Asteroid 2011 MD
June 27, 2011 by staff
Asteroid 2011 MD, An asteroid, named 2011 MD, were about to crash into the surface of the Earth today, but the real danger that awaits us in 2182 when a giant asteroid could be on a collision course with the planet, astronomers warn.
2011 MD goes through now orbit the Earth, posing no real threat. The space rock was at least 7,500 miles away in the closest distance to Earth – closer than the distance between Earth and GPS satellites and 30 times closer than the distance between Earth and Moon.
However, the dangerous threat, scientists say, will come in 2182 when a much larger asteroid, which is 560 meters long, will come to Earth with an in-a-thousand chance of an impact.
The asteroid, discovered in 1999 and named 1999 RQ36, has been labeled a “potentially hazardous asteroid.”
“The likely impact of asteroid 1999 RQ36 total is estimated at 0.00092 – The likelihood of about one one-thousand – but most surprising is that more than half of this possibility (0.00054) corresponds to 2182″ said Maria Eugenia Sansaturio University of Valladolid in Spain.
NASA sent a probe and 800 million, called Osiris-Rex, the asteroid to collect samples and return to Earth. From the data collected, scientists studying the effects of sunlight on the asteroid’s orbit and find a way to deflect the cosmic missile. The Yarkovsky effect, caused by sunlight on the asteroid, the disturbance is introduced, creating the “orbital uncertainty.”
The unmanned spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2016, to reach the asteroid in 2020, and return to Earth in 2023, leaving scientists enough time to devise a plan.
Other asteroids that approach Earth before 2182, in 2005 YU55 (November 2028) and Apophis (April 2029 and again in 2036), but none of them has a really high possibility of colliding with Earth.
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