Giant Asteroid to Pass Between Earth and Moon
2011 05 09

From: Space.com

An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will come closer to Earth this autumn than our own moon does, causing scientists to hold their breath as it zooms by. But they’ll be nervous with excitement, not with worry about a possible disaster.


The near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 — on the list of potentially dangerous asteroids — was observed with the Arecibo Telescope’s planetary radar on April 19, 2010, when it was about 1.5 million miles from Earth.
CREDIT: Arecibo Observatory/Michael Nolan

There’s no danger of an impact when the asteroid 2005 YU55 makes its close flyby Nov. 8, coming within 201,700 miles (325,000 kilometers) of Earth, scientists say.

So they’re looking forward to the encounter, which could help them learn more about big space rocks.

"While near-Earth objects of this size have flown within a lunar distance in the past, we did not have the foreknowledge and technology to take advantage of the opportunity," Barbara Wilson, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. "When it flies past, it should be a great opportunity for science instruments on the ground to get a good look."

Getting to know YU55

Asteroid 2005 YU55 is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) wide. It was discovered in December 2005 by the Spacewatch program at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Because of the asteroid’s size and orbital characteristics, astronomers have flagged 2005 YU55 as potentially dangerous down the road. But the upcoming encounter is no cause for alarm, researchers said.

"YU55 poses no threat of an Earth collision over, at the very least, the next 100 years," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL. "During its closest approach, its gravitational effect on the Earth will be so minuscule as to be immeasurable. It will not affect the tides or anything else."

This round space rock has been in astronomers’ cross hairs before. In April 2010, astronomers at the National Science Foundation’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico generated some ghostly radar images of 2005 YU55 when the asteroid was about 1.5 million miles (2.3 million km) from Earth.

But those pictures had a resolution of just 25 feet (7.5 meters) per pixel. The November close pass should provide some sharper images.

"When 2005 YU55 returns this fall, we intend to image it at 4-meter resolution [13 feet] with our recently upgraded equipment at the Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California," said JPL radar astronomer Lance Benner. "Plus, the asteroid will be seven times closer. We’re expecting some very detailed radar images."

A radar astronomy opportunity

Radar astronomy employs the world’s biggest dish-shaped antennas. The antennas direct microwave signals at celestial targets that can be as far away as the moons of Saturn.

These signals bounce off the target, and the resulting "echo" helps researchers create radar images. These images can then be used to reconstruct detailed, three-dimensional models of the object.

With 4-meter-per-pixel resolution, the new views of 2005 YU55 should be pretty sharp, perhaps even showing boulders and craters, researchers said.

"We’re talking about getting down to the kind of surface detail you dream of when you have a spacecraft fly by one of these targets," Benner said.

The data collected from Arecibo, Goldstone and ground-based optical and infrared telescopes also should help detail the mineral composition of the asteroid, researchers said.

"This is a C-type asteroid, and those are thought to be representative of the primordial materials from which our solar system was formed," Wilson said. "This flyby will be an excellent opportunity to test how we study, document and quantify which asteroids would be most appropriate for a future human mission."

The capabilities of the Goldstone antenna, in California’s Mojave Desert, and of Arecibo are complementary. The Arecibo radar is about 20 times more sensitive and can detect asteroids about twice as far away. But its main dish is stationary, so it can see only about a third of the sky. Goldstone is fully steerable and can see about 80 percent of the accessible sky, so it can track objects for longer periods and can image asteroids at finer spatial resolution, researchers said.

Researchers are eager to train the instruments of both facilities on 2005 YU55 in November.

"So stay tuned," Yeomans said. "This is going to be fun."


Article from: space.com



(Close pass at about 4:00 in video)
Video from: YouTube.com






Also tune into:

Susan Joy Rennison - A New Cosmic Age, Space Weather & Cosmic Radiation

Wallace Thornhill - The Electric Universe

Gregory Sams - Sun of gOd, Is The Sun Conscious?

Freeman - Space War, the Norway Spiral, CARE, CERN, HAARP & EISCAT

Richard C. Hoagland - The Secret Space Program & The Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Disaster

Richard C. Hoagland - Phobos an Ancient Alien Spaceship, Mars, NASA & Disclosure

Paul A. LaViolette - Electrogravitics, Advanced Space Travel, Pulsars & Breakaway Civilization

Peter Levenda - Secret Space Program & NASA’s Nazis

Timothy Good - Secret Space Program, UFOs, ET & Coverup

David Icke - The Cosmic Firewall & The Moon Matrix

David Icke - The Moon and Saturn Matrix

Richard Dolan - The Secret Space Program & Breakaway Civilization





Related Articles
Asteroids in Deep Space (photos)
Asteroid 2005 YU55 to Approach Earth on November 8, 2011 (NASA)
Asteroid "2011 CQ1" Makes the Closest Near-Earth Miss on Record
U.S. Must Be Ready to Meet Asteroid Threat, White House Science Adviser Say
Who’s the Conspiracy Theorist Now? Gov’t Scaring the Public with Aliens, Asteroids, and Global Pandemics
Astronauts want plan ready for asteroid hits
Mysterious Asteroid Unmasked By Space Probe Flyby
Landing on an asteroid is sure to be risky; then again, the mission could save Earth
Scientists Come to a Conclusion: Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs
Russia, US at Odds Over Future Asteroid Hit
Did an asteroid kill Mars’ magnetic field?
Clay tablet holds clue to asteroid mystery
Asteroid 2005 YU55 - The 700 Club Biblical "Revelations" theories (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »