Science in Action this Week: February 13, 2013

Asteroid 2012 DA14

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will come very close to Earth on February 15, 2013.


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  • Macscottcu

    Asteroids, Natures' target practice. :-)
    Let me make an analogy (like all analogies, they are inconclusive, but I hope you find this helpful).

    Pretend the Earth is a TARGET.

    1. The outside ring of this target is worth 1 point (asteroid misses the earth but passes closer than the moon at its lowest point in it's orbit, but does not contact the atmosphere) 2. The next inside ring is worth 2 points (asteroid enters the Earth's atmosphere but does not impact the surface and is basically destroyed in the atmosphere)3. The next inside ring (rings are concentric) is worth 4 points (astroid impact is a “striking blow,” more that 90% of its mass is separated from it's core before impact and has a broad impact area)4. And finally the bulls-eye that is worth 10 points (asteroid is on a direct course to impact with a localized impact area, worst case)Now the question begging to be answered (at least by me) is “what are the probabilities a particular ring is going to be hit if the trajectory of an asteroid is a random distributed on the target area (inside the moons orbit).Gut feeling, “we were damn lucky on this last of Natures target practice.”My rough guess with no calculations at all, just my gut feeling: 1=94%, 2=1%, 4= 2%, and finally a 10 point shot=3%Ready. set, Go Figure. :-) But first, make your own guess!!Scott Stokes
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