Near Earth Objects: We Can’t Beat the Odds Forever

Asteroid 2007 TU24
Orbit diagram of near Earth object 2007 TU24. Nasa JPL, original here.

Mark your calendars. On January 29th, 2008, the near Earth object (NEO) 2007 TU24 will pay us a visit. Thankfully, it’s just passing by and not stopping. It will zip by at 0.0038 Astronomical Units from our planet, which is about 1.4 lunar distances. That’s 568,472 kilometers, or 353,232 miles. In astronomical terms, that’s the other cowboy grazing your head with a bullet.

I’ve written more extensively about Near Earth Objects a few months ago. Since then, the distributed computing project Orbit@home which wants to monitor asteroids has been funded by Nasa. The latest news is that active development of the project will start in March 2008. Can’t wait to let my CPUs loose on that one. In the meantime, here are other worthy projects that I encourage you to check out.

So what if we detect a rock and do the math, find out that it has us in the cross hair. What then? Well, there are many theories on how to deflect inbound space rock. But theories are not enough. We need to make this happen sooner rather than later, because as 2007 TU24 reminds us, we can’t beat the odds forever.

Update: 2007 TU24 is “estimated at between 150 and 600 meters in diameter — about 500 feet to 1,900 feet, or the size of a football field, at 360 feet, to the size of Chicago’s 110-story Sears Tower, at 1,454 feet”.



6 Responses to “Near Earth Objects: We Can’t Beat the Odds Forever”

  1. Near Earth Objects and Asteroids: Are We Whistling in the Dark? « Michael Graham Richard Says:

    […] Update 2: Near Earth Objects: We Can’t Beat the Odds Forever. […]

  2. Sarah Says:

    It should be expected that this would happen eventually. But considering we can barely protect our planet from each other (other human influences), it might be slightly difficult to protect ourselves from extraterrestrial debris.

  3. Chris K. Haley Says:

    There were a number of articles last month about a meteor with a 1-in-75 chance of hitting Mars on January 30, 2008. Later the odds were increased to 1-in-25, but I haven’t seen any revisions lately. It would be a spectacular impact if it did hit, leaving a 1/2 mile crater.

  4. Chester's Home Remedies Says:

    These near Earth occurances are not rare. I remember that not too long ago a few friends of mine that work for an agency that works with NASA were joking about a rock that passed between the Earth and the Moon. Luckily for us there is Jupitor, our asteroid eating friend!

  5. Target Earth « Michael Graham Richard Says:

    […] Near Earth Objects: We Can’t Beat the Odds Forever […]

  6. robomoon Says:

    Useful information. But if it’s possible to update this page again: Can the diameter of TU24 be a little bit more precisely suggested in meters or feet? It also would be interesting to know more about the orbit diagram. Did TU24 really came so close to Earth as on the picture or is the diagram an estimate too? If yes, it would be nice to show the additional info.

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