Researchers are getting ready for a probably “catastrophic” shut encounter with an asteroid in 2029 by scanning an asteroid with radio waves on Tuesday.
NASA is teaming with scientists from the College of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute to ship about 9.6 million radio waves to 2010 XC15, an asteroid that may go by about twice the gap from Earth to the Moon.
The asteroid is estimated to be about 500 ft huge. Lengthy wavelength radio waves will likely be transmitted from the Excessive-frequency Lively Auroral Analysis Program analysis web site in Gakona. The HAARP program has by no means been used to probe an asteroid earlier than.
Researchers hope to be taught extra concerning the inside of the asteroid, giving them a greater concept of how they may redirect an asteroid ought to or not it’s on a collision course with Earth.
“If you already know the distribution of mass, you may make an impactor simpler, since you’ll know the place to hit the asteroid just a little higher,” mentioned Mark Haynes, lead investigator on the venture and a radar methods engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
“Longer wavelengths can penetrate the inside of an object significantly better than the radio wavelengths used for communication.”
If Tuesday’s transmission is efficient it might show to be a helpful technique in 2029 when the asteroid Apophis passes inside 20,000 miles from Earth, about 10 instances nearer than the Moon.
Apophis was found in 2004, and was shortly decided to be one of the vital “hazardous” asteroids with the potential to strike Earth. It’s greater than twice the dimensions of 2010 XC15 and whereas it’s not projected to hit Earth, scientists wish to be ready.
“The extra time there may be earlier than a possible impression, the extra choices there are to attempt to deflect it,” Haynes mentioned.
NASA deflected its first asteroid in September, within the Double Asteroid Redirection Take a look at mission.
The Planetary Society, a global nonprofit group primarily based in California, estimates that if Apophis collided with Earth, it might trigger widespread harm “as much as a number of hundred of kilometers from its impression web site,” unleashing an vitality output equal to “1,000 megatons of TNT, or tens to a whole bunch of nuclear weapons.”
Space Technology News – Applications and Research
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