Asteroid Impact Comparison

There seems to be a flurry of interest and news articles about asteroids impacting Earth lately. Hmm, I wonder if somebody knows something but isn’t telling?

I thought it would be frightfully fun to share a video created by MetaBallStudios that demonstrates the impact and damage caused by asteroids of various sizes.

Buckle up sunshine…you’re in for a rough ride.

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‘Planet Killer’ asteroids a mile long detected after being hidden by the suns’ brightness

If you’ve read my previous posts, this is exactly what I have warned about. Asteroids coming toward Earth from the direction of the sun are extremely hard to spot. Just like the ‘surprise’ meteor explosion in Chelyabinsk Feb. 15, 2013, which was not observed before exploding with the energy equivalent of a 400-500 kiloton blast.

An asteroid large enough to cause damage to a large city can sneak up on Earth at any time. It’s not the asteroids NASA is tracking that worries me. It’s the ‘surprise’ asteroids they miss that I’m concerned about.

Now we see this news published by USA Today on Nov. 1, 2022.

…but don’t worry, says a NASA expert, they aren’t expected to hurt us.

Famous last words

Astronomers have detected three asteroids in close proximity to Earth, two of which pose a potential threat as “planet killers” because of their larger and hazardous size, but don’t worry, says a NASA expert, they aren’t expected to hurt us. 

According to findings published in the peer-reviewed Astronomical Journal on Monday, the three asteroids – which belong to a group found within the orbits of Earth and Venus – were previously undetectable via telescope due to the glare and brightness of the sun.

However, an international space team of astronomers waited until twilight at an observatory in Chile to examine the asteroids using a dark energy camera from a Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope, according to the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab.

The biggest asteroid is the most hazardous object to prompt a significant risk to Earth in the last eight years, researchers say. One of the asteroids, named 2022 AP7, is a little less than one mile wide but has an orbit that could reach Earth’s path in the distant future. A timetable is uncertain, though, according to findings in the journal. 

“Our twilight survey is scouring the area within the orbits of Earth and Venus for asteroids,” lead study author Scott S. Sheppard, an astronomer at the Earth & Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “So far we have found two large near-Earth asteroids that are about 1 kilometer across, a size that we call planet killers.”

cientists from the study determined the asteroid with most likelihood to cross Earth’s orbit will currently “stay well away from Earth,” largely because the sun would block it since its timing of crossing Earth’s orbit would be when Earth is on the opposite side of the sun.

Should an asteroid that’s half a mile long ever connect with Earth, the results to the planet could be “devastating,” according to Sheppard, because of the impact pollutants would have on the atmosphere.

“It would be a mass extinction event like hasn’t been seen on Earth in millions of years,” Sheppard said.

Threat of asteroid hitting Earth ‘is not hazardous’: NASA expert

While the observed asteroids could have devastating impacts on the plant, don’t assume it’ll actually collide with Earth, said Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Center for Near Earth Object Studies who was not involved in the study.…

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Boyhood Promise Fulfilled

On the Waterfront – launches February 13, 2023

I was twelve years old when this story came to me, the essence of the story, anyway. I was a scout at Camp Baker staying at the Tyee campsite. One morning, I was having some intestinal issues. I sat in a wooden outhouse on a bluff overlooking Siltcoos lake with the door open, gazing out at the water.

The story was about two boys swimming the mile swim. An accident occurred and one boy was gravely injured. The injured boy promised his friend he would always watch over him whenever he swam.

That was it. The idle imaginings of a twelve-year-old sitting on the shitter. It wasn’t a fully thought-out story, but the idea rattled around in my mind for the next fifty-plus years. Ever since that day, I thought about becoming a writer and promised myself I would put this story down on paper one day. It was not a simple task. I tried several times and never finished. It’s taken years for me to craft this tale.

On the Waterfront is fiction, but many of the episodes in the story are real. If you asked me if I was Danny or Mark, I would say some of each.

I was a member of staff at Camp Baker for two summers in 1973 and 1974. I worked in the kitchen and on the waterfront. Brian and Molly were real people, although I don’t remember if those are their real names. I was happy to be away from home and my bratty little brother. There were some rather gross chores I had at home involving animals, and I worked hard to make and save money.

While working on the waterfront, I swam several mile swims and there was an old green rowboat I loved to row. One day, a storm came up suddenly and a sailboat overturned. The speedboat that went to rescue the sailboat had engine trouble. I rowed out through turbulent water and pulled both boats back to shore through crashing waves in a violent storm.

Those and many other story elements in On the Waterfront really happened. There are many true stories behind the story. They say you write what you know. I have done exactly that, drawing deeply from the experiences of my youth and the wonderful times I spent at Camp Baker.

What’s the significance of the red Speedo pictured to the right? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

I hope you enjoy reading On the Waterfront. It’s a deeply personal story for me, one that was difficult to get down on paper, but I am happy I have finally fulfilled the boyhood promise I made to myself so long ago.

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Sixty Four

Photo taken in Montana house – Guemes Island, Washington State – September 17, 2022

At sixty-four years old, I am at peace, yet the struggle continues. The intensity of youthful ambition has ebbed. I find the quest now more refined. The angst of youth, the passion that drives one to push forward toward success, has waned, yet the desire to create is strong, smooth like a river it flows pushing me forward.

My challenge for the past thirty years was to create and sell computer peripherals to resellers, retailers, and e-commerce sites around the world. It was a formidable challenge and an extraordinary adventure. Our team, a small group of hard-working individuals, created several first-in-the-world products. To name a few, we created the first OHCI Firewire host card, called the PYRO card, which captured video from a DV camcorder, recording the video to a PC. Firewire also supported external hard drives. In addition, we created the world’s first video to USB hardware MPEG-2 encoder device, called Instant DVD, which allowed users to convert VHS tapes to DVD disks. We also created the world’s first RDS radio for the PC and was awarded a patent for this technology. RDS or Radio Data System is the technology that displays radio station call letters and song titles on your car radio.

My company, ADS Technologies, may not have been a household brand name, but I am proud of what we achieved.

Working with distributor partners, we sold these and other products around the world. I am proud of the devices we developed and the sales we achieved, but more than anything, I’m proud to know the people we worked with around the world are still friends.

Today, my goal has changed. My desire is to write and tell stories. Someday I might write, “Adventures in Business!” There are some exciting stories I can tell. Don’t you just love an old man who loves to tell stories. Once he gets started, you can’t shut him up. That’s me.

I’m still learning the craft of writing. Creating a novel is a process of drafting, editing, fixing, re-writing, editing again, getting feedback from editors and beta readers, then refining the work until you’ve created a manuscript you hope the reader will enjoy. It’s not easy, and for me, it’s a slow process.

I am focused on quality, and that takes time. My desire is to deliver end products that are the best I can produce. I’m not saying I write best sellers, or that I’ll produce the next great american novel, but I endeavor to publish books I am proud to share.

My life has been one of arduous work, which included wonderful adventures. At sixty-four, I hope to travel, continue to work a bit, and author novels that captivate readers.

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Think about this…. Declassified government data reveals an interstellar object that exploded over Earth

The Government kept news of an interstellar object SECRET for 8 Years!

The main premise of ASTEROIDS – Bridge to Nowhere might not be far off. The government knew an asteroid storm was headed toward Earth…and kept it secret.

I wonder what else our government is keeping secret.

 Back in 2014, a fireball exploded in the skies over Papua New Guinea. At the time, scientists believed that the object was a small meteorite measuring around 1.5 feet across. It slammed into the Earth’s atmosphere at more than 130,000 mph (roughly 210,000 km/h). Because the object’s speed exceeded the average velocity of meteors found within our solar system, a group of scientists conducted a study on the object in 2019. They found that it was most likely the first interstellar object we had identified.

However, the group never published their paper in a peer-reviewed journal. Instead, it has been available in the preprint database arXiv since its publishing. The reasoning behind this delay is because the data needed to verify the study’s position The team argued that the meteor’s speed, as well as the trajectory that it traveled, proved that it had originated somewhere beyond our solar system.

Unfortunately, the scientists never had the paper reviewed by peers. That’s because the U.S. government considered the data needed to verify the claims classified. At least, until now.

On April 6, 2022, Lt. Gen. John E. Shaw, the commander of the USSC, shared a memo on Twitter. The memo says that the analysis by the scientists in 2019 was “sufficiently accurate to confirm an interstellar trajectory.” That makes it the first interstellar object that we’ve identified to date.

It’s a huge step forward, and the confirmation retroactively makes the 2014 meteor even more important than it might have already been. In fact, it currently predates what we believed to be the first interstellar object, a comet named ‘Oumuamua. In fact, it predates it by almost three years.

Of course, there’s no telling what other kinds of interstellar objects are out there that we have yet to find. We still have a lot of space to explore, even inside our own solar system. As such, we could find other interstellar objects waiting to be discovered.

More from beyond our solar system

Of course, this isn’t the only interstellar object we have discovered so far. As noted above, scientists previously discovered ‘Oumuamua, a cigar-shaped object moving far too fast to have originated inside of our solar system. Unlike the meteor, though, ‘Oumuamua was spotted far from Earth. And, NASA says it is already speeding away from our solar system.

Scientists believe ‘Oumuamua is a comet because of how quickly it is moving, as well as how much it continued to accelerate on its own. However, because it is so far away from Earth, and moving outside of our solar system, it’s impossible to know for sure.

Still, knowing that there are interstellar objects entering our solar system from beyond the edges of space as we know it is both terrifying and exhilarating.…

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NASA Approves Continued Development of Asteroid Hunting Space Telescope

A critical element in planetary defense and the search for dangerous asteroid continues to plod along. The Neo Surveyor, previously named NeoCam has been on the drawing board for more than a decade. While getting approval to move to the next stage of development, the earliest date this new telescope could launch is 2026.

In 2005 congress mandated NASA with the task of detecting and cataloging at least 90 percent of Near Earth Asteroids (NEO’s) 450 feet in size by 2020. NASA failed to meet that deadline. One NASA scientist estimated that about two thirds of the NEO’s larger than 450 feet remain to be discovered.

Earth is under constant threat of an asteroid impact.

It’s curious that it typically takes an meteor impact or a close call for our government and NASA to take action. In 2013, several months after the Chelyabinsk, Russia meteor blast, the end of life space telescope WISE was reincarnated as NEOWISE to conduct a survey of asteroids. Then after the close call in July 2019 of 2019 OK, a previously undiscovered 427-foot wide asteroid that passed within 40,000 miles of Earth, NEOCam received funding after waiting in the wings for years.

Both of these close calls were from undetected asteroids. If 2019 OK had struck a city like Los Angeles, millions of people could have perished in the blink of the eye by an unknown, unseen terror from the sky.

At least continued development of NeoSurveyor has been approved without any recent threat event. Let’s hope that NASA and JPL continue to be diligent in their search for possible threats from space.


From JPL and Astronomy Magazine:

The infrared space telescope is designed to help advance NASA’s planetary defense efforts.

NASA has approved the Near-Earth Object Surveyor space telescope (NEO Surveyor) to move to the next phase of mission development after a successful mission review, authorizing the mission to move forward into Preliminary Design.

The infrared space telescope is designed to help advance NASA’s planetary defense efforts by expediting our ability to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit, collectively known as near-earth objects, or NEOs.

“NEO Surveyor will have the capability to rapidly accelerate the rate at which NASA is able to discover asteroids and comets that could pose a hazard to the Earth, and it is being designed to discover 90 percent of asteroids 140 meters in size or larger within a decade of being launched,” said Mike Kelley, NEO Surveyor program scientist at NASA Headquarters.

Following completion of the goal to discover 90 percent of all NEOs larger than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) in size in 2010, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-155) directed NASA to discover 90% of NEOs larger than 140 meters (459 feet) in size. The agency is diligently working to achieve this directive and has currently found approximately 40% of near-Earth asteroids within this size range.

“Each night, astronomers across the globe diligently use ground-based optical telescopes to discover new NEOs, characterize their shape and size, and confirm they do not pose a threat to us,” said Kelly Fast, program manager for NASA’s NEO Observations Program.…

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Feeling Cratered?

Earth has been knocked about quite a bit by asteroid strikes during its long history. All of the planets in our solar system have been heavily bombarded at one time or another, just look at the Moon. Asteroid strikes still occur, just not as often or as dramatically in the past.

Nearly 170 terrestrial impact craters have been identified on Earth ranging from a few meters to 300km (186 miles) in diameter.

Check the video created by MBS that puts the size of some of these craters into perspective! Have a Blast!

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An asteroid came ‘exceptionally close’ to hitting Earth… Again!

Largest Asteroid of 2021 to Zoom Past Earth in March, Closest Approach in  200 Years

If you check websites like spaceweather.com or NASA’s CENEOS (Center for Near Earth Object Studies) and view the list of projected asteroid close approaches, you won’t find the little bugger that just snuck past us.

That’s because 2021 GW4 was discovered just days before it nearly smacked into Earth! As I have said repeatedly, “It’s not the asteroids we know about, it’s the ones we haven’t found yet that scare me!”

From Yahoo! News:

There will be no “Armageddon” type of situation on Earth, this time, after an asteroid the size of car just missed hitting Earth on Monday April 12th. 

The asteroid, known as 2021 GW4, traveled at 18,700 miles per hour when it passed the planet. At its closest, the asteroid was just over 12,000 miles away from Earth’s surface at 9:01 a.m. ET. For reference, most geostationary satellites are around 22,000 miles awa,y and the moon is roughly 238,900 miles away.

The asteroid was first discovered on April 8 at the Catalina Sky Survey in Mt. Lemmon, Arizona.

Astronomer and founder of the Virtual Telescope Project Gianluca Masi said it was “an exceptionally close encounter.” He captured an image of the asteroid when it was over 186,000 miles from Earth and can be seen in the middle of the image with an arrow pointed at it. 

Telescope image of asteroid 2021 GW4, which came close to hitting Earth.

“We repeat this is an absolutely safe close approach. Asteroids of that size coming so close are relatively rare, but so far this year we had four objects coming within 0.07 lunar distance from Earth’s center: 2021 GW4 is the largest of these four rocks,” Masi said.

NASA estimated that the asteroid was between 3.5-7.7 meters long, and tracked how close its orbit came to Earth’s. The size is the reason why people were not able to see it without a telescope.

Earth has dodged a couple of space bullets recently after NASA announced the 1,100-foot-long asteroid Apophis would not hit Earth in the next 100 years. That asteroid is projected to come within 20,000 miles of Earth on April 13,

It’s common for space rocks similar to 2021 GW4 to hit Earth as it happens about once a year, according to NASA. However space rocks smaller than 25 meters, over three times the size of 2021 GW4, often burn up and create, “an impressive fireball” as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA estimates that it would take an asteroid more than half a mile long to cause worldwide effects after impact.

Source: An asteroid just came ‘exceptionally close’ to hitting Earth (yahoo.com)

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NASA Declares Earth Safe from Asteroid for 100 Years

Well, we aren’t safe from all asteroids, but a recent radar survey of the asteroid Apophis, sometimes referred to by the name,” God of Chaos” has plotted the orbit of the asteroid and declared Earth safe from impact for the next 100 years.

As Apophis made its flyby on March 5, 2021, it was tracked by the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex near Barstow, California and the orbit recalculated. The position of Apophis is now confirmed to an accuracy of 490 feet.

Don’t misunderstand, Apophis is still a potentially hazardous asteroid. It’s due to pass again on Friday the 13th 2029 and come within 20,000 miles of the planets surface. This is close enough that some earthlings will be able to spot the God of Chaos in the skies as it hopefully zips past Earth.

The new calculations assure NASA that Apophis will not impact Earth during future passes in 2038 or 2068, thus this rocky body will be removed from JPL’s Sentry Impact Risk table.

There are currently 2,179 potentially hazardous asteroids, so one down 2,178 other hazards are still out there, and new ones are being spotted all the time.

As I have stated before, it’s not the asteroids we’ve found and are tracking that concern me. It’s ones we haven’t found.

Whenever our government assures us, we are safe, that’s when I worry most.

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The Southern California Deluge of 1938

It rained in Los Angeles today. Rain in Los Angeles is a rare event.

The months of February and March make up the short winter rainy season in Southern California.

It can rain one or two days, or there can be a downpour that lasts several days before the weather returns to our normal sunny seventy-degree winter temps.

Eight-three years ago today it didn’t rain. It flooded.

The flood of 1983 is described in the novel ASTEROIDS – Bridge to Nowhere.

It was this flood that wiped out the road, still under construction, that was to wind up the San Gabriel river over the mountains to the small town of Wrightwood.

Whoever had the contract to build the bridge over the San Gabriel River finished ahead of schedule. After the flood, the road was gone, but the bridge still stood as it does today, alone in the middle of the rugged wilderness leading nowhere. The Bridge to Nowhere.

While researching ASTEROIDS, I learned about the bridge and decided to check it out for myself. It’s a strenuous five-mile hike on a trail that takes you and your wet shoes across the river at least three times. After visiting, the bridge and what lies beyond became integral elements of the story.

After ASTEROIDS was published a group of friends joined me for another trek to the bridge.

Click the link below to read a news story describing the flood of 1938 and its devasting effects on the Los Angeles region eighty-three years ago.

The Southern California Deluge of 1938 | KCET

The Southern California Deluge of 1938

KCET

By Nathan Masters

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