 
Oh well, how about this: 
 
Large space cannons?
 
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:chuckle:
 
Most likely, a satellite missile system...
 
western-space-agencies-are-tracking-what
 
In 2007, China destroyed one of its own, aging weather satellites with an anti-satellite device mounted on a ballistic missile. The result was a proliferation of space debris that, as depicted in a fictional scenario in last year's blockbuster "Gravity," poses a danger to other satellites.
 
The US followed suit the next year by destroying a spy satellite — one that was already out of commission — simply by ramming a missile into it; no explosive was used. At the time, the Pentagon specified that resulting debris would burn upon re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.
 
The difference here, of course, is that Russia's experiment could involve an asset with more longevity, rather than a missile used just once. If it is indeed a weapon, it could lend new urgency to the previously tentative race to weaponize not just air, land, and sea, but space as well.
 

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 07:11 AM

Yeah, but this is supposed to just track incoming asteroids. Doesn't say anything about how to nudge them away from Earth.

 

All you can really hope for at this point would be if NASA can see one of the bigger rocks approaching. According to the media they sure do seem to miss a lot them as they go by. 


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