Buildings, you say?
They look suspiciously like gun turrets to me.
Let's see if I can pick up any transmissions... oh yes.
"...Land...," "...safe distance...", "...monitor it, and..."
NASA boffins have released a short video clip of the huge dead-black spaceball YU55, roughly the size of a nuclear aircraft carrier, which barrelled past Earth inside the Moon's orbit last night. They say it shows "puzzling structures" on the surface of the mysterious cosmic spheroid. As YU55 is blacker than charcoal to …
Too bad they couldn't have dropped a mars-rover type device on it as it passed by. I'm sure there are some horrendous difficulties, not the least the very low gravity, but a great chance to hitchhike around a bit, maybe look at its makeup, and see another part of the solar system.
Paris? The free ride obviously.
How do you "drop" a device on something that is hurtling past at more than 10 km/s? Presumably you have to accelerate your device to roughly the same speed. If you can do that, your device is then perfectly capable of following a trajectory similar to that of YU55 all on its own, so what's the advantage of travelling with YU55? In other words, what do you mean by "hitchhike"? And why don't they teach basic physics in schools any more?
Actually I don't think its that bad of an idea. Because if you'd wish to track it you'd need even more precise calculations in order to match its precise orbit. And only when a space agency would find out that they're off (because the "meteor rover" starts to follow a different trajectory than YU55) it would be too late to try and correct it.
Another advantage of using the asteroid itself is its already proven lifespan. Doesn't have to mean much, but at least you can be sure it won't easily crash into something.
As where speed is concerned; even the Apollo project (Apollo 10) once managed to gain a speed of 10.08 km/s. Granted; this was the highest speed attained by any manned spacecraft, but take away the manned part and you'll end up with a much lighter object anyway, thus one which would be easier to get "up to speed" so to say.
Not saying that the suggestion is the best out there, but IMO its also not as impossible as you make it seem.
Also note that they have been able to approach Halley's comet. Its not fully comparable, and only at a distance of approx. 300km in a fly by, but still...
@Sheluser: "According to Wikipedia the escape velocity from LEO is ~10.9 Km/s, so wouldn't must of the manned moon missions* have acheived velocities at least in that range?"
First, that 10.9km/s escape velocity applies from the *altitude* of LEO, not an object *orbiting at* LEO, which is already moving around 7.8km/s angular velocity or typically around 7.33km/s relative to the Earth's surface if flown southeastward from Florida, which is rotating at around 420(?)m/s about a different axis.
Anyway, you don't want to hit escape velocity unless you want to escape and never get back! Better to stay in elliptical orbit wrt Earth, do some brief orbits of the moon (assuming you meant moon missions) then mosey on home, wot.
I believe the suggestion was very valid and lucid.
You are correct that by "drop" you would need to rendezvous with the object at a similar speed.
The benefit of "hitchhiking" is getting a free ride. Its an easier task to make a sensor array and recording device that could be fired from a launching device at close to 10 km/s for a survivable impact with the object. Your device doesn't need to steer, or track and follow the object, it just hops on board. further it doesn't have to quite reach the same speed, or maintain it (granted it not dealing with wind drag to slow it down, but being on the surface of this larger object might give it some protection) Then it could go traveling through the near universe on a course that is apparently (since its still flying around) free from obstructions. If it were able to securely anchor itself (or even tunnel down) it would be better protected, and much less likely to be knocked off course by impact with some very tiny bit of space debris. Not to mention if the device could have a mobile exploratory unit it could travel around the object and investigate it further.
Perhaps under that coat of coal there YU55 is made of pure Gold! Or maybe the last image we would see is a tentacle smacking our camera non-operational....
"ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"
A fictional occult phrase from H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu, said to mean "In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming".
While this phrase appears in English fiction, it is intended to represent an ancient (fictitious) language as conceived by H. P. Lovecraft.
There is no formal pronunciation for this phrase: Lovecraft left it up to interpretation.
No-one would have believed, in the early years of the twenty first century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinised as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even concidered the possability of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immesurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly but surely, they drew their plans against us.
A better question would be "why don't we ever point the Hubble at things. Now, understand I have no idea where the Hubble is other than "in space", I have no idea if it can move, no idea if it can focus on things less than millions of light years away, and no idea if anything like "the Earth" would have been between the Hubble and the flying rock.
So it really was just a question, I would like to know why we never see pictures of Mars or anything else other than galaxies far-far away.
Warren James Palmer wrote a trilogy about an alien race that quickly conquered our earth by towing huge asteroids behind their ships and then releasing them to fall upon the major cities of our planet. Saves money in the long run I guess. Are we sure there's just the one asteroid and nothing else distorting the stars in the inky blackness...?
Putting on a serious face for a moment, I have to assume that the "puzzling structures" refers to the apparent, enormous crater that seems to be just about visible on the right, almost facing us as it rotates in to view. A lot of very small objects in the solar system appear to have these very large craters and they're quite a problem for current models, as the force required to make such a large crater would generally be enough to pulverise the object being impacted.
The most well known is Phobos, which has a crater on one end that almost can't be explained. Theories have been mooted as to how such a crater could be formed but none are really quite adequate. Research, as they say, is ongoing.
YU55 is Solid Gold (or more realistically solid Iron) it was struck by a large granite (or softer) type rock.
Did the people who make current models not consider the general idea that things can be made from different substances with different strengths?
Another very simple proposal. Large moon sized object (with existing crater in its surface) it blasted into several large pieces by very fast moving hard object. One piece (with crater still on surface) goes shooting through galaxy and over time of colliding with many tiny objects in the universe gets a relatively round shape, with large surface crater in-tact.
Or maybe its a cleverly disguised Ion cannon..?
Not so simple. It's stupendously rare for objects in space to meet at anything other than relatively enormous speeds, which is why the problem exists - at such speeds the objects in question would shatter regardless of their composition.
And, whatever idea is picked, it has to explain why there are so many of them here in our solar system. If it were just one or two it could be put down to fortuitous meetings and unusual circumstances, but the number of objects that display these characteristics has moved well beyond the realms of random chance into "good god that's scary". That's why there's a somewhat unacknowledged problem with the current models. They can't account for the number of these objects with craters so large that they should have been destroyed by the impact.
For asteroids there are proposals that many are actually loose conglomerations of material held together by microgravity, which works to a certain extend but can't explain Phobos and other solid objects with similar features.
So research is ongoing. :)
OK so as you say these multiple objects we've seen are just bits of debris from larger objects held together in a sphere, why can't some of the larger pieces of debris still carry the scars (craters) of impacts with their previous larger body (before it was broken up)
Also maybe there used to be more objects moving at a slower speed, but more of them got captured by planets and other objects, and now we only see more object moving at a higher speed.
Don't stop the research or anything, but really not a terrible bit mystery to me.
"I would be interested in knowing how you would convert from a unit of mass into "football" fields."
Sorry, we Americans don't understand mass, only size. Bigger'n aircraft carrier, we understand. As massive as an aircraft carrier may get through. 3X the mass of an aircraft carrier will draw blank stares.
As for nuclear vs. non-nuclear, the JFK wasn't that much smaller than Nimitz class. It displaced less, but again, we don't understand mass, only football fields.
Are acne. Don't stare at the zits, YU55 is self-conscious about them.
I for one welcome our poorly complexioned, humanity-harvesting overlord, and I would like to remind him that as a marketing professional I am ideally placed to entice my fellow humans into his digestive tentacles!!
For your information, that is a 3D holographic projection of a minecraft sphere as part of a huge advertising campaign put out by a partnership with Pixar and Madison avenue for Apple. Since minecraft is the cool game, Apple has co-opted it as a platform for Steve jobs to make his last Keynote address and to make it one no one will ever forget. As it gets closer the 'structures' will become more apparent until it stops spinning and is stationary and Steve Jobs will speak from the grave announcing the latest product from Apple. The ultimate in presentations. Why do you think they rolled out the 4S and not the 5?
Now you know. And soon the whole world will as well.
Does anyone else, watching that short looped video clip, see it as a glans penis? For NASA shafting of ...... well, their revenue stream is drying up and sexy alien play would certainly be a universal game changer. They will have to admit though that the mysterious East has fabulous hidden treasures which can easily attract leading master pilots/space cadets/ to their fantastic programs which are bound to have learned from the expensive mistakes that delivered so very little with all that has gone before, ergo can one expect a wholly different program to be produced and broadbandcasted with definite vision in an indefinite discipline.
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