Asteroid HQ124

Asteroid HQ124 — dubbed ‘the Beast’ — expected to approach Earth this weekend

Asteroid Dubbed “The Beast” Expected To Approach Earth This Weekend

I guess what is most disturbing about this is it wasn’t detected before now.   I think we have the technology but not the will  or resources to do so.  But quite honestly I’m not really sure we could have done anything about it anyway.

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  • slamfu

    I’m shocked that an actual astronomer would say something like “What’s disconcerting is that a rocky/metallic body this large, and coming so very close, should have only first been discovered this soon before its nearest approach,”. He of all people should appreciate one simple fact. ITS A BIG SKY. Oh, its 1100 ft across? Yea, that big if its sitting on your lap, less so when its 60 million miles away. Its HARD to track such small non luminescent objects, even when you know where to look. Such ignorant assumptions drive me nuts.

  • The_Ohioan

    Sounds like “the Beast” should be in the 60% category of tracking data so it is disconcerting that it was missed. Disconcerting since we should be tracking all of those asteroids that will come that close.

    If a 3200 ft. asteroid could level an entire continent, what would be the use of blowing it apart – you’d just get smaller pieces hitting the earth, assuming you saw it in time and could actually do something about it. Depending on those smaller pieces’ size, they could take out whole cities, or countries, as well.

    Still there are other more important things to worry about, I guess. Maybe we should concentrate on whether Herman Cain will run for president instead.

  • JIM SATTERFIELD

    TO, you don’t want to necessarily blow it up. If you know it’s coming far enough in advance you would have options. Set off a nuke off to one side and the course could be changed just a little bit and that would be enough to eliminate a collision. Plans still being worked on include using a lightweight highly reflective material to focus sunlight on one side of a comet to heat it up enough to generate a jet from the evaporating gases. A heavy dead weight could actually be put into a path parallel to it and slight changes in course could use the gravitational attraction between the two to change the asteroids course. We are developing light sails as an alternative propulsion method for spacecraft. I like the idea of anchoring a large light sail to an asteroid with a release so that once the course is changed to where we want it the lightsail is detached.

  • JSpencer

    As if the national will could be summoned to address an actual threat on this scale. We can’t even get half of congress to take climate change seriously. Of course none of that will matter because god will save us, and if he doesn’t? Well… that’s god’s will! ;-)

  • The_Ohioan

    Jim, I have no idea what you just said, but it seems blowing it up would be cheaper, more fun, and more likely to pass Congress – especially if we have a Republican president at the time. They don’t spend like drunken sailors, like the Dems do (or so they claim), unless it’s on defense. :-)

    JS You are right, we can just ignore it and, again, save money. Or not.

  • sheknows

    “HQ124 passing about three lunar distances away from Earth at a speed of about 31,000 miles per hour.”
    That’s pretty close!

    “2014 HQ124 is designated a “potentially hazardous asteroid,” or PHA, which refers to those asteroids 460 feet (140 meters) in size or larger that pass within 4.6 million miles (7.4 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit around the sun. There are currently 1,484 known PHAs, but none pose a significant near-term risk of impacting Earth.” _____NASA website

    “near- term” means they have plotted it out til 2022….so far.

  • JIM SATTERFIELD

    The proposed solution that would get the most press in today’s political environment would be a really, really big tax cut to encourage the private sector to take it out.