God of Destruction' asteroid Apophis will come to Earth in 2029 — and it could meet some tiny spacecraft

Mar 7, 2023
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Okay, so at least 100 years before we "really" have to worry about this huge beast hitting Earth, buuuuut... isn't that still a BIG problem for humanity?!

Not that we'll be around to experience this, but what estimate of catastrophe exists for the planet and the people who will be here? 100 years isn't that far away given the seriousness of this scenario.
 
The "at least" part is what we need to work with at this point. We are working on learning how best to deflect such asteroids. We will probably learn some very useful things about Apophis when it goes by in 2029. And, it will go buy about every 17 years thereafter, giving us other opportunities to learn more and maybe do something to reduce risk of later passages. We may not even need to do something in 100 years, depending on what future observations allow us to predict.

It is hard to realistically predict technological progress, but it is at least safe to say that we are currently rapidly increasing our space capabilities. SO, within the next 100 years, it seems likely that we will have technological infrastructure available to change Apophis' orbit in a much more reliably safe manner than anything we could attempt in 2029.

What we probably are going to want to do is to slow its orbital speed around the Sun when it is at its closest approach to the Sun. That could get it's path completely inside Earth's orbit, so there would be no chance for a collision. But, how to do that is the question. Just hitting it with an impactor like DART would probably knock enough stuff loose that some of it could have a high probability of hitting Earth on the next pass. That is not what we want. Maybe we will want to put a solar sail on it that is angled 45 degrees from the Sun direction to bounce light towards its forward direction, very slowly reducing its orbital speed. But, to do that, we would need to deal with Apophis' rotation in some way. Or, maybe we need to capture it in what amounts to a large net, with a steerable rocket motor attached that could both stop its rotation and then slow its orbital speed. We can't do either right now, but, hopefully, we will learn how to do such things, or maybe better things, within 100 years.
 
Don't me make laughs. We are stagnant, if not regressing.
I'll stand by my statement. I won't even bother to support it, other than to say just read the articles in Space.com, not to mention the other space news and science sites. Compare the launch frequencies, launch weights, communication capabilities, robotic mission capabilities, etc., etc.

Try to show us where we are "regressing". And remember, don't just focus on NASA, consider the capabilities of the whole human species in space, including China, etc.
 
Jan 28, 2023
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Easy to prove. We have not new ISS from decades. This old ISS had to be a retired a long time ago. We have missed the original timelines for a return to the moon that were programmed in the previous US president's term and we are still delaying. Yes China made its own progress in space, but up today it has not yet pushed forward the capabilities of humanity that were achieved in the last century.
 

Catastrophe

"Science begets knowledge, opinion ignorance.
In just under half a decade, a 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) asteroid named after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction, Apophis, will pass within 30,000 miles (48,300 kilometers) of Earth.

The impact site, known as the Chicxulub crater, is centred on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The asteroid is thought to have been between 10 and 15 kilometres wide

Isn't "god of destruction" stretching it a little?
Of course, speed also contributes to momentum.


Cat :)
 
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George seems to be conflating capability improvements with "achievement milestones". I stand by my statement that we are currently developing capabilities that will be useful in new endeavors in space, such as deflecting asteroids. Those capabilities will probably be robotic, rather than sending Bruce WiIlis out is a souped-up Space Shuttle. To that end, being able to design and fabricate and operate robotic infrastructure in space, plus our understanding of what asteroids are made of and how they behave under stress, will be the key ingredients for success. Technological advances such as long distance laser communications, rapid launch capabilities, heavy lift capabilities, in-orbit refueling capabilities, remote sampling and sample retrieval capabilities are all things that have been and are currently advancing. We don't have to have a colony on the Moon, or even a new LEO space station to deflect an asteroid. But, we may actually have both by the time that becomes necessary.
 
The impact site, known as the Chicxulub crater, is centred on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The asteroid is thought to have been between 10 and 15 kilometres wide

Isn't "god of destruction" stretching it a little?
Of course, speed also contributes to momentum.


Cat :)
Well, obviously the headline writers love the click-bait potential of a name like that.

But, the effects of a 1000' wide asteroid striking Earth are well beyond the "shooting star" level. The Tunguska event is believed to have been caused by a meteor only about 100 to 250 feet diameter. Yet it's air blast created an 830 square mile area of downed trees. Had that happened in Paris, London, Beijing, Los Angeles, etc., the destruction would have been at atomic bomb levels.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_event for a good discussion of impacts, air blasts, frequencies, etc.

There are some geological and archeological artefacts that indicate that there have been other air blasts with heat effects sufficient to melt sand and brick. It is even postulated that some of the stories in the Bible are actually the effects of an air blast. For instance, see https://earthsky.org/human-world/bible-story-of-sodom-meteor-strike/ . So, the effects of air blasts may well have been attributed to various deities in ancient history.

So, this time, I am going to side with the headline writers and admit that the 1000 foot wide asteroid Apophis hitting the Earth in the wrong place could create "destruction of Biblical proportions".
 
Jan 28, 2023
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Yes of course. We have been in the asteroid defense development stage since we first learned what an asteroid was and the real danger of one falling. So nothing new, we are still in development. That could continue forever or to the end of human civilization.
 
Jan 28, 2023
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Hmm, I'll wish you at least another 100 years live(for me too) to see if you're right. Still, this is a long enough time into the future, it will be truly tragic if we pay scientists to deal with the problem for that much longer and the money ends up being wasted.
 
May 17, 2024
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It will not strike the Earth. If necessary a rocket or several tickets will meet the asteroid at distance and "land" on it in calculated spots. The rockets will then be able to manoever the asteroid to a safe orbit.
 

Catastrophe

"Science begets knowledge, opinion ignorance.
George, you seem to be determined to make something of this that sounds negative.

Are you seriously suggesting that we are not likely to have developed the ability to successfully deflect an asteroid in the next 100 years?

Of course, it does depend critically on the size.
Also, the previous problem of "coming out of the Sun" is circumvented by having cameras only in Earth's vicinity.

Cat :)