Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/30/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Asteroid 1998 QE2 passes by Earth today.

With stately indifference, an asteroid capable of destroying all life on Earth will pass by us Friday, warning humanity with its close approach as it sails past. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will pass just 3.6 million miles from Earth.

Another asteroid will strike the Earth one day, will we be ready to stop disaster before it happens?

Another asteroid will strike the Earth one day, will we be ready to stop disaster before it happens?

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/30/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Asteroid, 1998 QE2, warning, threat, extinction, impact, orbit


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It is 1.7 miles in diameter, similar in size to the Golden Gate bridge, or as some comparisons have stated, as long as nine cruise ships. No matter the comparison, the size makes it a planet killer, and should 1998 QE2 ever impact the Earth, it would be the end of life as we know it on the planet.

Of course, it's going to miss. At 3.6 million miles, that more than 15 times the distance between the Earth and the moon. However, such close approaches are still alarming. The asteroid does not quite cross over into Earth's orbit, so as long as its elliptical orbit remains stable, there is no risk to Earth. However, the orbits of asteroids are subject to change.

Interactions with other planets via events such as close approaches, can perturb the orbit of an asteroid or a comet. Often these perturbations are minor, but with a 3.6 million-mile margin of safety, a slight perturbation is all that's needed.

Jupiter is a frequent culprit. It's immense mass means it has the ability to change the orbits of comets and asteroids at great distances. One pass near Jupiter and the asteroid could fly off into deep space, or take a new path that could one day put it on a collision course with Earth.

The good news is that we're well aware of 1998 QE2. It poses no danger to us because although it passes close today, it normally does not pass much closer. Yet, it's not the asteroids we know about that worry astronomers. It's the ones we still don't know about.

Astronomers estimate they have found only a fraction of the potentially deadly asteroids out there. An asteroid on the worst trajectory would likely approach from the direction of the sun and be invisible until the moment of impact, giving no warning of its pending arrival and the doom it would bring.

Astronomers know Earth will be hit again, it is merely a matter of time. What they don't know is if that time will be tomorrow or in millions of years. Either way, they're not sitting idle.

Today, 1998 QE2 will be observed by many astronomers, although most are ignoring it because it's not a genuine threat to Earth. Among those who will observe it will be the operators of large radio telescopes. They hope to map it, to improve their understanding of 1998 QE2, especially its shape and rotation. Knowing these things with accuracy can help them make predictions about the asteroids future course.

At the same time, astronomers and engineers will discuss how best to deflect an asteroid, should one be detected on a collision course with Earth. Will be strike at such a rock with nuclear weapons? Attach a massive solar sail to it? Perhaps even paint one side of it? Believe it or not, these are among the most feasible solutions that scientists have developed so far. They could work, but they require time.

To get that time, astronomers need to keep up their work of scanning the skies to find more asteroids that could pose a threat to our planet. Naturally, that requires funding, which is in short supply.

Perhaps we can afford to ignore these efforts for awhile longer, but as 1998 QE2 elegantly reminds us, we do so at our peril.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Technology

We are THIS close to finding life on another planet Watch

Image of The James Webb Space Telescope may bring us the answers we seek regarding life in the universe.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have announced the discovery of three planets in the habitable zone of a star just 39 light years away. Such planets have the potential to host life, making them targets for future study. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Are scientists about to ... continue reading


Chinese invent robots that can beat humans at soccer Watch

Image of Chinese robots are now beating humans at their own game.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Earlier this year, a robot beat a master player at the ancient game of Go. Now, robots are beating humans at soccer. Armies of engineers are working around the world to develop artificial intelligence and robots that can do what humans do, only better. They're making ... continue reading


Top Secret Area 51 on fire - film footage captures mysterious mushroom cloud, armed security at base Watch

Image of What just happened in the secretive Area 51?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

UFO watchers have spotted a mysterious mushroom-shaped cloud over Area 51. The cause of the cloud remains unknown, but it is evidently connected to a fire at the secret military base. Viewers were unable to obtain direct footage of whatever caused the inferno, due to ... continue reading


AI shoots to kill: Will robots rule the world? Watch

Image of Researchers believe Artificial Intelligence can lead to the extinction of all humanity (Terminator 2).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After Microsoft's failure with AI teen "Tay," it should come as no surprise that more and more researchers are agreeing artificial intelligence requires a delicate balance between helpful tech and murderous exterminators. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According ... continue reading


New machine about to replace ALL fast food workers -- and why that's awesome! Watch

Image of Several companies are developing machines and robots that can replace legions of low-wage, low-skilled workers. The cost savings would be tremendous. It would also be of benefit to the workers themselves, a least in the long run.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Fast food workers, say goodbye to that grimy job with surly guests and overbearing managers. Your fight for $15 is over. No, you didn't win, someone has invented a machine that makes hamburgers better and faster than you do. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading


Extraordinary life-changing surgery allows paralyzed man to regain body control Watch

Image of Chip implant helps paralyzed man move arm and even play guitar (Screenshot/Ohio State University).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Ian Burkhart underwent experimental brain surgery to help scientists pioneer technology aimed at reanimating paralyzed limbs - and it worked! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Six years ago, Burkhart severed his spine when he went for a swim and was slammed into a ... continue reading


Would you eat a pizza delivered by a robot? Customers in New Zealand already can... How will this affect you? Watch

Image of Within a few years, your pizza may be delivered by robot.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Robots will soon begin to deliver your mail, pizza, and other parcels within the next few years. Plans are being developed around the globe to test, then roll out automated delivery systems for everything from packages, to mail to pizza. The rising demand for delivered ... continue reading


Singapore tech shames Google - Here's why we're all looking forward to it! Watch

Image of Singapore is home to the most advanced autonomous car (asiawebdirect).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After securing $3.6 million to fund an up-and-coming piece of technology, an MIT-spinoff company based in Singapore shames Google's driverless car. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With news of self-driving taxis popping up across the internet, it should come as no ... continue reading


Cannibalism: What lengths would YOU take to survive? Watch

Image of The fight has moved from the physical to the digital (cstins12/YouTube).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Time is money and money is everything. It pays for your home, food, technology, education, transit and basic needs - but what happens when your time no longer brings in the money? What would you resort to if you knew you would starve? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


How to see the green Comet 252P Watch

Image of Observers will see comet 252P as a faint green fuzzy patch. Naked eye viewing from a suburban or urban area may be virtually impossible. Observers will want a dark sky location, binoculars are recommended. Stargazers will need to look south about 90 minutes before dawn.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A pair of green comets have zipped frightfully close to Earth, and it may be possible to catch a glimpse of one from your backyard. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Astronomers were caught by surprise when they detected a new comet on January 22 using the ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • Captain James Cook wreckage discovered!
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: I fear no evil!
  • 'Our warriors are everywhere': ISIS uses CHILDREN to threaten Europe
  • St. Matthew HD Video
  • St. Florian: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Thursday, May 5th, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
15 Paul's escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh from the heavens, praise him in the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:12-15
12 I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 4th, 2016 Image

St. Florian
May 4: The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman ... Read More