At NASA will be able to check their planetary security
Our solar system is downright filled with various space boulders, wandering in space in different orbits and different speeds. It would seem nothing special - ordinary case. But only so long as one of these stones shall not acquire an unexpected trajectory towards the Earth. The scenario of the cosmic apocalypse on our planet is unlikely, at least in the near future, but in the presence of more than 10 000 "willing" ... In general, as they say, once a year and stick can shoot, so do not be superfluous to observe such cosmic neighbors though least one eye.
And then just turned out to be a suitable case, who is very pleased with scientists from NASA's, because they are finally able to test some ideas of planetary security at the upcoming Earth asteroid rendezvous with which our planet is scheduled for October this year.
Panic aside! Space rock, dubbed 2012 TC4, razminetsya with our planet at a distance of about 6,800 kilometers. Unfortunately, there is no more exact figures as the asteroid dropped out of sight of astronomers in 2012 and has appeared only now.
Its width is about 10-30 meters, that is, by the standards of the asteroid, it is quite small. Scientists were able to see him only briefly and only once as it flew past the Earth in 2012, at a distance less than the distance between the Earth and the Moon. At that time, the astronomers had a window just a week for observation and prediction of the time, when the asteroid will appear again. And judging by these data, TC4 meeting with us to be held this year on October 12th. Therefore, scientists are prepared not only to update their observations for this particular asteroid, but also to test some of the planetary "defensive" techniques.
"At this time, the work will be more voluminous. The span of the asteroid will be used to verify the global system of detection and tracking of space objects. Will assess our collective work as a response to the potential real threats from the likes of asteroids, "- commented the head of the observation group of NASA, Michael Kelly.
This will be the first time that NASA researchers, using a real space asteroid will conduct an audit of the planetary network security, which employs astronomers from around the world. To do this in the past, the agency formed to coordinate a planetary defense department (Planetary Defense Coordination Office). Its task is to monitor the sky and tracking any NEO objects large enough to be dangerous for us.
Already last October, the system has given the first results, warning of sudden approximation of asteroid 2016 UR36, calculate its approximate size (5-25 meters) convergence time (31 October), the potential risk (low) and the potential trajectory of motion of cosmic rubble (the distance between the Earth and asteroid at the nearest point of the Security 498,000 kilometers). But this time, the researchers plan to coordinate their actions.
"This collective effort will include the work of a dozen different observatories, universities, and laboratories around the world. Thus we will be able to increase our efficiency and accuracy in the observations of near-Earth objects ", - said Vishnu Reddy of the University of Arizona, who is the coordinator of the new observation.
In spite of the fact that we do know that the asteroid TC4 will not hit the Earth, a very small number of astronomers known data on its orbit, so checking the coordination work will be an excellent chance to enhance our capabilities in tracking and predicting the convergence of near-Earth objects with our planet .
"observatory will be entrusted with joint surveillance of the approach of the asteroid and the subsequent joint work to determine the most accurate data on its orbit," - says Paul Chodas at NASA Center for the Study of near-Earth objects.
Even if the apocalypse risk is relatively unlikely, NASA desire is to identify and catalog as many asteroids to ultimately know what they are capable. In the end, only one space rubble was enough to wipe out the same dinosaurs.
Unfortunately, even though such collective efforts in finding these cosmic threats, we still have no way to protect themselves from them. That's why some experts warn that we need to build a special spacecraft that will be engaged in catching and discharge of dangerous trajectories of such space rubble.
We note again that there is no threat to Earth asteroid, which is close to her on 12 October is not. He only is an excellent goal for the Division for the Coordination of the planetary defense system in the development of their skills, which will help to cope already with a real possibility of threats in the future.