Monday, April 2, 2012

Two asteroids come in close

Last week, a pair of asteroids shot past on a near-Earth trajectory. 

NASA's Asteroid Watch program based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated in regard to the objects: "Both are very small (under 10 meters) and pose no risk."  Though relatively small, both asteroids passed Earth within the orbit of the Moon.  According to the link, that's around 230,000 miles give or take.

Here's the part that gets me, though.  The article states that "the two asteroids were first spotted over the weekend," meaning the weekend of March 24th and 25th.  The linked article on Space is dated March 26th.  So...does that mean we could potentially have only 24-48 hours of warning before a future impact?  I'm certain that a larger asteroid, one that could cause a serious catastrophe, would be more easily spotted just because of its sheer size.  Even so, a rock of the comparatively small size as those that just swung past us could still do heavy damage if it hit a densely populated area.

And it's a matter of time.  Pardon my grousing but it really is inevitable that a large asteroid will hit Earth.  It's already happened plenty of times in the history of this planet.  We can only hope that we have adequate resources in place to detect its approach and a solid plan of what to do to either destroy or divert the incoming body.  I am not optimistic, however, as space ventures do not seem to be a big ticket item with this administration. 

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