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An asteroid with a close distance provides a rich scientific opportunity



On 9 September 2006, the asteroid QV89 will (hopefully) penetrate the ground. The space rock has got a chance 1 to 7,000 to hit the ground by the European Space Agency (ESA). Modeling by the agency suggests that space rock will move safely off the ground without coming 6.7 million km on our planet.

Our moon is nearby 384,400 km away. Mostly, 40-meter wide asteroid was discovered on August 29, 2006 by Catalina Sky Survey, an organization based in an observatory near Tucson, Arizona. This is not the first time QV89 visits us in 2006, and is expected to go back in 2032, 2045 and 2062.

The cosmic rocks closely explore researchers

Near-pass asteroids provide a good opportunity for scientists to learn more about space rocks. The asteroid 99942 Apophis is about to pass past Earth on April 13, 2029, at its closest point it will be simple 1000 kilometers above the surface of our planet. This is approximately the same distance as some spacecraft are circling around the Earth.

While it does not create a danger, this proximity is a great opportunity for asteroid scientists to explore a cosmic rock in its natural habitat. "Apophis's close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science," said Marina Brozovic, a Radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who works on radar observations on objects close to Earth. "We will observe the asteroid with optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we can see superficial details that are only a few meters away.

Mark the date

at 40-meterWorldwide, an asteroid is a special event. Rarely asteroids of this size go so close. If you are near in April for decades, the asteroid will even be visible to the naked eye.

Observers will see a moving spot of light, the first place to be discovered will be located on the east coast of Australia, it will travel westward through the Indian Ocean, and then into Africa. It will be at the closest point exactly 6 hours ago. EDT over the Atlantic Ocean.

Super fast movement

It moves so fast it can cross the Atlantic Ocean in about an hour. Scientists gathered earlier this year at the Planetary Defense Conference to discuss Apophis tracking and analyzing strategies. "We already know that a close encounter with the Earth will change Apophis' orbit, but our models also show that a close approach can change the way this asteroid rotate, and there may be some surface changes like small avalanches" , he said. Davide Farnoqia, an astronomer at the Center for Earthquake Research (CNEOS), who co-chairs the April 30 Conference on Apophis with Brozowic.

Apophis is the representative of about 2,000 currently known potentially dangerous asteroids, says Paul Chodas, director of CNEOS. "As we observe Apophis during our flight in 2029, we will acquire important scientific knowledge that one day can be used for planetary protection."


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