Asteroid may hit Mars in next month

greensnacks

Registered User
Dec 20, 2004
759
0
186
#1
I'd love to see the rover snap some pics of the this.

LOS ANGELES - Mars could be in for an asteroid hit.

A newly discovered hunk of space rock has a 1 in 75 chance of slamming into the Red Planet on Jan. 30, scientists said Thursday.

"These odds are extremely unusual. We frequently work with really long odds when we track ... threatening asteroids," said Steve Chesley, an astronomer with the Near Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The asteroid, known as 2007 WD5, was discovered in late November and is similar in size to an object that hit remote central Siberia in 1908, unleashing energy equivalent to a 15-megaton nuclear bomb and wiping out 60 million trees.

Scientists tracking the asteroid, currently halfway between Earth and Mars, initially put the odds of impact at 1 in 350 but increased the chances this week. Scientists expect the odds to diminish again early next month after getting new observations of the asteroid's orbit, Chesley said.

"We know that it's going to fly by Mars and most likely going to miss, but there's a possibility of an impact," he said.

If the asteroid does smash into Mars, it will probably hit near the equator close to where the rover Opportunity has been exploring the Martian plains since 2004. The robot is not in danger because it lies outside the impact zone. Speeding at 8 miles a second, a collision would carve a hole the size of the famed Meteor Crater in Arizona.

In 1994, fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smacked into Jupiter, creating a series of overlapping fireballs in space. Astronomers have yet to witness an asteroid impact with another planet.

"Unlike an Earth impact, we're not afraid, but we're excited," Chesley said.
 

CM Mark

The East is Ours!
Apr 13, 2005
27,472
856
513
Pretty Pretty Unicorn
#4
Will the Mars atmosphere slow this thing down?

Hope there are pictures.
Mars had little to no atmosphere, in terms of Earth's atmosphere at least.


Mars lost its magnetosphere 4 billion years ago, so the solar wind interacts directly with the Martian ionosphere, keeping the atmosphere thinner than it would otherwise be by stripping away atoms from the outer layer. Both Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express have detected these ionised atmospheric particles trailing off into space behind Mars.[37][38] The atmosphere of Mars is now relatively thin. Atmospheric pressure on the surface varies from around 30 Pa (0.03 kPa) on Olympus Mons to over 1155 Pa (1.155 kPa) in the depths of Hellas Planitia, with a mean surface level pressure of 600 Pa (0.6 kPa). This is less than 1% of the surface pressure on Earth (101.3 kPa). Mars's mean surface pressure equals the pressure found 35 km above the Earth's surface. The scale height of the atmosphere, about 11 km, is higher than Earth's (6 km) due to the lower gravity.

The atmosphere on Mars consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and contains traces of oxygen and water.[1] The atmosphere is quite dusty, containing particulates about 1.5 µm in diameter which give the Martian sky a tawny color when seen from the surface.[39]

Several researchers claim to have detected methane in the Martian atmosphere with a concentration of about 10 ppb by volume.[40][41] Since methane is an unstable gas that is broken down by ultraviolet radiation, typically lasting about 340 years in the Martian atmosphere,[42] its presence would indicate a current or recent source of the gas on the planet. Volcanic activity, cometary impacts, and the presence of methanogenic microbial life forms are among possible sources. It was recently pointed out that methane could also be produced by a non-biological process called serpentinization[43] involving water, carbon dioxide, and the mineral olivine, which is known to be common on Mars.[44]

During a pole's winter, it lies in continuous darkness, chilling the surface and causing 25–30% of the atmosphere to condense out into thick slabs of CO2 ice (dry ice).[45] When the poles are again exposed to sunlight, the frozen CO2 sublimes, creating enormous winds that sweep off the poles as fast as 400 km/h. These seasonal actions transport large amounts of dust and water vapor, giving rise to Earth-like frost and large cirrus clouds. Clouds of water-ice were photographed by the Opportunity rover in 2004.[46]
 

ImAlrightSpider

I paid $2 a month for O&A and I LIKED it!
Feb 20, 2006
824
1
0
Natick, MA
#11
Mars had little to no atmosphere, in terms of Earth's atmosphere at least.

Correct. Mars HAD little to no atmosphere... that was until Quaid activated the machine that Kuato had helped him find. Cohaagen tried to stop him, but nobody can stop Quaid.