[thechat] A Close Asteroid Fly-By

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Thu Jun 20 23:56:01 CDT 2002


This is disturbing.


On June 17th, astronomers from the Lincoln Laboratory Near Earth Asteroid
Research project (LINEAR) discovered a new Earth-crossing asteroid.
Designated 2002 MN, the object is approximately 100 meters across and flew
by us on June 14th.

What is most shocking is just how close it came to Earth. This is only the
sixth known asteroid to penetrate the Moon's orbit, and by far the biggest.
According to Brian G. Marsden (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics), the object came within 120,000 kilometers (0.0008
astronomical unit) of impacting Earth.

Though the exact details of an impact scenario depend on the rock's
composition, had it hit Earth the event would have been been
"Tunguska-like," with a force rivaling the largest H-bombs. The object was
too small, however, to be classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid
(PHA). Nor does it qualify for the Torino scale used to predict the
devastation caused by an impacting asteroid


Too small to be hazardous but the impact would rival an H-bomb. How's that
for stupidity?

via www.KenLayne.com



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Madhu Menon
User Experience Consultant
e-mail: webguru at vsnl.net

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