Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Another missed opportunity - asteroid 2009 DD45

John sent me the following request.
- LRK -

Hey Larry!

Surely someone in your "fan club" could do the numbers on the item below:
--how much delta-v to get one of those fancy new Orion capsules to rendezvous?
--how much delta-v to send the rock to L-5, or other stable orbit?
--27000 cubic meters of SOMEthing is out there for the taking!

ASTEROID FLYBY: There's no danger of a collision, but newly-discovered asteroid 2009 DD45
will come close enough today when it flies by our planet 72,000 km (0.00048 AU) away. That's
only twice the height of a geostationary communications satellite. The asteroid measures 30 to 40
meters across, similar in size to the Tunguska impactor of 1908. Closest approach occurs at
approximately 1340 UT (5:40 am PST) on March 2nd.
Visit for updates and ephemerides.
============================================================== deepest, darkest, snowiest [!] SE GA

My thought was that it might not make any difference if we knew how to get to this asteroid since we don't seem to have any launch vehicles poised to launch on a moments notice nor any plans on how to maneuver such an asteroid into capture orbits.

My other thought was that the military might like to be able to prove they can intercept incoming objects that come over the horizon but that would probably cause much political comment.

Still, it would be nice to be able to stop incoming asteroids on short notice and we seem to be
finding these missives a few days before, or more often, shortly after they pass us by. If it isn't
one of our communication satellites breaking up and making flashes in the sky, it may be a big rock that drops in.

Want to watch this one go by? Maybe you can take a picture. Live in Australia?

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

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ASTEROID FLYBY: Newly-discovered asteroid 2009 DD45 is about to fly past Earth only
72,000 km (0.000482 AU) away. The space rock is about 35 meters in diameter, similar in
size to the Tunguska impactor of 1908. At closest approach on March 2nd, around 1400 UT
(6 a.m. PST), 2009 DD45 will speed through the constellation Virgo shining as brightly as an
11th magnitude star. Experienced amateur astronomers can track the asteroid using this ephemeris.

Topic: Asteroid 2009 DD45 to pass Dangerously Close to Earth (Read 405 times)

An exciting very close pass of a Near Earth Asteroid for observers in the northern
hemisphere awaits Monday and Tuesday nights; NEO 2009 DD45 will skim within 0.0003 AU of
the earth during the early evening hours of March 1 (2nd UT) and will attain a brightness
of at least mag. 10.8, perhaps brighter.

Arkansas Sky Observatories
MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain
MPC H43 - Conway West
Space Rock 2009 DD45 Buzzes Earth

Late word out of the IAU's Minor Planet Center: a small asteroid will pass close to Earth tomorrow
(March 2nd) at 13:44 Universal Time. How close? The MPC's Timothy Spahr calculates that it'll
be 0.00047 astronomical unit from Earth's center. That's only about 40,000 miles (63,500 km) up— well inside the Moon's orbit and roughly twice the altitude of most communications satellites!

This little cosmic surprise, designated 2009 DD45, turned up two days ago as a 19th-magnitude
blip in images taken by Rob McNaught at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. It was already
within 1½ million miles of Earth and closing fast.

Thankfully, the news media have become less sensationalistic when it comes to these asteroidal
close calls — especially since one actually struck our planet last October 7th, at night, and the
impact went virtually unnoticed

So why post this? Well, we figured someone might want to watch it zip by at up to a half degree
per minute! Even though it's small, likely no more than 100 feet (30 meters) across, it'll brighten
to magnitude 10½ at its closest — easily within reach of an 8-inch backyard telescope.
That's the good news.

The bad news is that the point of closest approach occurs over the Pacific somewhere west of Tahiti, so the most likely viewers are in Australia, Japan, and maybe Hawaii. Sure, you could look before or afterward, but it'll be brighter than 13th magnitude only for a few hours.




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