Xeni Jardin at 8:08 am Wed, Dec 12, 2012
ADVERTISE AT BOING BOING!
It’s closest approach was 18x farther away from earth than the moon is. In astronomical terms “close” but “nearly hit our planet” is a little hysterical, donchathink?
The second paragraph of the article:
“…came within 140,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of our planet at about 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT) Tuesday (Dec. 11), researchers said. For comparison, the moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 240,000 miles or so (386,000 km)”
Where did the “18x farther away than the moon” figure come from?
Still 20 diameters away. Maybe discount it to 15 or so because it only really has to come close enough for our gravitational field to suck it in. And its only 36 metres across so it might not have survived aerobraking. Its not up to the standards of Tunguska.
Where did “diameters” come from? We’re talking about the distance from the earth to the moon.
230,000/386,000 does not equal 20.
20 Earth diameters. I am talking about the cross section of the Earth from the POV of the asteroid.
Just like you I thought that article is about Toutatis. Then I actually read it. Spoiler alert: It isn’t.
Those Mayan apocalypse people would’ve been so smug if we got hit by an asteriod.
Well, it’s pretty clear the thing is just circling in for a landing in nine days. Nice knowing y’all!
Remember folks, support your local space program. The life you save may be all of it.
“Asteroid’s are nature’s way of saying: How’s that space program coming along?”
All of humanity, perhaps. But life has survived asteroid impacts several times larger than this “near miss”.
In some ways a new extinction event would be the best thing to happen to this planet.. it’d certainly get rid of a lot of the problems us humans waste our days wringing our hands over.
Life will find a way.
However, this more-or-less organized group of cells likes their current configuration. Or, at least the ones near the top say so.
And I hope you’re the first to go.
Nothing personal, of course.
Ha! It reminds me of a Larry Niven quote:
“The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn’t have a space program.”
That would certainly make for an extra-silly episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
I thought the Dinosaurs were destroyed by Gawd because they were having gay butt sex….and you know…Gawd hates faggz.
I liked it better when I didn’t know about giant rocks coming close to plummeting the only planet I have to live on.
“Knowing and not being able to fix it” is the unpleasant intermediate step between “helpless not knowing” and “being able to fix it.”
Yo, that ass-steroid was all up in my grill and I said mofo, get back jack, and it was all like, hey man, I just chillin’ here for a while, don’t get all wild ass and shit, I’m leavin’ now. So now that sonofabitch didn’t hit our ass and it was because this is OUR hood!
Never do that again. :)
Can someone explain to me how, if NASA knows the orbit of this asteroid, why did they only know it was headed straight for us a mere two days before possible impact? I thought the question at this point was technology to deflect objects heading toward Earth, not, simply detecting them.
We have the technology to watch the whole sky all the time, we just don’t have the budget.
2012 DA14 is almost twice as big and comes much closer, 0.1 x Lunar Distance, next Feb 15.
(This was supposed to be a reply to Casual_Economy, but I goofed and submitted it as a reply to all.)
From the article: “The near-Earth asteroid 2012 XE54, which was discovered Sunday (Dec. 9).”
They just discovered it, so no one knew the orbit, and they still won’t have worked it out completely from such a brief observation.
I’m a little ticked that I didn’t hear anything from @AsteroidWatch (JPL) about this until someone asked them on Twitter.
The asteroid in question was about 120ft across, so it would have exploded in the atmosphere and destroyed an area about 800 miles across – most likely in the ocean. So don’t worry, humanity would have survived. Also 140,000 miles is quite far away for a 120ft object if you think about it.
The one that has our name on it, we won’t even see coming.
I don’t know any of the technical details about this asteroid, but this could be a fun “what-if” simulator.
Comparing the area of the earth to the area of the circle within earth’s orbit, there’s less than 0.03% chance that any given asteroid passing between the earth and the moon would hit the earth. So saying that we “almost” got hit is a bit of an exaggeration…
True, but it was still too close for comfort.
It’s true that the chances of us getting hit by “any given asteroid” are vanishingly small. But there isn’t exactly a shortage of asteroids out there. Just by looking at the surface of the moon with the near-naked eye, we can tell that extinction-level impacts are only a matter of time.
Somewhat higher than that, I would think, as planets and asteroids are more or less in the same plane
Not only was their prediction inaccurate but the Mayans fucked up and transposed the date. Goddamn Mayans.
Donate to fund a space probe to find all these sneaky bastards.
I’m only here because I misread the title.
We Almost Got Gold Cocked by a….
I was like WTF – I have never heard of the phrase “Gold Cocked” – I must investigate.
Oh my damn tired eyes trickEd meez. FACK.
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