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Asteroid 9 times the size of an ocean liner approaches Earth


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#1 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:18 AM

The 1998 QE2 asteroid has the physical mass to potentially deliver life on Earth a knockout punch, being 2.7km in length. It is to buzz our planet on May 31, aweing the stargazing community.
Officially known as Asteroid 1998 QE2, the ‘minor planet’, as astronomers refer to these space objects, is about nine times the length of its name-sharing ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth 2.
The incoming space object is not named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, however, nor the 12-deck QE2 luxury liner. It’s simply the designation assigned by the US Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, based on an alphanumeric code for naming newly-discovered asteroids.
Aside from the asteroid’s hulking mass, another thing that intrigues astronomers about QE2 is that nobody can say with any certainty where it came from.
One clue to its origins, however, is that its surface is said to be covered with a sticky, black residue, suggesting that it may be the remains of a comet that came in close proximity to the sun, Amy Mainzer, a researcher at Jet Propulsion Laboratory at La Cañada Flintridge, California, told the Los Angeles Times.
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Another explanation is that QE2, discovered on August 19, 1998 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was originally part of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, she said.
QE2’s nearest approach happens on May 31 at 20:59 GMT, bringing the huge space rock to within 3.6 million miles (5.8 million km) of Earth – about 15 times the distance to the Moon. While this may seem a great distance, in astronomical terms it is a mere stone’s throw away.
Mainzer emphasized the significance of the asteroid, drawing parallels with a past celestial event that had devastating consequences for the entire planet.
“This is a really big asteroid, similar in size to the one that killed off the dinosaurs, and it’s getting very close to us,” she told the Times.
“Fortunately we’ve been tracking its orbit very carefully so we know with great certainty it won’t hit us. We don’t need to panic, but we do need to pay attention, she added.
Since the threat of a doomsday scenario seems unlikely, astronomers will be given an opportunity to study the physical characteristics of asteroids, as well as their history.
“Whenever an asteroid approaches this closely, it provides an important scientific opportunity to study it in detail to understand its size, shape, rotation, surface features, and what they can tell us about its origin,”radar astronomer Lance Benner, the principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.
Observers will take advantage of radar technology to measure the asteroid’s distance and velocity to improve the calculation of its orbit and compute its motion farther into the future than we could otherwise, he added.



The next arrival of Asteroid 1998 QE2 following its near-miss on May 31 will not occur again for another two centuries.

Rocky history

For millions of years, Earth has been occasionally pounded by space objects both large and small. Russia, due to its sprawling landmass, has played an unwitting host to many of these celestial bodies.
In 1908, a comet explosion over a largely uninhabited area of Siberia flattened some 80 million trees. The so-called Tunguska Event is recognized as the largest impact event on or near Earth in recorded history: The explosion was about 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
More recently, on February 15 this year, a meteor exploded in the sky over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The shock waves from the explosion shattered windows and damaged buildings, injuring more than 1,500 people, mostly from flying glass and other debris.
Following the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which is the largest known space object to have entered Earth’s atmosphere since the Tunguska Event, NASA chief Charles Bolden gave advice on how to handle an asteroid that was on a collision course with Earth “if it’s coming in three weeks”: Pray.
While NASA is tracking about 95 per cent of the largest objects flying near Earth, only about 10 per cent of an estimated 10,000 asteroids with a diameter of 50 meters (165 feet) or more have been identified.
Meanwhile, mankind continues the search for ways to counter future space objects deemed dangerous.
Just days after the Russian meteor struck, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced a joint mission between Europe and the US that aims to strike an asteroid with a spacecraft.
The Joint European/US Asteroid impact and Deflection Assessment mission (AIDA) is preparing to intercept the asteroid Didymos in 2022, when it is about 6.5 million miles (11 million km) from Earth.
Didymos, which poses no immediate threat to Earth, is actually a binary system, in which an 800-meter-wide asteroid and a smaller 150-meter space rock orbit each other.
The AIDA mission – designed to test the theory that governments can protect the planet from a space object on a collision course with the planet – will target the smaller asteroid with a rocket at about 14,000 mph (22,539 kph) in an effort to knock the object off course.

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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#2 Gustavo Fring

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:24 AM

Are we doomed? :(
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#3 EmployeeoftheMonth

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:34 AM

Send Bruce Willis.

He can stop this thing and then we won't have to deal with watching that beak try to act its way out of a paper bag anymore.

Edited by EmployeeoftheMonth, 31 May 2013 - 06:35 AM.

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#4 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:37 AM

The scary part is no one has any idea where it came from.
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#5 Dilly Canuck

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:44 AM

Perhaps God sent that asteroid? Que the Terminator 2 theme song...Judgement Day is coming.
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#6 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:47 AM

Perhaps God sent that asteroid? Que the Terminator 2 theme song...Judgement Day is coming.


LMAO......ROFLMAO. :rolleyes:
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#7 avelanch

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:00 AM

The scary part is no one has any idea where it came from.

we pretty much have no clue where anything come from, that's not the scary part.
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#8 avelanch

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:02 AM

also:
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#9 Armada

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:05 AM

Are we doomed? :(


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#10 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:05 AM

we pretty much have no clue where anything come from, that's not the scary part.


Well...that's not exactly true. there are three big clusters of objects, the Kuiper Belt, Asteroid Belt and the Oort cloud that we are certainly aware of and this object didn't come from either of those places, which was the point of saying we don't know where this particular object came from. This is astronomy, not philosophy. We're not talking about the whimsical view of guessing where things come from...these are observable objects with trajectories that bring them nearby the Earth.

Edited by Scott Hartnell's Mane, 31 May 2013 - 07:06 AM.

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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#11 falcon45ca

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:25 AM

The scary part is no one has any idea where it came from.

Considering how big our galaxy is I don't think it's that scary, just intriguing.
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#12 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:28 AM

Considering how big our galaxy is I don't think it's that scary, just intriguing.


Would it be more scary if it were on a collision course? Of course it would be. But it's also kind of interesting that this one just happens to be about the size of the one that completely wiped out the dinosaurs.
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#13 lx Birdie xl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:41 AM

It has its own moon.. I'd post the info.. but I seen it on my phone and too lazy to find it again on my pc
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#14 HTania

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:52 AM

Scary....I am going to spend all my money before it hits.
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#15 The Brahma Bull

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:53 AM

NIBIRU. We don't know where it came from because it was wearing it's invisibility cloak!
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#16 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:54 AM

we pretty much have no clue where anything come from, that's not the scary part.


why would anyone agree with this statement when it's 100% false? The fact is we DO know where a lot of the NEOs come from..we don't know where THIS particular one comes from.
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#17 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:57 AM

NIBIRU. We don't know where it came from because it was wearing it's invisibility cloak!


:lol:
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#18 HTania

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:00 AM

NIBIRU. We don't know where it came from because it was wearing it's invisibility cloak!


all the money spent for the research is not going to protect us.
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#19 avelanch

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:04 AM

white hole, or, wormhole.


seriously though. it's darkness probably made it hard to observe so they probably just missed it until it got closer.

Edited by avelanch, 31 May 2013 - 08:08 AM.

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#20 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:06 AM

white hole.


Wow...I wish...that would certainly lend some credence to my white hole hypothesis for the spontaneous 'creation' of the universe. Evidence of a white hole would be a scientific breakthrough of astronomical proportions. I guess anything is possible.
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#21 avelanch

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:11 AM

It has its own moon.. I'd post the info.. but I seen it on my phone and too lazy to find it again on my pc

Approaching asteroid 1998 QE2 has a moon, images reveal
By Megan Gannon
Published May 31, 2013
Space.com

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    First radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2 were obtained when the asteroid was about 3.75 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)
A huge asteroid set to sail past Earth on Friday has its own moon, NASA scientists have just discovered.
Researchers obtained a series of radar images of the approaching asteroid 1998 QE2 late Wednesday using the Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif. Images captured over the course of two hours showed that the asteroid is actually a binary system.
The main space rock is the size of nine ocean liners, roughly 1.7 miles across, and the satellite that orbits it is estimated to be 2,000 feet wide, according to NASA.
Binary systems are quite common among near-Earth asteroids. Of space rocks at least 655 feet across, about 16 percent are binary or triple systems, NASA officials said.
1998 QE2 poses no threat of hitting Earth during the flyby, space agency officials assure. Its closest approach will occur at 4:59 EDT on Friday, May 31, and it is expected to pass at least 3.6 million miles away from the planet. The asteroid won't be visible to the unaided eye as it zips by, but on Friday afternoon, you can watch live telescope webcasts of the asteroid flyby on SPACE.com.
Though harmlessly far away, this will be the nearest 1998 QE2 gets to Earth in the next two centuries. As it passes, the asteroid will be closely watched by astronomers. In addition to the 230-foot-wide Deep Space Network antenna, astronomers will also be using the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to observe 1998 QE2 until June 9.
Radar images help scientists understand the nature of asteroids and improve their calculations of asteroid orbits. The images obtained Wednesday night also revealed dark features on the surface of 1998 QE2, which suggest it has several large concavities, NASA scientists said.
1998 QE2 was first discovered on Aug. 19, 1998, by MIT's Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program near Socorro, N.M.
NASA keeps a close watch on near-Earth objects, or NEOs, that could pose a potential threat to the planet. Among the space agency's ambitious plans for the future study of asteroids is OSIRIS-REx, a mission set to launch in 2016 and rendezvous with the near-Earth asteroid 1999 RQ36 in 2020.

http://www.foxnews.c...as-moon-images/

Edited by avelanch, 31 May 2013 - 08:13 AM.

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#22 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:16 AM

Wish I were back in Hawaii on Mauna Kea at the observatory...I'd really love to watch this through a telescope..guess I'll settle for the webcasts.
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#23 SabreFan1

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:22 AM

RUUUUUUUNNN!!! OH WAIT.....


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#24 Ghostsof1915

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:04 AM

We'll be dead in 6 billion years when the Sun his it's latter stages in it's life cycle and turns into a red giant.

PANIC!
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#25 Florence

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:41 AM

We'll be dead in 6 billion years when the Sun his it's latter stages in it's life cycle and turns into a red giant.

PANIC!


That is only a concern for people like Edler.

Born:1986
Died: 6,000,001,986

He was only 23, full of so much potential. Had he ever reached his prime the Canucks may have won their first cup.
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#26 Heretic

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:50 AM

Scary....I am going to spend all my money before it hits.


Feel free to send some of your cash to Heretic C/O CDC. :)

As far as the roid....if they knew it was coming for so long...why didn't they plan a visit?

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McCoy: We were speculating. Is God really out there?
Kirk: Maybe he's not out there, Bones. Maybe he's right here. [points to his heart]

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#27 rampage

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 12:24 PM

That is only a concern for people like Edler.

Born:1986
Died: 6,000,001,986


He was only 23, full of so much potential. Had he ever reached his prime the Canucks may have won their first cup.


LOL. No one will ever forget that he's only 23....no one.

Edited by rampage, 31 May 2013 - 12:25 PM.

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#28 Jägermeister

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 12:28 PM

I guess I should have myself a day full of debauchery?
You know, just in case.
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#29 :D

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 12:44 PM

The scary part is no one has any idea where it came from.


Klendathu
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#30 avelanch

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 12:48 PM

Klendathu

the bugs missed then...
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