Tag Archives: NASA

Asteroid Impact!

8 Jun

Asteroid Threat to Earth – Impact Point

 

With news that an asteroid as big as the Statue of Liberty could hit Earth on or around the 9th of September this year, we are reminded of how fragile our existence on planet Earth and all life upon it is as we travel around the Milky Way Galaxy.

An asteroid called 2006QV89 will come perilously close to our planet and could even smash into us. At 40 metres wide, the object is not big enough to cause too much damage however as It’s only about twice as large as the 20 metres object which exploded in the skies over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013.

Having said that, The ‘airburst’ caused by this detonating meteorite left about 400 people injured, with most wounds caused by shards of flying glass from windows smashed by the shockwave. The energy from  the resulting explosion exceeded 470 kilotons of TNT.

If 2006QV89 exploded over a major city like London or New York, the damage could be much greater, but still only minor in comparison to what an Earth impacting meteorite could do!

Thankfully Nasa calculations reveal it has a 99.988% probability of missing Earth.

The threat from Earth impacting asteroids and comets will unfortunately never recede, you only have to be a dinosaur to know that! In more recent times we can consider the huge air burst that occurred over Siberia in 1908 – the Tunguska Event – levelling trees in the remote forest for miles around.

If that event occurred now over a major city, the effects would be cataclysmic.

Check out the incredible, ‘Daylight fireball’ footage taken in 1972 of an Earth-grazing meteorite that passed just 35 miles above the Earth before skimming the atmosphere and continuing its journey through the solar system – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vBu-yUzWXqg

Such events can happen without warning, despite NASA and Earth’s scientists trying to track these things. A sobering thought however is that the number of scientists worldwide hunting for these things is about the amount of people who work at a McDonalds restaurant!

For Anyone who enjoys a good science fiction mystery thriller on this very theme and who is interested in learning more about this worrying threat, can jump in to my exciting thriller, Impact Point, available on kindle at Amazon.com and  Amazon.co.uk. Alternatively, please visit the author’s website for further information and similar books.

 

 

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Bon Voyager

10 Dec

The Voyager space probes, launched from Earth in 1977 to study and photograph the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – a task they completed in 1989 have both now left our Solar System. Voyager 1 left in 2012 and Voyager 2 has just done so.

The probe’s present location is some 18 billion km (11 billion miles) from Earth and is moving at roughly 54,000km/h (34,000mph). Voyager 1 is even further away and travelling faster still, at 22 billion km and 61,000km/h.

Both spacecraft will continue transmitting signals and data until their plutonium power packs run out – perhaps in another 10 years time. After that, they will continue on their voyage through interstellar space until finally reaching the next closest star, in about 40,000 years!

According to Space.com website, here are some of the Voyager program’s probes achievements;

  • Examined Jupiter’s atmosphere, including its hurricanes.
  • Found active volcanoes on Io, a moon of Jupiter, as well as a “torus” (a ring of sulfur and oxygen that Io is shedding).
  • Saw evidence of an ocean beneath Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter.
  • Looked in detail at Saturn’s rings; observed waves, structure and “shepherd moons” that influence the shape of its F-ring.
  • Saw evidence of an atmosphere around Titan, a moon of Saturn, which scientists correctly identified as being composed largely of methane.
  • Discovered a Great Dark Spot on Neptune, which is a large storm.
  • Saw active geysers on Triton, an icy moon of Neptune

Both Voyager spacecraft carry recorded messages from Earth on golden phonograph records — 12-inch, gold-plated copper disks. A committee chaired by the late astronomer Carl Sagan selected the contents of the records for NASA. The “Golden Records,” as these records are called, are cultural time capsules that the Voyagers bear with them to other star systems. They contain images and natural sounds, spoken greetings in 55 languages and musical selections from different cultures and eras.

So, as we say bye bye to these little space probes, we must hail this amazing human technological achievement and NASA’s 40 year space mission, which is heading for a half century space mission, provided signals are still being beamed back in 9 years time…

This brings me on to another signal. Will the probes, or any Earth-based detection system pick up any alien signals from outer space? Perhaps we already have picked up a signal and just didn’t know it. If you’d like to know how things might unfold, then check out my recent Science Fiction thriller – SALIENT, by clicking the link below or visit my website for more information.

 

Salient