Researchers have set the date of March 16, 2880 as being one of Earth’s possible destruction because that day an asteroid hurtling through space has a probability of striking the globe. The scientists who have been examining the rock discovered that its body revolves so rapidly that it should have already broken apart but by some means it has remained intact on its Earth-bound path.
They think the asteroid is possibly held together by cohesive forces which are known as Van der Waals. These are forces that hold molecules together and are essential for biology, chemistry and physics. Even though the discovery is considered to be a key breakthrough, researchers have no idea how to stop the asteroid at this time in history.
The asteroid’s projectory was determined by scientists located at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Prior data has revealed that asteroids are loose mounds of debris that are held together by friction and gravity. This rock, which has been named 1950 DA, is an asteroid which is two-thirds of a mile in length. It is moving about nine miles per second in relation to the Earth and it rotates once around every two hours.
At this rate, the asteroid should be showing signs of breaking apart and sooner or later, but so far it has not done that. In fact, the spin is so fast at its equator, scientists believe that 1950 DA is successfully experiencing negative gravity. The existence of cohesive forces has been forecast in small asteroids, but there has never been conclusive proof seen before.
Researchers think Asteroid 1950 DA will fly so near to the Earth it could smash into the Atlantic Ocean at nearly 40,000 miles per hour. It has been estimated that if 1950 DA was to strike the planet, it would do so with a force of nearly 45,000 mega-tons of TNT. Even though the chance of an impact is believed to only be about 0.3 percent, this signifies a risk that is nearly 50 percent better than impacts from other asteroids.
Ben Rozitis, Joshua Emery and Eric MacLennan are all scientists at Department of Planetary Sciences at UT and have been trying to figure out why the rock has not come apart yet. They think the cohesive forces of the asteroid are definitely what is keeping it together. Their findings were printed up in the most edition of the science journal Nature.
There has been a high level of interest turned toward into attempting to figure out how to handle the possible hazards of an asteroid impact after the Feb. 2013 asteroid impact in Russia, explained Professor Rozitis.
Over the time scale of Earth’s past, asteroids around this size and bigger have sporadically slammed into the planet. It is believed that the so-called K/T Impact ended the period of the dinosaurs over 65 million years ago.
Asteroid 1950 DA was first discovered back on Feb. 23, 1950. It was witnessed for just over 15 days and faded from view for a 50 year span, then it was seen again on Dec. 31, 2000 and it was recognized as being 1950 DA.
That sighting on New Year’s Eve happened to be exactly 200 years to the night of the discovery of the first asteroid, Ceres, not to mention the actual beginning of the 21st Century.
However researchers are far from being worried. They believe that if it is ever decided that the space rock should be diverted, having these hundreds of years of warning will permit for some sort of discovery which will allow for the asteroid to be directed away from Earth.
Researchers believe the date of March 16, 2880 could be one of Earth’s possible obliteration because that day Asteroid 1950 DA has a chance of hitting the world.
By Kimberly Ruble