Saturday 15 September 2012

Huge Asteroid That Sailed Close to Earth Looks More Like a UFO ... And Maybe It Is

A huge asteroid the size of three football fields came thisclose to crashing into Earth Thursday and the sight was unbelievable. Okay so "crashing" and "thisclose" are relative, astronomically speaking. Actually so is the "unbelievable" part. We are talking 7.5 times the Earth/moon distance, so in reality we were all pretty safe. This time. And at least you didn't have to lose any sleep or travel to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa to get the best view, because the Slooh SpaceCamera (very cool site alert) broadcast a whole live show around the event and got the "newly discovered potentially hazardous asteroid 2012 QG42" on video.

That, or that picture above and video below really show a UFO and this is all a huge cover-up, including this post. The truth is out there ... after the jump.

Nah, it's just an asteroid. But watching the video you can see how people can get confused. You can either slog through a lot of deep and sciencey chat from three guys who live, breathe, and eat space for an hour and a half -- or just skip to 47:41 to see the dot zoom around the screen for a few seconds:
I'm aware these things are much more exciting when there's alcohol involved. Even though there were no explosions and fiery masses and Bruce Willis like your mind conjures when you think "asteroid" doesn't mean we shouldn't be a little concerned by what Bob Berman, one of those space guys from Slooh, said:

Near Earth Objects have been whizzing past us lately, undetected until they have been practically on top of us. This illustrates the need for continued and improved monitoring for our own future safety. It is not a question of if, but when such an object will hit us, and how large and fast it may be going.

Not a question of if, but when.

Whoa. But let's grab the reins on that doomsday talk right now. That sounds ominous but just consider it's an astronomy nut talking and you know how their concept of "when" is much different than ours. Kind of like "dog years." My sense of "when" usually means anytime between now and two days before my next birthday. An astronomer's definition of when usually means anytime between now and 5,666,843,384,129,009,755,036 years from now, which, from the frame of reference of how long the Earth has been around, is practically tomorrow.

I'm not sure how much "improved monitoring" is going to help our "future safety." Seeing that we don't have a space program anymore and all. More than anything, it's just really cool to look at these things. I guess being aware of the Earth's possible destruction is good to file away, as long as everyone doesn't go on living their lives in fear they are going to get blown up by an asteroid tomorrow and turn into dinosaurs. That's just silly.
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