The good news is that scientists have a better handle on asteroid Bennu’s whereabouts for the next 200 years. The bad news is that the space rock has a slightly greater chance of clobbering Earth than previously thought.
But don’t be alarmed: Scientists reported Wednesday that the odds are still quite low that Bennu will hit us in the next century.
“We shouldn’t be worried about it too much,” said Davide Farnocchia, a scientist with NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who served as the study’s lead author.
While the odds of a strike have risen from 1-in-2,700 to 1-in-1,750 over the next century or two, scientists now have a much better idea of Bennu’s path thanks to NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft.
“I think that overall, the situation has improved,” Farnocchia told reporters.
The spacecraft is headed back to Earth on a long, roundabout loop after collecting samples from the large, spinning rubble pile of an asteroid, considered one of the two most hazardous known asteroids in our solar system. The samples are due here in 2023.
Before Osiris-Rex arrived at Bennu in 2018, telescopes provided solid insight into the asteroid, about a half-kilometre in diameter. The spacecraft collected enough data over 2 1/2 years to help scientists better predict the asteroid’s orbital path well into the future.
Their findings — published in the journal Icarus — should also help in charting the course of other asteroids and give Earth a better fighting chance if and when another hazardous space rock heads our way.
1 in 1,750
Before Osiris-Rex arrived on the scene, scientists put the odds of Bennu hitting Earth through the year 2200 at 1-in-2,700. Now it’s 1-in-1,750 through the year 2300. The single most menacing day is Sept. 24, 2182.
Bennu will have a close encounter with Earth in 2135 when it passes within half the distance of the moon. Earth’s gravity could tweak its future path and put it on a collision course with Earth in the 2200s — less likely now based on Osiris-Rex observations.
If Bennu did slam into Earth, it wouldn’t wipe out life, dinosaur-style, but rather create a crater roughly 10 to 20 times the size of the asteroid, said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defence officer. The area of devastation would be much bigger: as much as 100 times the size of the crater.
If an object Bennu’s size hit the Eastern Seaboard, it “would pretty much devastate things up and down the coast,” he told reporters.
Scientists already are ahead of the curve with Bennu, which was discovered in 1999. Finding threatening asteroids in advance increases the chances and options for pushing them out of our way, Johnson said.
“One-hundred years from now, who knows what the technology is going to be?”
In November, NASA plans to launch a mission to knock an asteroid off-course by hitting it. The experimental target will be the moonlet of a bigger space rock.
See the Far Side of the Moon: Incredibly Detailed Pictures From Artemis I Orion Close Lunar Flyby – SciTechDaily
The Earth is seen setting from the far side of the Moon just beyond the Orion spacecraft in this video taken on the sixth day of the Artemis I mission by a camera on the tip of one of Orion’s solar arrays. The spacecraft was preparing for the Outbound Powered Flyby maneuver which would bring it within 80 miles of the lunar surface, the closest approach of the uncrewed Artemis I mission, before moving into a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon. The spacecraft entered the lunar sphere of influence on Sunday, November 20, making the Moon, instead of Earth, the main gravitational force acting on the spacecraft. Credit: <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”["attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"]”>NASA
On the sixth day of the Artemis I mission, Orion made a close flyby of the Moon, passing about 81 miles (130 km) above the surface. During the close flyby, Orion’s optical navigation camera captured black-and-white images of craters on the Moon below. Orion uses the optical navigation camera to capture imagery of the Earth and the Moon at different phases and distances, providing an enhanced body of data to certify its effectiveness under different lighting conditions as a way to help orient the spacecraft on future missions with crew.
The Earth and Moon are tidally locked, which means that the Moon spins on its axis exactly once each time it orbits our planet. Because of this, people on Earth only ever see one side of the Moon. In fact, humans didn’t see the lunar far side until a Soviet spacecraft flew past in 1959. This side we never see is known as the “far side of the Moon.” Sometimes it is called the “dark side of the Moon,” which some people consider a misnomer because it gets just as much sunlight as the near side of the Moon. However, “dark” in this case is referring to unknown, rather than a lack of light.
Here are the detailed images of the Moon captured by Orion’s optical navigation camera:
NASA’s live coverage of the Artemis I Close Flyby of the Moon.
Mission Accomplished: UVic Satellite Reaches International Space Station – Abbotsford News
While the International Space Station was travelling over the Pacific Ocean early Sunday (Nov. 27) morning, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft carrying a miniature satellite built by University of Victoria students autonomously docked to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module.
UVic’s optical reference calibration satellite, known as ORCASat, embarked on its journey into space at 11:20 a.m. on Saturday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Witnessing the launch was a major relief for ORCASat project manager Alex Doknjas, who nervously watched from his family’s living room in Campbell River on Saturday morning.
“It was pretty awesome,” Doknjas, a recent graduate of UVic’s engineering program, told Black Press Media. The initial launch scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22 was scrapped due to poor weather.
UVic’s ORCASat won a national competition funded by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Canadian CubeSat Project, which saw 15 teams of students from each province and territory design and build their own CubeSat with the guidance of CSA experts and representatives from the Canadian space industry.
As a result, UVic’s satellite was one of two post-secondary projects from Canada chosen to be part of Saturday’s launch, alongside a satellite built by students at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S.
“It’s pretty remarkable, especially because UVic isn’t a huge school,” Doknjas said. “I think that’s pretty impressive.”
More than 100 full-time researchers, co-op and volunteer students from UVic Satellite Design, UBC Orbit and Simon Fraser University Satellite Design have all contributed to the project which began in 2018.
ORCASat is comparable to the size of a two litre carton of milk or tissue box, and only weighs about two-and-a-half kilograms. Once sent out into earth’s orbit the satellite will act as an artificial star, serving as a reference light source in orbit that can be viewed by telescopes back down on earth, said Doknjas.
“What we’re trying to do is demonstrate this concept of calibrating telescopes,” he said. “If you’re a telescope on the ground observing a star, you’re observing the light that the star emits and that light travels through earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere is constantly changing and as light passes through it, the light gets scattered, and that effect of how light reacts in the atmosphere is not well understood.”
The difference between ORCASat and an actual star, however, is that scientists on earth can communicate with ORCASat, allowing them to know exactly how bright the satellite is, in addition to how bright it appears through a telescope.
“Now you have two separate measurements. You know exactly how bright it actually is, and you know bright it appeared to you. From those two measurements you can calculate the difference, which is how much of that light is lost in the atmosphere,” explained Doknjas.
Doknjas said that although the concept isn’t new, it’s the first time that a light source capable of performing an experiment like this has been carried on a satellite into space. He added that the technology could be used in the future for earth observation, or even methane detection for climate change.
ORCASat will remain at the International Space Station before being released into earth’s orbit to collect data for approximately one year, but that depends on factors like sun flares and solar radiation that impact the life of the satellite.
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Crack or Survive? YouTuber Mark Rober Just Dropped an Egg from Space for Humanity – News18
YouTuber Mark Rober Dropped Egg from Space. (Image: Youtube/@MarkRober)
YouTuber Mark Rober, best known for his gadgets and fun science videos has now dropped a couple of eggs from space.
Popular YouTuber Mark Rober, best known for his gadgets and fun science videos has done another experiment. In his recent YouTube video, he dropped a couple of eggs from space that fell in the Victor Valley. This was done earlier this year, however, the “Egg Drop From Space” video was uploaded to YouTube on Black Friday. In the video, the team could be seen driving on Bear Valley Road toward Deadman’s Point in Apple Valley. A shot from the weather balloon in space showed the Victor Valley, including landmarks such as Spring Valley Lake and the Mojave River.
The video, since uploaded, has garnered 9.9 million views. The team included rocket and propulsion specialist Joe Barnard, of BPS Systems. He majorly helped with the rocket’s guidance system and design. Have a look:
His original plan was to fix an egg on a rocket that would be lifted by a giant weather balloon.
Meanwhile, earlier, the YouTuber talked about his son. He revealed that his son has special needs. This was the first time Mark talked about his son’s condition and explained how children with autism view the world differently. In the video, which is around 10 minutes, Mark shared some intimate moments that showed him and his son engaged in heartwarming conversations. Mark explained that he felt protective about his son, which is why he never shared anything about him.
He had launched a fundraiser in collaboration with Next for Autism organisation where several celebrities will join him to raise funds for autistic adults. Mark explained that there are several organisations that help kids with autism but as they grow up and step into the real world not much support is extended to them. Autistic adults also need special support to get them through education and jobs, and hence with this upcoming fundraiser Mark and several celebrities hope to generate that awareness and money.
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