The asteroid mission

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Yuri_Armstrong":qtls7rjj said:
I'm not sure what lies you're talking about, ideas for a multi-module moon base have been around for decades.
What I mean by lies is that this mission to an asteroid is in reality a moonbase mission in disguise . All of the needed components would be developed in either case .


SteveCNC":30ivtyn4 said:
Yuri_Armstrong":30ivtyn4 said:
What I mean by lies is that this mission to an asteroid is in reality a moonbase mission in disguise . All of the needed components would be developed in either case .
Why would they need to lie though? Constellation was oriented for a moon base but was cancelled. I think Obama picked an asteroid so we could go someplace new, perhaps he was following Buzz Aldrin's logic.


Guest : Astounding Video Shows 30 Years of Asteroid Discoveries
by Nancy Atkinson

Aug 26th 2010


This incredible video from the Arecibo Observatory (and recommended by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Twitter) shows the locations of all the known asteroids starting in 1980, adding more as they are discovered (highlighted in white so you can pick out the new ones.) But the final color of the asteroids tells you more about them: Earth crossing asteroids are red, Earth Approachers (with a perihelion less than 1.3AU) are yellow, while all others are Green.


Guest : Sizes for potentially dangerous asteroids
August 27, 2010

Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are asteroids whose orbits bring them close to Earth. This image of the asteroid Gaspra was obtained by the Galileo spacecraft; although not an NEO, Gaspra's surface may resemble that of some NEOs. NEOs are also potential astronaut destinations. SAO astronomers announced the first results of the largest program now underway to determine the sizes and characteristics of NEOs. Credit: NASA

Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are asteroids or comets whose orbits sometimes take them close to the earth's orbit. An NEO could therefore someday collide with the earth -- and there are almost 7000 of them known, with several times that many predicted to exist.

The impact of even a one-kilometer-sized NEO would probably destroy an average state. The 1908 Tunguska event that flattened over 2000 square kilometers in Russia was by some basic estimates caused by an asteroid only 60 meters in diameter. Congress has therefore mandated a ten-year goal of cataloging 90% of the total number of NEOs larger than 140 meters in diameter.
CfA astronomers Joe Hora, Giovanni Fazio, Howard Smith, and Tim Spahr assembled a team of sixteen astronomers to study NEOs at infrared wavelengths where NEOs emit their own radiation as well as reflect sunlight. The infrared brightness, when combined with the optical value, enables scientists to infer both size and albedo. Moreover, since the albedo is a property of the asteroid surface characteristics (solid? rubble-pile?) and mineralogical composition, the result helps to determine the asteroid's nature, and from that perhaps where it originated in the solar system, and how it has evolved.
They report that the data so far suggest that the smaller NEOs are not only more abundant, they appear to have gone through processes in the solar system that make them slightly less populous than expected from extrapolating the statistics of large NEOs. Not least, the astronomers conclude from the surface conditions that these small asteroids are probably young -- perhaps even less than one million years old. The results represent a dramatic contribution to the difficult challenge posed by Congress to characterize most of the potentially dangerous near earth objects, and improve our understanding of what ongoing physical processes have been shaping the solar system since it settled down about 5 billion years ago.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)
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