Scientists just watched a newfound asteroid zoom by Earth. Then they saw its moon.

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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One of Earth's premier instruments for studying nearby asteroids is back to work after being rattled by earthquakes. Its first new observations show that a newly discovered space rock is actually two.

Scientists just watched a newfound asteroid zoom by Earth. Then they saw its moon. : Read more
"However, the space rock has already come as close to Earth as it will during this pass (2.7 million miles or 4.3 million kilometers); astronomers have calculated the asteroid's close approaches with Earth for the next century, and all will be at a greater distance than this one was."

4.3E+6 kilometers is 674 earth radii distance. The Moon's mean distance is near 60.3 earth radii distance. From my readings on binary asteroids, many do not hold together over 4.5 billion years according IAW the radiometric age of the solar system based upon meteorites. Binary asteroids suggest they are much younger in age, at least as binary asteroid orbits.
 
Feb 13, 2020
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Feb 14, 2020
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"Existential dread is a key motivator for asteroid discoveries, and planetary defense experts hope that, by surveying nearby space rocks, they will identify a threat with enough time for us to protect ourselves."

Exactly (and I mean with all the engineering, celestial mechanics, kinetic energy dynamics, and other specifications) do we "protect ourselves"? At this time, to use some modern vernacular, we got nothin'. Ideas, proposals, silly movies, and everything else in our stop-that-big-rock inventory are meaningless and will remain as such for the next half-century at the very minimum. That means watching these beasts hurtle by is academic fun masquerading for funding purposes as some kind of early warning system, which it most certainly isn't, primarily because 1) we can't stop or redirect the incoming doom stones and 2) we don't see the city block-sized variety most likely to make a hit until they're almost on us or have just slid by: "Boy, that was a close call, heh-heh-heh," for the latter, and "Whelp, there's OUR extinction event in 18 hours" for the former.

"Planetary defense experts," indeed.
 
Feb 16, 2020
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"Planetary defense experts," indeed.
An effective defense relies on an effective offense, and an effective offense starts with targeting. There's no sense building any interception hardware until you know where to point it, which is what's being developed now.

It won't take anywhere near half-a-century to be able to start taking shots at near (for practice), as well as actual threats, either. Orbital laser systems could be fielded within a few years based on the airborne high-energy systems already on the shelf that were developed to successfully destroy incoming ballistic missiles.

The technology needs to be scaled up to make it possible to vaporize a spot on the surface of an asteroid/meteor/comet for a sustained period to create a jet that can then begin to divert the body away from a collision trajectory with Earth.

"There is more in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio."
 

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