A radar image an asteroid, 2005 YU55, acquired in April 2010.  (This is not the asteroid that will pass by Earth on Jan. 27, 2012)Credit: NASA
A radar image an asteroid, 2005 YU55, acquired in April 2010. (This is not the asteroid that will pass by Earth on Jan. 27, 2012)Credit: NASA

Asteroids

Asteroid 2005 YU55: An Expert’s Explanation

4 Nov , 2011 by

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory released this video today featuring more information about the much-discussed 2005 YU55, a 400-meter-wide asteroid that will pass by Earth next Tuesday at a distance closer than the Moon. The video features research scientist Lance Benner, an expert in radio imaging of near-Earth objects.

While YU55 will come closer than any object we’ve been aware of in the past 35 years, it poses no risk to Earth.

“2005 YU55 cannot hit Earth, at least over the interval that we can compute the motion reliably, which extends for several hundred years.”

– Lance Benner, JPL Research Scientist

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While we can’t state enough that there’s no danger from YU55, this close pass will offer a fantastic opportunity for scientists to acquire detailed radar images of this ancient C-type asteroid. 

NASA’s Near-Earth Objects Observation Program will continue tracking YU55 using the 70-meter radar telescope at the Deep Space Network in Goldstone, California, as well as with the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico.

“This is the closest approach by an asteroid this large that we’ve known about in advance,” said Benner. “The Goldstone telescope has a new radar imaging capability which has just become available that will enable us to see much finer detail than has previously been possible.”

Radar imaging allows scientists to better study the surface features and composition of fast-moving, dark objects like YU55 which reflect very little visible light.

Space.com has provided a great infographic that shows exactly where this asteroid will pass by Earth. Note that the side view plainly shows that the path of the asteroid is well above the plane of the Earth/Moon orbit.

Learn about the huge asteroid 2005 YU55's close pass by Earth in this SPACE.com infographic.
Source: SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

 

Video: JPL

 

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By  -        
A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!



Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
backman
Guest
November 4, 2011 10:19 PM

my images 2010 http://tiny.cc/k0qqf
backman

backman
Guest
November 4, 2011 10:19 PM

my images 2010 http://tiny.cc/k0qqf
backman

backman
Guest
November 4, 2011 10:19 PM

my images 2010 http://tiny.cc/k0qqf
backman

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
November 5, 2011 1:44 AM

wicked!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
November 5, 2011 1:44 AM

wicked!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
November 5, 2011 1:44 AM

wicked!

Steve G
Guest
Steve G
November 5, 2011 2:29 AM

what if it hit the moon!

Steve G
Guest
Steve G
November 5, 2011 2:29 AM

what if it hit the moon!

Steve G
Guest
Steve G
November 5, 2011 2:29 AM

what if it hit the moon!

Olaf
Member
Olaf
November 5, 2011 7:54 PM

There is no what if. It does not get near the moon.

david mccue
Guest
david mccue
November 6, 2011 4:55 AM

Its only a matter of time before we get hit, from the increasing amount of close encounters i reckon we will be hit sometime within the next 60 years at least once with a 1KM+ asteroid, (2071), the solar system is also entering the local bubble, which will further increase the asteroids thrown into the the inner solar system. The worst part will be when we first enter this region and the disturbance it will cause on the Oort cloud.

durkeeone
Guest
durkeeone
November 5, 2011 2:48 AM

As long as they tell and report to us citizens of earth about near earth objects I have no fear. It’s the one they don’t report!

durkeeone
Guest
durkeeone
November 5, 2011 2:48 AM

As long as they tell and report to us citizens of earth about near earth objects I have no fear. It’s the one they don’t report!

durkeeone
Guest
durkeeone
November 5, 2011 2:48 AM

As long as they tell and report to us citizens of earth about near earth objects I have no fear. It’s the one they don’t report!

Marcos Herasme
Guest
November 5, 2011 3:22 PM

This is a wonderfull oportunity to put a ton of equipment on it, then take a free ride around the neighborhood and then have a blast collecting data of the universe. For those who would like a time travel the bus will pass in the asteroid 2001 WNS and it will cross near by in June 26, 2028, so prepare yours suitcases.

I think that we should be traveling on asteroid first. The travel in and out the solar system in a time scale that is suitable to us.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
November 5, 2011 7:53 PM

It is not a free ride. You need as much fuel to get to that asteroid as it would be to take the same road trip without the asteroid.

renoor
Member
renoor
November 8, 2011 8:05 AM

People often forget this.
BUT there is a way out – we could make huge inflatable cushions similar to the ones used in MER rovers (but much bigger). Also the payload must withstand several hundreds of G’s, but that’s no problem these days. Atmospheric heating is nonexistent on asteroids. Inserting the probe exactly in the path of small asteroid might be a problem…

Olaf
Member
Olaf
November 8, 2011 5:29 PM

In this case we talk about 13,0 km/s movement of that asteroid (Spacecraft speed at that impact would be 217 m/s, while the asteroid moves at 13.2 km/s.)
This is a collision at 46,800. km/h. Do you think you could create big enough air bags that could cushion the impact?

renoor
Member
renoor
November 8, 2011 7:48 PM

Thanks for the numbers! Imagine technology withstanding 500g, which is a realistic figure as I understand. That means your breaking “capacity” is about 5 km per second squared. And that means you need 2.6 seconds for breaking. So the breaking path is 17 km? Hmmmm, I suppose you’re right, that’s little bit insane… But that’s where you have to imagine how impossible can be made possible and come up with something genial. There has to be a way how to get a free ride!

Marcos Herasme
Guest
November 5, 2011 3:22 PM

This is a wonderfull oportunity to put a ton of equipment on it, then take a free ride around the neighborhood and then have a blast collecting data of the universe. For those who would like a time travel the bus will pass in the asteroid 2001 WNS and it will cross near by in June 26, 2028, so prepare yours suitcases.

I think that we should be traveling on asteroid first. The travel in and out the solar system in a time scale that is suitable to us.

Marcos Herasme
Guest
November 5, 2011 3:22 PM

This is a wonderfull oportunity to put a ton of equipment on it, then take a free ride around the neighborhood and then have a blast collecting data of the universe. For those who would like a time travel the bus will pass in the asteroid 2001 WNS and it will cross near by in June 26, 2028, so prepare yours suitcases.

I think that we should be traveling on asteroid first. The travel in and out the solar system in a time scale that is suitable to us.

HamsterH
Guest
HamsterH
November 5, 2011 3:40 PM

if i were standing on an asstroid and blasted a phart …would i change the assteroid’s direction?

HamsterH
Guest
HamsterH
November 5, 2011 3:40 PM

if i were standing on an asstroid and blasted a phart …would i change the assteroid’s direction?

HamsterH
Guest
HamsterH
November 5, 2011 3:40 PM

if i were standing on an asstroid and blasted a phart …would i change the assteroid’s direction?

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
November 5, 2011 4:04 PM

Since you would be wearing a spacesuit (I presume) the molecules would be confinged to the suit. This would prevent Newton’s third law from working this way, and would result in creating an unpleasant environment for a few minutes that is up close and personal.

LC

Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
November 5, 2011 6:35 PM
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
November 5, 2011 4:04 PM

Since you would be wearing a spacesuit (I presume) the molecules would be confinged to the suit. This would prevent Newton’s third law from working this way, and would result in creating an unpleasant environment for a few minutes that is up close and personal.

LC

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
November 5, 2011 4:04 PM

Since you would be wearing a spacesuit (I presume) the molecules would be confinged to the suit. This would prevent Newton’s third law from working this way, and would result in creating an unpleasant environment for a few minutes that is up close and personal.

LC

Chauncy Gardener
Guest
Chauncy Gardener
November 5, 2011 9:26 PM

perhaps, are you lactose intolerant? : )

fnersh
Guest
fnersh
November 5, 2011 12:45 PM

This asteroid is about 3000 times less massive than the one that hit us 63 million yrs ago causing the K/T extinction (dinosaurs).

Chauncy Gardener
Guest
Chauncy Gardener
November 5, 2011 9:22 PM

Olaf, space has no friction. Whatever speed you accelerate to, the craft STAYS that speed indefinately. A straight, plotted trajectory for said asteroid would succeed with VERY LITTLE FUEL! Sci-fi shows seem to have everyone brainwashed to forget this factor. This is why we have calculus…. think with open minds people, it makes great things happen!

Olaf
Member
Olaf
November 5, 2011 10:21 PM

Yes then use your calculus to calculate how much fuel you would need to match the asteroids speed. Now calculate the speed how much you would need to have the same orbit like that asteroid would have without asteroid. It is the exact same orbit.

Unless you can invent some grappling arm that can grab an asteroid moving at 10 km/s or so. Or you could move in front of that asteroid so it smashes into you at 10 km/s.

david mccue
Guest
david mccue
November 6, 2011 4:23 AM

space does have friction, any molecules in space will create a friction, and dont forget the solar winds. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20927994.100-vacuum-has-friction-after-all.html

wpDiscuz