Near-Earth objects and close calls

Remembering the 1988 attempted exploration of Mars moon Phobos, (and that outcome).

Japan's MMX

Nowadays, I made a video using Stella Navigator and Google Earth to explain the orbit and route of the fireball that became the Narashino meteorite on July 2. It's a little off for explanation, but I hope you can feel that you've rushed in like this.

Snip: December 5, 2019
"Among Bennu's many surprises, the particle ejections sparked our curiosity, and we've spent the last several months investigating this mystery," said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "This is a great opportunity to expand our knowledge of how asteroids behave."

After studying the results of the observations, the mission team released their findings in a Science paper published Dec. 6. The team observed the three largest particle-ejection events on Jan. 6 and 19, and Feb. 11, and concluded that the events originated from different locations on Bennu's surface. The first event originated in the southern hemisphere, and the second and third events occurred near the equator. All three events took place in the late afternoon on Bennu.

This animation illustrates the modeled trajectories of particles that were ejected from Bennu's surface on January 19. After ejecting from the asteroid's surface, the particles either briefly orbited Bennu and fell back to its surface or escaped away from Bennu and into space.

Flashback: Interstellar gatecrasher 2I/Borisov is no ordinary comet
Snip: April 20, 2020
It was born long ago in a rotating disc of gas and dust surrounding a newly formed star in a place that must have been rich in carbon monoxide, Bodewits said. That star may have been what is called an M-dwarf, far smaller and cooler than the sun and the smallest type of star that is known, Bodewits said.

Scientists initially concluded last year that 2I/Borisov was similar to comets from our solar system, but data from the Hubble Space Telescope and an observatory in Chile revealed its differences.

Asteroid 2020 QL2
FWIW, now they are saying that Jupiter might have 600 moons! :-O

Wow! If I understood correctly though, the scientist think they have discovered 45 new moons that are at least 800 Meters in diameter around Jupiter and (theoretically) estimate that there could be around 600 of such moons in total (bigger than 800 Meters) around Jupiter by extrapolating from the sky area they have searched in and found those 45 moons (about one square degree). Further:

Back in 2003, Scott Sheppard (Carnegie Institution of Science) already estimated that the number of irregular moons larger than a kilometer would probably be around one hundred.

As I understood it, they think they have discovered those additional 45 Moons in photos that were already taken in 2010:

The team studied 60 archival 140-second exposures of a field close to Jupiter, all of them taken within a 3-hour period on September 8, 2010, with the 340-megapixel MegaPrime camera at the Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope on Mauna Kea. The astronomers digitally combined the images in 126 different ways, one for every possible combination of speed and direction at which a potential Jovian moon might move across the sky.

This method revealed 52 objects down to magnitude 25.7, corresponding to diameters of some 800 meters. Seven of the brighter finds turned out to be known irregular satellites of Jupiter; the others are almost certainly retrograde Jovian moons, which orbit the planet in the direction opposite its rotation. A paper describing the results has been accepted for publication in The Planetary Science Journal.


Most of the moons are in wide, irregular, and retrograde orbits.

So I'm assuming wide means pretty far away from Jupiter, but still orbiting it?

In the official List of the 79 Jupiter Satellites, the 7 smallest moons have a diameter of 1 km. All of this further begs the question of course how many of those Satellites are really new additions although by now the sheer number of "new moons" and additional high number of potential "new moons" really makes one wonder.
If the composition of near earth objects reflects that of meteorites, then most are stony or chondrite meteorites. Among these one group is rich in carbon.
The carbonaceous chondrites have been objects of intense study because they contain much carbon which is essential to organic lifeforms. For instance, the Wiki about the meteorite called Orgueil says: A large piece is kept at the Museum of Natural History in the city of Montauban, though it does not appear prominently if at all on their homepage. However one shop that prepares cakes and sweets has used the story about the meteorite that fell near Montauban in their advertisement for a product they sell:
View attachment 37890
It is an interesting question if some types of the near-earth objects are more likely to be carriers of lifeforms or factors that can affect life on the biological level.
And there is now this article on about just this meteorite: Russian scientists have photographed microorganism fossils likely to be from another planet -- Which has:
Rozanov admitted that his group was not the first to find traces of life in the Orgueil meteorite. All the previously discovered evidence, though, had been "misinterpreted" as scientists simply refused to believe it was true.

The Orgueil meteorite repeatedly found itself at the center of speculation about traces of extraterrestrial life being reportedly found in it. At some point in 1965, a seed capsule was found in one of its fragments. However, the entire matter was quickly revealed to be a hoax.

Later, a renowned NASA astrobiologist, Richard Hoover, claimed that he found fossils in the meteorite but NASA distanced itself from his claims at that time, citing a lack of peer reviews. Now, according to RIA, Hoover has joined the Russian team to prove that the celestial object does, in fact, contain fossilized bacteria remains.
The fossils were studied in detail with the help of a high-resolution electronic microscope, which allowed researchers to discover several species of bacteria preserved within the space rock. The microorganic fossils were found inside the meteorite and not on its surface, the scientists note, adding that they could not have gotten there after it had already fallen to Earth.

Some of the most striking discoveries include fossils of so-called magnetic bacteria. They rely on a planetary magnetic field to orient themselves in the environment and are usually found in aquatic environments such as marshes, seas or lakes. Most recently, the group also found traces of a one-celled seaweed in the Orgueil meteorite as well, together with microorganisms resembling some species of amoeba.

These discoveries show that such microorganisms could only only originated on another planet that has a magnetic field and is at least partly covered with liquid water, a junior fellow at the JINR radiobiology laboratory, Mikhail Kapralov, explained.

It is not known exactly how old the Orgueil meteorite is but the scientists believe that it might very well be older than Earth or probably even older than the Solar system itself.

"We show... that there is life in space. Or, at least, it was [there]," the scientist said.
The celestial activity seems very active, lately. Given the data shared. :whistle:

Two Tweets (Relative)
Asteroid Bennu's orbit made it an ideal target for my team... but every rose has its thorn 🌹 Every 6 years, Bennu comes very close to Earth (within 0.002 AU), making its orbit potentially hazardous.

By Elizabeth Howell a day ago

Two asteroids made close flybys of Earth on Monday (Sept. 14), in both cases showing a common occurrence that didn't put our home planet at any risk.

The first space rock, a bus-size asteroid called 2020 RF3, whizzed by our planet 58,500 miles (94,000 kilometers) away at 2:49 a.m. EDT (0649 GMT), according to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for Near Earth Object Studies. That's the equivalent distance of one-quarter of the way to Earth's moon, a distance of 239,000 miles (385,000 km).

A few hours later, a smaller, car-size asteroid 2020 RD4 made a similar close pass at 65,700 miles (roughly 106,000 km), at 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT), the center added. Italy's Virtual Telescope Project also hosted a livestream for the 2020 RD4 event.

Video: Bus and car-size asteroids zip by Earth on same day
Related: Potentially dangerous asteroids (images)

Asteroids make close passes to Earth many times a year, since there are many thousands of them in our solar system. NASA and a network of telescopes keep a close eye for any dangerous space rocks through entities such as the NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Fortunately, no immediate threats to Earth have been found.

There are some recorded instances of asteroids causing damage during Earth's history, which is why space experts keep an eye on the skies. A recent well-known incident saw a six-story object breaking up over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013, which caused building damage and some injuries. More famously, the dinosaurs' extinction 66 million years ago is usually attributed to a much larger object that slammed into our planet.

Aside from watching for threatening objects, astrophysicists study asteroids to learn more about how the early solar system was formed. Asteroids and icier objects known as comets are leftover pieces of our cosmic neighborhood before most of the material coalesced into the planets and moons we see today.

Scientists do regular study of asteroids with telescopes and, where possible, use spacecraft data to supplement their understanding. Two spacecraft are readying to bring samples of asteroids back to Earth soon, which is a rare occurrence indeed.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is scheduled to swoop down to asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20 and bring the sample back to Earth in September 2023. Meanwhile, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency has a mission of its own, Hayabusa2, that is en route from asteroid Ryugu for a landing on Earth on Dec. 6.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Time|Location: 18-Sep-2020 18:52 (Europe/London)|Greenwich, United Kingdom

NEW SPORADIC ORIGIN BOLIDS registered from our stations. Here you have #SPMN140920B last September 14 at 18h58m43s TUC. Really fast, captured from Ibiza / Eivissa by @IbizaAstronomi More details:
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Two 100-meter-wide asteroids are set to cross Earth’s orbit within hours of each other in the coming days as another space rock, the size of ancient Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza, careens towards our planet.
NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, which tracks asteroids and comets that will come close to Earth, has confirmed that it is monitoring two asteroids that are due to hurtle past on Friday, September 25. Both bodies are classed as Apollo asteroids, meaning they will cross Earth’s orbit as they fly through space.
The first asteroid, which is named 2020 RO, is estimated to be up to 130 meters wide. It will fly past on September 25 at 00:10 EST at a speed of 11.84km per second.
The second asteroid, named 2020 SM, is expected to sail past Earth later that day, at a speed of 18.43 km per second. The slightly smaller space rock is estimated to measure up to 100 meters in diameter.
ALSO ON RT.COMThe Moon is mysteriously rusting despite lack of air & liquid water
Although both asteroids are classed as near-Earth objects (NEOs) they are forecast to sail safely past our planet, despite coming into contact with its orbit. They were both discovered this year.
On September 29, a giant 200-meter-wide asteroid will silently pass Earth at a distance of around 1.78 million miles. The enormous visitor is comparable in size to Ancient Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza.
The interesting spate of asteroidal activity comes hot on the heels of an amateur astronomer in Brazil discovering a large asteroid that somehow slipped past Earth’s main planetary defenses just last month.
The discovery served as a reminder to the world’s space agencies that there are still many asteroids out there that have yet to be detected.

It looks like the fireball that flowed at 1:39 on September 20, 2020 was seen with a wide-angle camera from Fuji to the northern sky. It flowed long and slowly with a tail.

Soundbite 02:00
"There may be as many as a trillion small icy objects in the Oort cloud near the outer edge of our solar system. Very rarely one of these frozen ice balls is jostled by the gravity of a nearby star causing its distant path about our Sun to be transformed into one which takes it near the planets we know. Most of these small comets pass unnoticed by humans although occasionally one can become bright enough to be seen with the naked eye".
Asteroid 2020W will get very close this Thursday (Sept 24).

An asteroid will get awfully close to Earth this Thursday (Sept. 24), when it whizzes by our planet closer than the moon orbits.

The asteroid — known as 2020 SW — isn't expected to collide with Earth, according to the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. But it will get close, passing about 16,700 miles (27,000 kilometers) away from Earth, according to the Virtual Telescope Project.

To put this in perspective, the moon hangs out at an average of 238,900 miles (384,000 km) from us, or about 30 Earths away. This asteroid will pass at a distance of about 2.1 Earths. This means that asteroid 2020 SW will pass even closer than TV and weather satellites, which orbit at about 22,300 miles (35,888 km) away from Earth, according to EarthSky.

Scientists have yet to pin down the asteroid's exact size, but it's not that large, likely between 14 feet and 32 feet (4.4 and 9.9 meters) long, according to CNEOS. This potentially RV-size asteroid was discovered only last week, on Sept. 18, by the Mount Lemmon Survey in Arizona, and announced the next day by the Minor Planet Center, a NASA-funded group that monitors minor planets, comets and natural satellites. (It's not unusual to find unknown asteroids; in September alone, the Minor Planet Center has announced the discovery of 244 near-Earth objects.)

Passing by Earth will actually be a life-changing event for asteroid 2020 SW. It's such a small asteroid that Earth's gravity is expected to change the space rock's course when it zooms by our planet at 7:18 a.m. EDT (11:18 UTC), according to EarthSky.

After asteroid 2020 SW's close shave with Earth, it won't pay our planet another visit until June 3, 2029, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

That said, the asteroid is certainly rushing to see us this Thursday (we hope it has a face mask), traveling at a velocity of about 17,200 mph (27,720 km/h, or 7.7 km/second) relative to Earth, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported.

The asteroid will appear brighter as it nears Earth, but it won't be visible to the naked eye. If you want a clear view of the space rock, visit The Virtual Telescope website, which is showing a live feed starting at 6 p.m. EDT (22:00 UTC) on Wednesday, Sept. 23
42 celestial bodies pass near the earth within a week. One of them passes inside the lunar orbit. The closest is Asteroid 2020 SW, the closest is September 24, 11:13 UTC, distance 0.07LD (28,000km). Track map: list:

Meanwhile in Qatar:

The newly formed US Space Force has deployed troops to a vast new frontier: the Arabian Peninsula.
By Press Association 2020 7-8 minutes
Someone in my neighborhood made the local suburban news' Police Beat report:
Westerville: Police check on caller reporting falling object

Westerville police officers responded to a caller on Luke Court who said he saw something falling from the sky that appeared to be on fire, according to a report received at 12:25 p.m. Sept. 12.

The caller said he saw it minutes before, and it fell slowly to the north, according to reports.

The caller appeared to be drinking, reports said. He said he saw a piece of satellite or something fall from the sky, on fire, and he wanted police to be aware in case of any other reported sightings, reports said.
Hard to say if it was anything celestial. There's been residual neighborhood fireworks going off since July 4th, but can't say if that was the case on the 12th. No mention of any noise. He did "appear to be drinking" after all. :halo: Plus, no other sightings reported.

From my house, not much at all can be seen to the north, so I'm wondering where he was when he saw it - didn't have cell phone handy to record or call? Driving home? Out on the deck with a brewski? Sorry I missed it and super curious who the caller was.
A mysterious object is approaching Earth from space, which astronomers consider a "rocket".

Astronomers are confused by the object that is supposed to orbit Earth in November, and it does not look like an asteroid.

The astronomers have classified the object as a "mini-moon": Mini-moon is a unique cosmic phenomenon that usually occurs when an asteroid is captured by the gravitational pull of the Earth and temporarily rotates around the planet.

According to the director of NASA's Near-Earth Object Research Center, this "mini moon", which they called the asteroid 2020 SO, may be lost to the rocket launcher of the 60s.

Thus, NASA is seriously telling the version that this launch vehicle launched in the 60s traveled in space all these years to reappear near the Earth after more than 50 years.

NASA does not consider it necessary to explain what kind of rocket flew into space in the 60s, where it flew all this time, and how it flies to Earth again years later to become its "mini-moon".

As a result, at the moment, if we put aside all these absurdities that NASA writes, we have a mysterious object that flies to our planet from space to stop in its orbit and this object is not an asteroid.

Source: К Земле из космоса приближается таинственный объект, который астрономы считают "ракетой"
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