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Originally posted by anhinga
reply to post by Donoso
...I wonder what the science involved was to determine that the rovers were safe from this potential impact -- I mean, is there really a way to test that?
I doubt the rover is "safe" from such a powerful impact, that close to where it's situated.
If the asteroid does smash into Mars, it will probably hit near the equator close to where the rover Opportunity has been exploring the Martian plains since 2004. The robot is not in danger because it lies outside the impact zone. Speeding at 8 miles a second, a collision would carve a hole the size of the famed Meteor Crater in Arizona.
The crater was created about 50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch when the local climate on the Colorado Plateau was much cooler and damper. At the time, the area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by woolly mammoths, giant ground sloths, and camels. It was uninhabited by humans, the first of whom are thought to have reached North America only around 13,000 years ago.
The impact produced a massive explosion equivalent to at least 2.5 megatons of TNT – equivalent to a large thermonuclear explosion and about 150 times the yield of the atomic bombs used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The explosion dug out 175 million tons of rock. The shock of impact propagated as a hemispherical shock wave that blasted the rock down and outward from the point of impact, forming the crater. Much more impact energy, equivalent to an estimated 6.5 megatons, was released into the atmosphere and generated a devastating above-ground shockwave.
Originally posted by turbokid
what i take away from that article is how relatively "out of the blue" this seems to come. i mean, they discovered it a few weeks ago and it could hit in a month. what if it was headed for earth? meh, i guess the "skywatchers" dont have as big of a handle on things coming into our neck of the woods as i thought.
aside from that, it will be awesome to see!!
Originally posted by Donoso
NASA is preparing!
So…should be quite a dust-up on Mars if 2007 WD5 pings the red planet next month.
Originally posted by Donoso
The thing had to have been traveling a good 24KM/H which would have impacted the ground before you could have even blinked a single time.
Originally posted by Viszet Oki
Ok, I don't understand... A 1 in 75 chance of hitting it, but if it does hit it will be this certain area. How do they know where it will hit, if they are not even sure it will hit???? Isn't there computer models that calculate these things by the known laws and geometries of gravity and orbits etc... I guess there must be more to it, cause to me, if one body is moving at one velocity, and another body is moving at another velocity, and their paths intersect.... speed, distance, time. I guess I just don't get how they would not know for sure whether there will impact or not.