Archive for the ‘Asteroid’ Category

Predator Might Be Hiding on Rosetta’s Comet – Based on the weird sound we’re hearing

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

The jury’s out on what’s causing the sound (which is far, far below the level of human hearing) and a whole lot of theories are being tossed around about it. Everything from magnetic fields to ionization of particles shearing themselves from the traveling comet is suspect at this point.

“This is exciting because it is completely new to us. We did not expect this and we are still working to understand the physics of what is happening.” – RPC principal investigator Karl-Heinz Glaßmeier

Until there’s an answer, which probably won’t be soon because space is just weird, we’re going to assume that the comet is either harboring a Predator who’s looking for payback, the mobile rehearsal space for a marimba-playing Cantina Band member or that we’ve discovered the dial-up connection for an alien race.

[KDSK.com]

‘Cigar UFO’ Spotted Doing Volcano Drive-By in Mexico

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

What’s up with UFOs, volcanoes and Mexico?

Just now hitting the internet are videos of a ‘cigar ufo’ doing a drive-by of a volcano in Mexico. In October of 2012 a more daring group of what’s probably the alien equivalent of a tour bus decided to just fly into a volcano so its occupants could probably Instagram much cooler pics than the other tour groups who were just safely cruising by.

Are we saying it’s a UFO? Nope. Probably just another drunk alien.

[UFOvni2012 YouTube Channel]

Huge Meteor Burns Out Over Russia – Plays Out Like a JJ Abrams Movie!

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Like found footage from an unannounced JJ Abrams flick, video is slamming YouTube from all over Russia about a large meteor that hit the atmosphere.

Details are still coming in about the event and we’ll have a fuller piece about it later.

For now? Grab some popcorn and enjoy a teaser for what the end of the world could look like.

The most amazing video that hit the internet almost immediately is from a driver’s dash-cam as the event takes place (for all of you who have NOT seen videos showing why Russian drivers need dash-cams? You’re depriving yourself)!

Next up? The sound of the sonic boom reaching the street. There have been reports of multiple injuries from exploding glass and falling objects…it’s like an ‘air-quake’!

And as people begin turning their cameras to the sky, the whole JJ Abrams-esque thing begins to manifest as everyone stands around staring at this terrifyingly strange and probably overwhelming event.

We’ll post more later as Russia calms the hell down.

Object Lands In Active Volcano In Mexico!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

December 21st of this year is the big party date for the supposed end of our world.

Sure everyone’s already ordering kegs, ordering faux “Danger: Apocalypse In Progress – Do Not Cross” banner tape by the case and prepping for their end-of-the-world get-togethers.

But then again…everyone hasn’t been watching the news coming out of Mexico that clearly shows an active volcano and something entering it from the sky like an old Thunderbirds vehicle.

Falling star? Busted satellite? No one’s sure at this point but seriously…the odds of something as agile (sarcasm, kids…sarcasm) as a giant mountain full of raging lava catching an object from space? Slim.

We’ll let you put all those party supplies back, start handing you some nails and plywood and make sure your shotgun’s loaded.

[CidMexico YouTube Channel]

Strange Object Buried In Ice: Recovery Begins!

Monday, June 18th, 2012

One year ago Swedish Ocean Explorer Team (Ocean X), using sonar, came across something buried under the ice in the Baltic Sea. Tons of hopeful theories have been tossed around as to what it may be. Ufo? Sunken ship? Arctic Stonehenge? No one could guess from the sonar imagery.

Now, a year later, Ocean X is actually on site and beginning a deeper investigation into what this thing is that has even them baffled.

As they continue to uncover the mystery, pictures are starting to emerge from the site causing even more speculation and excitement.

There is definitely something down there. While the research team from Ocean X, a company that finds sunken ships and sells what they find for a substantial profit, explores the site their finds are not making this discovery any less fascinating.

Pictures and video are beginning to pop up online as the divers explore the strange anomoly. While the team has stated that it could be anything including a strange geological formation, they’ve also said that, due to funding, they don’t have much interest in spending too much time exploring it and need to get back to work on more profitable ventures.

“The object appeared more as a huge mushroom, rising 3-4 meters/10-13 feet from the seabed, with rounded sides and rugged edges. The object had an egg shaped hole leading into it from the top, as an opening. On top of the object they also found strange stone circle formations, almost looking like small fireplaces. The stones were covered in something resembling soot.

First we thought this was only stone, but this is something else. And since no volcanic activity has ever been reported in the Baltic Sea the find becomes even stranger. As laymen we can only speculate how this is made by nature, but this is the strangest thing I have ever experienced as a professional diver.”

We just want them to watch a copy of John Carpenter’s The Thing before they start messing around too much…oh…and to put their dogs away.

[Gizmodo]

Revealed: NASA Plan to Land Humans on Asteroid

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

asteroid landing mission nasa.jpg

It’s asteroid fever! Catch it.

Folks are trying to mine ‘em and now NASA is talking about landing on one. The Telegraph reveals today that the US space agency will reveal their plan next month. The mission will including the first British astronaut Major Tim Peake.

A manned mission will aim to rendezvous with an asteroid up to three million miles from the Earth, taking around a year to make the entire round trip. The astronauts could stay on the asteroid for up to 30 days.

The officials will say that such missions to asteroids could help test technology for future human missions to other planets including Mars.

Nasa hopes that such missions will provide new scientific information about the early universe while also providing valuable information for ways of defending Earth from collisions with asteroids.

The paper says a mission could happen by the next decade. Twenty years to land on a tiny rock? Really NASA? JFK is frowning.

[Telegraph]

A 3 Minute Explanation of Planetary Resources in Their Own Words

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Still confused about all that asteroid mining talk yesterday? Here is a really simple explanation on the whole announcement from the folks making it happen.

[Planetary Resources]

Seven Awesome Facts Learned in the Planetary Resources Press Conference

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
asteroid planetary resources.jpg

One average asteroid, half the size of the conference room they made their announcement in, can contain enough resources to power every space flight in the history of the NASA space program

When asked during Q and A how many resources can be mined out of one astroid, that was the response from Peter Diamandis. They key is identifying the right ones and developing the right kind of tech to mine them.

Private industry can iterate faster and take bigger risks that are inappropriate for government

One investor made the point that if his neighbor was mortgaging his house to invest in Planetary Resources, it would be inappropriate. Which is why a private company and not a government underwater in trillions of dollars in debt is the right agent to make this kind of progress.

Much was said about the assembly line mentality, where no model or build of a Planetary Resources spacecraft will be revered beyond a necessary step to the right solution, better than the last but inferior to the next.

As we saw with the nostalgia and reverence we have for our public spaceflight tech, that is very rarely the case with NASA projects.

Finding resources like water are key to life support in space and refueling for longer journeys

Water is a tremendously expensive resources to get into space. But if one were to find the elements to create it amongst the stars and create it in orbit, it fundamentally changes the game.

The cost and complication of life support and long distance travel is changed forever, the closer this comes to reality.

The immediate future is identifying asteroids with prospecting spacecraft

The first Arkyd 100 spacecraft should launch sometime within 12 to 24 months. The goal will be to provide intelligent data on Earth bound asteroids and what they might contain.

Mining spacecraft is a priority in the next 10 years

Arkyd 200 and 300 units will focus on making contact with and the mining of the asteroids. Although the panel was loathe to give hard timetables, 10 years was mentioned as point by which they hope to mine and return resources.

Their team will be kept very small and move very fast

One of the few reasons Planetary Resources went public today was because they are currently trying to add engineering talent to their small Bellevue, WA based staff but couldn’t hope to do it quietly. They are very conscious of staff bloat.

Robots, not humans, are the future of asteroid mining for now

Humans are too expensive and not particularly necessary for the kind of prospecting they are looking to do. So any fear that we are getting into an Outland situation can be put on ice for a decade or so.

BONUS: Bad Astronomer Phil Plait spoke with Chief Engineer Chris Lewicki and has a great breakdown of the technical deets.

Also, just because this is the most excited anyone has been about prospecting since the gold rush, here is Will Ferrell’s legendary unaired Gus Chiggins sketch.

Asteroid that Killed Dinosaurs Also Seeded the Universe with Life

Thursday, April 12th, 2012
asteroid dinosaurs life seed.jpg

The big rock from the sky that crashed into Earth and proved an extinction level event for our dinosaur pals could also seed life on a far off planet. The meteorites launched into space by the impact carrying the ingredients for life itself have since spread across our solar system and far beyond.

A new table estimating the trajectories of the rocks provides many surprises, according to Ray Kurzweil’s blog. For example, it would take a trillion years for the Earth ejecta to spread the size of the Milky Way.

But most awesomely…

The probability is almost 1 (close to certain) that our solar system is visited by microorganisms that originated outside our solar system.

To tie this together with a post yesterday, this means that our ejecta could bring life to other planets and some point there might be a scientist there warning of our fearsome existence. Yes, my friends, WE ARE THE SUPER GENIUS SPACE DINOSAURS!

[KurzweilAI Blog]

Okay, Don’t Look Now But An Asteroid Might Kill All Of Us in 2040

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

asteroid 2040 death.jpg

Seriously guys. Don’t panic.

The space rock, which is called 2011 AG5, is about 460 feet (140 meters) wide. It may come close enough to Earth in 2040 that some researchers are calling for a discussion about how to deflect it.

Time to talk to some oil drillers who don’t want to pay taxes again… ever.

[MSNBC]

Calculate Asteroid Impacts! Understand Your Impending Death From Above!

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Impact_ Earth!.jpg

Curious as to how ruined our planet would be if Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck fail to push that massive asteroid off course? Worry no more! There’s a web app for that.

[Purdue via Reason]

Terrifying Close Calls With Asteroids? Not Such A Big Deal

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

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Astronomers are chuckling to themselves after laypeople paying attention freaked out last week when two astroids swooped through Earth’s orbit, nearly missing our planet. While a double complete asteroid swipe is rare, the still scary idea of a single asteroid nearly destroying our lives happens, like, all the time.

In fact, with a rough estimate of 50 million unknown asteroids, a 33-foot-wide (10-meter) near-Earth object could pass harmlessly between Earth and the orbit of the moon every day, Johnson added. Such an asteroid might hit Earth’s atmosphere once every 10 years, but because of its small size, it would pose no substantial threat to the people or property below.

“They would certainly break up in Earth’s atmosphere, or we might get some meteorites on the ground,” Johnson said.

So, don’t worry so much. Or worry every day. Either way.

[Space]

NASA Mulls Asteroid Probe in 2106

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

In an update to our story from last week (Asteroid Heading For Earth (in 2182)!), NASA is considering sending a probe to the ominous asteroid 1999 RQ36 to collect rock samples so they can more accurately when and if it will collide with earth. The project is being proposed as part of the New Frontiers program, and is competing with a trip to Venus for funding.

Basically, we are choosing between finding out when Earth will be destroyed or finding somewhere else to go before it is. Considering Bruce Willis will most likely not be around when the time comes I think we can safely write off the ‘Armageddon Option.’

[Telegraph.co.uk]

Asteroid Heading For Earth (in 2182)!

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Scientists say that the 510-meter in diameter (101955) 199 RQ36 astroid could strike Earth in a scant 172 years.

While there is no pressing need to build a spaceship to save your great-great-great-great grandchildren, the article does mention a similar asteroid that narrowly missed a collision with Terra firma in 2004. Probably best not to think about it too much.

[Discovery News]

Revise Your 172-Year Plan, Asteroid-Enhanced Death Looms

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

skitched-20100729-144243.jpg

there is a one in a thousand chance that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE BY THE CRUSHING BLOW OF AN ASTEROID. the probability of IT KILLING US ALL BY REIGNING UNHOLY DESTRUCTION FROM SPACE is about one in one thousand. however, half of that fraction points to THE ASTEROID ENDING ALL MODERN CIVILIZATION AND THEREFORE DAMNING US INTO A DREARY HELLSCAPE WHERE HUMAN PELTS ARE OUR ONLY CURRENCY in the year 2182.

Please plan accordingly.

[Science Daily]

Asteroid (Sample Safely Harvested By Japanese Satellite) To Hit Earth!

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

skitched-20100506-141521.jpg

Scientists might be able to gawk at a piece of asteroid that hasn’t been through the horrific re-entry process after a Japanese satellite sends a sample it collected back to Earth on June 13th.

Why do we care about this? It could revolutionize how Bruce Willis and a ragtag gang of oil drillers save the world…

As you can see in the picture, it’s covered in rubble, and lacks impact craters! This is strong evidence that it’s not a single, monolithic body; in other words, it’s not a solid rock. It may instead be more like a pile of rubble, an asteroid that has been shattered repeatedly by low-speed impacts with other rocks, but had its own gravity hold it together like a bag full of shattered glass.

Asteroids like this may comprise a significant percentage of all the asteroids we see. And if one of them is headed toward Earth, how we deal with a rubble pile may be very different than how we might try to push a solid rock out of the way. Studying Itokawa is therefore very important… and may just save the world.

The sample return capsule will land in Woomera, Australia, where it hopefully will not be attacked by venomous Koalas (everything Down Under can kill you).

Sweet.

[Bad Astronomy]