Apophis – an asteroid as wide as three football fields – has a low chance of hitting Earth in 2068 Before that, however, the object is expected to pass in front of us during an encounter that scientists are already planning to exploit. Here are some fascinating ways to explore Apophis on his next close-up in 2029

In barely nine years, the asteroid 99942 Apophis, potentially dangerous, will arrive within 30 578 km from our planet One tenth the distance between the Earth and the Moon, it's a close shave by any measure, and an exceptionally rare event for an asteroid of this size – it will in fact be visible to the naked eye Current estimates place the average object width at about 350 meters The close approach of 2029 is seen as a unique opportunity for scientists to study an object of this size as it grazes a planet.

Indeed, the gravitational constraints imposed on the asteroid during this flight will be of great interest to scientists, but there is a potentially more pressing issue at play. Apophis ranked third on NASA's nasty list for potentially dangerous near-Earth objects (NEO), with a chance on 150000 to touch the Earth in 2068 Other estimates place the rating closer to 1 sure 530000, but anyway, Apophis poses a potential catastrophic threat

If Apophis crashes on Earth, it would trigger the equivalent of 1150 megatons of TNT, in an event 3800 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima The close approach of 2029 therefore offers a crucial opportunity to study this asteroid in more detail so that scientists can further assess its risk potential. Moreover, the exercise could serve as a test if we ever spot an object even more frightening than Apophis

With all of this in mind, the Lunar and Planetary Institute recently hosted a virtual workshop called «Apophis T-9 Years: Knowledge Opportunities for the Science of Planetary Defense»The workshop, which took place from 4 at 6 November, brought together nearly 200 participants and featured asteroid experts, astrophysics, radar astronomy, robotics and engineering. The purpose of the conference was to bring together like-minded people to think about the different ways we could investigate Apophis by 2029.

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Speaking at the conference, Andrew Cheng, chief scientist at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, called him ‘”natural experience” and a rare opportunity to study the exterior and interior of the asteroid. Indeed, there is still a lot we don't know about this asteroid and how its close encounter with Earth will alter its makeup, its orbit and other Apophis attributes were discovered ago 16 years, but we are still limited to vague measurements and grainy radar images

The list of unknowns and uncertainties is long, including the precise orbit of the object, Yarkovsky's drift (an effect in which the uneven leakage of heat across the surface of an object changes its orbital path), heat distribution (which relates directly to Yarkovsky), rotation, form, resistance, internal structure, chemical composition, surface topology and roughness

Astronomers believe Apophis has an irregular shape (maybe like a cigar) and that it is a contact binary, in which two objects have come together to form a single object (as such, it could have lobes and a neck, much like comet Comet Churyumov –Gerasimenko) The truth is we don't really know

Land and space missions in 2029 would help to clarify many of these issues., missions could narrate the different ways in which the close flyby with Earth will affect its various characteristics, such as its rotation and the potential displacement of surface materials. The overflight could also trigger tiny avalanches and asteroid tremors And most importantly, we will know how the close-in approach might affect its orbit and Yarkovsky's drift rate – two major factors in estimating its risk potential for 2068. Moreover, Apophis «presents an excellent opportunity to prototype and demonstrate rapid response NEO reconnaissance capability», as Brent Barbee explained, aerospace engineer from the University of Maryland, during the conference.

The easiest way to observe Apophis will be from the ground Radar scientist Marina Brozović from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said we can do it as early as next year, when Apophis arrives at 16 years. 9 million km of land This will be our «last chance for radar imagery before 2029», she said Yaeji Kim, a Phré student in the Aerospace Engineering Department at Auburn University, said observations of the asteroid in March 2021 will improve our shape and spin estimates, provide better 3D modeling and indicate possible landslides and structural failures Especially, some of these parameters can tell us what is going on inside the object

In 2029, however, when Apophis arrives within 30 578 km from Earth (fun fact: it's closer than some satellites currently in orbit), that's when the ground installations will really shine Brozović has identified a group of observatories that could participate and help, including the radar of the California Goldstone solar system, Canberra's Deep Space Communication Complex, the MIT Haystack Observatory, German tracking and imaging radar and Arecibo in Puerto Rico (pending repairs) She predicts that the surface of Apophis will be resolved with more than 10000 pixels taken at 1 Resolution of 875 meters per pixel This should give us a «full rotational coverage», she said, adding that radar polarimetry will reveal the roughness of the surface, the distribution of regolith (surface material) and resurfacing the tides, while radar tomography could reveal the depth of the regolith and the underground structure.

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All of this is very promising, but Barbee said observations on or near the asteroid are likely the «only way to reduce uncertainties» in terms of the threat risk of the object. Once we are equipped with this knowledge and have a better idea of ​​the threat to Earth, we can then act on it and develop a response plan (like moving away from its orbital path, but that's a story for another day)

Like Barbee, many conference attendees agreed that Apophis should be studied closely with a spacecraft There was no shortage of ideas, with proposals for probes to study the asteroid from a distance (whether during brief overflights or long-term rendezvous missions), the deployment of probes and sensors on the surface, and various combinations.

For the meeting of 2029, Barbee proposed the Reconnaissance of Apophis mission (OUT) of his team, which would involve a small spaceship weighing less than 180 kg Referring to this as a «quick response demonstration», he said RA would test our ability to quickly develop a solution to explore a potentially dangerous object and to develop missions with an acceptable high risk of failure. Using low thrust electric solar propulsion, RA would meet Apophis about six to eight months before the swing of the 12 avril 2029 beyond Earth. The probe would then stay close to the asteroid, collecting data before, during and after the flyby

Alain Herique of the Université Grenoble Alpes said a probe equipped with radar could study the deep interior and the regolith of Apophis, which would reveal its stability and evolutionary history

At a short distance, a spacecraft could do geology to help determine the types of rocks that exist on Apophis and the effects of spatial alteration, said Carol Raymond, NASA JPL scientist. We could document the rocks, fractures, grooves and impact craters, and also discover clues, such as surface hydrogen, linking it to other near-Earth objects, she said. Ideally, she envisions a probe equipped with various cameras, spectrometers (including infrared and thermal), radars and radio capabilities Raymond explained that a flyover mission to Apophis «better than nothing», but for Apophis, a «dating mission is highly preferred”

Terik Daly, Planetary Specialist at Johns Hopkins University, Welcomes the potential synergy produced by ground and space measurements He is particularly concerned about how the close-up approach might alter key variables applicable to Earth defense, such as Apophis Orbit, the state of rotation, strength, porosity and topology of the surface. Daly says we need a plan to study Apophis «pendant, before and after» his closest approach, after which we can reassess its potential threat

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Engineer Jan Thimo Grundmann of the German space agency DLR came up with an idea in which a spacecraft powered by a solar sail would slip into a «parking space» near the asteroid and would pass for an extended period of time Such a probe could deploy a mobile lander on the surface and continually adjust its sails to follow – and never have to worry about running out of thruster.

Dante Lauretta, professor of planetary science in the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, stated that the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft – currently orbiting the asteroid Bennu – could reach Apophis from here 2029 Once on the asteroid, he could perform many tasks performed in Bennu, such as topology mapping, chemistry and mineralogy of the object with a suite of on-board instruments It sounds like a fantastic idea, because NASA's OSIRIS-Rex mission has been a runaway success so far

Speaking of not having to reinvent the wheel, Grundmann proposed the use of MASCOT to explore the surface of Apophis These robots the size of a shoebox, which were used to study the asteroid Ryugu in 2018 and 2019, are mobile, able to jump from place to place on an asteroid. They are also highly customizable, making it a viable option for Apophis Grundmann suggested sending a MASCOT to Apophis equipped with a seismometer

Cheng would like to see an active impactor experiment performed on the surface, qui pourrait produire une carte sismique de l’intérieur de l’astéroïde Cela impliquerait une sonde capable de forer à travers le matériau de surface, mais il a admis que les délais sont serrés en termes de développement des technologies requises pour une telle mission. L’ingénieur aérospatial Masatoshi Hirabayashi de l’université d’Auburn souhaite également forer Apophis, mais il aimerait voir une sonde capable de mesurer la pression juste en dessous de la surface, ce qui fournirait des données importantes sur les contraintes dynamiques exercées sur l’astéroïde lors de la rencontre rapprochée.

Une idée vraiment cool proposée par David Smith, un chercheur émérite à la NASA Goddard à Greenbelt, Maryland, est de déposer un tas de petits réflecteurs sur Apophis, ce qui permettrait aux scientifiques de suivre le mouvement de l’astéroïde pendant une décennie entière, sinon plus long Si les réflecteurs changent de position sur la surface au fil du temps, les scientifiques pourraient considérer cela comme une preuve potentielle de changements dans l’intégrité physique de l’objet. Le plan de Smith prévoit d’environ 10 at 20 réseaux de micro-réflecteurs laser, chacun pesant environ 20 grams, tombés à la surface en 2028; ils seraient lâchés d’une hauteur d’environ 1 km et effectueraient une lente chute libre sur la surface d’Apophis Un réseau satellite en orbite terrestre surveillerait les réflecteurs via des altimètres en bande X et laser

De manière plus conceptuelle, Jay McMahon de l’Université du Colorado à Boulder a proposé l’utilisation de la robotique douce pour explorer la surface de l’astéroïde Ces machines sont idéales pour explorer les petits objets géocroiseurs, car elles sont faciles à déployer, hautement configurables et peuvent être utilisées n’importe où sur l’astéroïde, did he declare. McMahon a proposé une version dans laquelle les robots souples seraient équipés d’antennes radar, de sismomètres, d’appareils pour mesurer le mouvement ou la déformation de surface et d’outils pour faire de la science de la gravité.

Comme je l’ai dit, les idées ne manquent pas La clé est maintenant de transformer ces concepts en éléments exploitables et de coordonner les missions potentielles pour éviter la redondance et maximiser le potentiel de collaboration (plusieurs vaisseaux spatiaux autour d’Apophis pourraient créer des opportunités pour une science unique, les sondes travaillant de concert les unes avec les autres) Les prochaines années pourraient être passionnantes, car nous voyons certains de ces projets prendre forme

Certains d’entre vous ont peut-être pensé que ces missions, qu’il s’agisse de survols, de rendez-vous, de sondes robotiques ou d’exercices, pourraient en fait modifier la dynamique orbitale d’Apophis et rendre l’astéroïde encore plus menaçant pour la Terre. Cela a en fait été discuté lors de la conférence, et c’est une question suffisamment importante pour que je consacre un article entier sur le sujet Restez à l’écoute pour en savoir plus!

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99942 Apophis, astéroïde, Terre, 2068, David J Tholen, Collision

News – United States – Asteroid Apophis Could One Day Hit Earth Here's How We Could Get There First
Associated title :
Asteroid Apophis Could One Day Hit Earth Here& # 39; s How we could get there first
& # 39; Dieu de la destruction& # 39; pourrait frapper la Terre, les scientifiques avertissent d’une catastrophe
L’astéroïde Apophis va frapper la Terre: & # 39; Dieu de la destruction& # 39; pourrait frapper la Terre, les scientifiques mettent en garde contre un désastreDieu du Chaos
Les scientifiques disent qu’il y a une chance que l’apophis astéroïde monstre frappe la Terre
Quelles sont les vraies chances de & # 39; Doomsday& # 39 ; L’astéroïde Apophis frappe la Terre en 2068?
L’astéroïde Apophis a peu de chances de nous frapper en 2068 Les scientifiques préparent des plans
L’orbite à la dérive de L’orbite à la dérive de l’astéroïde & # 39 peut avoir un impact sur les chances de 2068 collision avec la Terre

Source: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/11/asteroid-apophis-could-one-day-hit-earth-heres-how-we-could-get-to-it-first/

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