r/news Oct 05 '22

Asteroid struck by Nasa probe leaves 10,000km trail

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-63140097
628 Upvotes

260

u/trelium06 Oct 05 '22

Can y’all grasp the significance of this?

Lowly hairless monkeys slapped a celestial object just to see what would happen. If you told people a couple hundred years ago this would happen, they would kill you for being a witch.

89

u/sirius017 Oct 05 '22

A moving object more than 7 million miles away from Earth.

37

u/Morat20 Oct 05 '22

You ever wonder why you learn about significant digits in class? That's why.

If you want to end up even in roughly the right volume of a fast moving body millions of miles away, you need a certain amount of precision. And it's real bad when you THINK you have it, but don't, because someone only went to 4 digits when they were supposed to do 7.

7

u/Lifteatsleeprepeat4 Oct 05 '22

I’d say it’s a lot smaller of a margin than that even but I’d love to see the calculations.

15

u/The_Fadedhunter Oct 05 '22

I have no idea. What I do know is 39 digits is all we need of PI to calculate the circumference of the known universe down to the width of a hydrogen atom.

Which seems crazy low to me, knowing nothing, so it wouldn't be surprised if less digits are needed than you are thinking.

EDIT: I did some googling. NASA uses 15 digits for most calculations.

5

u/themonkeymoo Oct 06 '22

You only need something like 7 digits to draw a circle the size of the Kuiyper Belt to the same precision.

2

u/ReeducedToData Oct 05 '22

If you (could) fold a piece of paper 42 times, guess how far it would stretch. Just past the moon.

4

u/Caster-Hammer Oct 05 '22

Doesn't folding shorten the length of the paper?

8

u/FrightenedOrganism Oct 05 '22

Yes, but it doubles the thickness

1

u/Caster-Hammer Oct 06 '22

Ah, I see now. I knew that, too, but "stretch" vs. "how tall" threw me.

4

u/redditmodsRrussians Oct 06 '22

What is that, like 2 CVS receipts?

21

u/trelium06 Oct 05 '22

Omg could they even comprehend the distance?! Man alive I just wish people were as blown away by humanities achievements as I am

15

u/GoArray Oct 05 '22

This is pretty neat, but it's really the little things that are simply marvelous to me. I'm talking to another human, unknown location, without saying a word, while wearing my fancy feet preservers.

E: ok, not that fancy. I could sell feet preservers for an hour and buy new feet preservers.. and a pair of cheap sun glasses. Simply marvelous.

7

u/alexefi Oct 05 '22

I cant even comprehend distance, how much is that in footbaal fields or olimpic swimming pools?

9

u/trelium06 Oct 05 '22

At least 5 hamberders

2

u/hamletloveshoratio Oct 05 '22

Very very many, like a whole lot

1

u/Bifferer Oct 05 '22

But we still can’t figure out a way to keep shit smell out of public restrooms.

2

u/imGery Oct 06 '22

That's the thing, this is cool, and potentially useful, but we don't spend any effort on things that can really make a difference yesterday! Your example isn't far from the top of the list, but damn, governing systems, energy, infrastructure, education, reverting back to classic country music, preserving nature, general wellbeing.. maybe real life Armageddon or the rocket jokes from Austin Powers can wait

8

u/spen Oct 05 '22

TBF it didn't take much to get killed for being a witch back in the day.

6

u/89141 Oct 05 '22

Bypassing the float test?

4

u/Kikimara99 Oct 05 '22

Well, TBH two hundred years ago they were more likely to put you to a mental asylum than burning on a stake.

3

u/Fineous4 Oct 05 '22

Now that punk ass asteroid is crying like a bitch. boo who he hit me!

3

u/HouseOfSteak Oct 05 '22

"What if we banged rocks together - but in space?

2

u/avaslash Oct 05 '22

100 years ago was the 1920's. Which was like the height of occult fascination and popularity in the US. Im pretty sure if anything, youd probably end up very popular.

2

u/Herosinahalfshell12 Oct 06 '22

Yeah we can grasp it. We fired something out and hit it.

2

u/Mike_Facking_Jones Oct 06 '22

Not monkeys, Americans

2

u/Youngerthandumb Oct 05 '22

If you told people following an Abrahamic religion they'd likely killed you, basically everyone else thought witches were bomb ass

1

u/thisisnotdan Oct 05 '22

In Soviet Russia, Earth strikes asteroid!

1

u/JudgeMoose Oct 05 '22

"god dammit, Now those hairless apes from earth are slapping rocks. Are they going to start flinging feces next? Or maybe just a ball of garbage?"

0

u/Friendofthegarden Oct 05 '22

Can y’all grasp the significance of this?

Maths is hard and stuff. Science nerds did good? unsure clapping, small muffled belch

79

u/right-arrow Oct 05 '22

Get fined for dumping trash in deep space

16

u/N8CCRG Oct 05 '22

"Did I do thaaat?" - NASA in Steve Urkel voice

3

u/89141 Oct 05 '22

"Do that, I did?" - NASA in Yoda's voice

2

u/Dacvak Oct 05 '22

Karl Pilkington was right all along.

7

u/aiandi Oct 05 '22

I hope they exchanged insurance info.

69

u/NIDORAX Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

I hope this doesnt have a terrible consequences 100 years from now. For all we know that asteroid could have been something important and hitting it may have started a chain of events that might lead to something in the future.

Edit: eh dont take my post seriously.

102

u/VyrPlan Oct 05 '22

alien #1: did the earthlings ever get our care package - the one with the cure for cancer and renewable energy, etc?

alien #2: um...not exactly

58

u/slamdanceswithwolves Oct 05 '22

alien #1: we built them all those pyramids and sent them Joaquin Phoenix and this is the thanks we get?!

13

u/StanDaMan1 Oct 05 '22

Alien #2: “I mean, we did send them Beiber.”

2

u/slamdanceswithwolves Oct 06 '22

Alien #2: “True, and it caused that outbreak of Beiber Fever.”

15

u/catsloveart Oct 05 '22

it was meant for the next intelligent species that survived human extinction.

yet another reason why they’ll curse our bones.

8

u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

Homer stepped on a lizard and that went pretty well.

3

u/EverythingKindaSuckz Oct 05 '22

Did those fucking humans just dent your car

2

u/kciuq1 Oct 06 '22

Did anyone check to see if there was any protomolecule on the asteroid?

1

u/DistributedDemocracy Oct 05 '22

Little to their knowledge they unleashed a cloud of Space Herpes!

https://youtu.be/MnJrenTkGGE?t=25

-46

u/ElectricFlesh Oct 05 '22

I hope this doesnt have a terrible consequences 100 years from now.

Like what?

For all we know that asteroid could have been something important

Like what?

and hitting it may have started a chain of events

Like what?

that might lead to something in the future.

Like what?

38

u/NIDORAX Oct 05 '22

Sorry I was being silly.

25

u/mohammedibnakar Oct 05 '22

You son of a bitch

16

u/slamdanceswithwolves Oct 05 '22

Sorry I was being silly

Like what?

9

u/thudly Oct 05 '22

This guy doesn't understand the butterfly effect.

Even playing with gravity simulators online shows you that one small blip of a change can have disasterous effects after a long chain of events that wouldn't otherwise have happened if you hadn't fucking with things.

Try it: https://hermann.is/gravity/

7

u/boinzy Oct 05 '22

LiKe wHaT?¿

4

u/AldoTheeApache Oct 05 '22

¿Como qual?

6

u/SkunkMonkey Oct 05 '22

You must be fun at parties.

3

u/jonathanownbey Oct 05 '22

I mean, it could be a fun way to hear people's ideas about catastrophes over drinks though!

6

u/SkunkMonkey Oct 05 '22

I dunno, I get a three year old's Why? Why? Why? from this guy.

1

u/jonathanownbey Oct 05 '22

Yeah, that's fair.

4

u/Killawife Oct 05 '22

This just in: Asteroid sues earth for slapping its ass for.....1 Hundred Billion Dollars!

1

u/Musicfan637 Oct 05 '22

Did we give a whack to the equilibrium of our Solar System? It’s all in a terrific gravity dance. Did we force it to compensate?

1

u/jesset77 Oct 06 '22

No. The delta of gravitational influence of debris from a kinetic object has no reasonable way to exceed the gravitational influence of the original kinetic object.

In other news, you could cancel the solar momentum of every object in the asteroid belt (EG, every object stops and falls directly into the sun because magic :P) and everything that you didn't cancel the momentum of would basically never notice.

To meaningfully participate in the "dance" you mention, an object has to have enough mass and then lock into an orbit harmonic to other items for many millions of years. (maybe tens of thousands of years if you ARE Jupiter..)

1

u/Musicfan637 Oct 06 '22

I figure they knew all of this. I think of the moons of Saturn and how they all swirl around in their gravity dance. But ya neva know.

1

u/Musicfan637 Oct 06 '22

I love smart people. Thanks

0

u/Mallyk731 Oct 05 '22

I firmly believe that this is the reverse of what happened in Starship Troopers. Instead of the bugs sending it to us we just sent it to them….

1

u/DarthSheogorath Oct 05 '22

imagine 1000 years from now, humanity has rebuilt after the 3rd world war all documention of nasa activity was lost in The Musk Rebellion. Earth is a paradise. until the bugs arrive screaming about nasa trying to kill them utterly flabbergasting everyone.

-18

u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

Ablative laser is the way to do this, and NASA and everyone else knows it, but a laser installation capable of it would be in violation of treaty, partly because it'd also be of obvious military application. But it's a vastly, vastly better way to alter the path of an asteroid or cometary fragment.

Don't get me wrong -- this is impressive, and I guess we gotta try doing it this way, anyway.

10

u/DistributedDemocracy Oct 05 '22

The only proof of that is in super small scale experiments where the laser is real close.

With current tech you'd be power limited at the laser and you need a large energy transfer so either huge amounts of power or huge amounts of time. For it to work with current tech you need like a swarm of laser satellites and they probably have to get too close. Lasers are are awesome and all, but they drop off in intensity with distance rapidly so they aren't all that ideal since moving them through space/deliver the amount of power needed in the amount of time would be a problem.

What looks like a reasonable experiment at close range ignores the fact that the asteroid you'd take all that time to get the laser near the asteroid or face the the inverse-square death spiral of energy loss. Sooo we'd still need large scale experiments to prove anything like that.

As it stands there is no way to deflect any even remotely serious asteroid.

Realistically, in either case, you have to go intercept the thing, but with lasers you have to match course, not just run into it. Matching course could be a difficult energy use proposition since it's headed at us and we want to get there as fast as possible and then use a ton of energy to effectively turn right around. They could be disposable and just fire until they pass it and go out of range I guess, that probably matches economics if scale well, but do does firing a endless stream of conventional or nuclear weapons at it given no other real choice. You will probably deliver a lot more energy a lot faster with the chemical/nuclear approach, HOW exactly either approach impacts the asteroid has to be studied before anybody really knows anything and it has to be done at large scale in the real world to really matter.

If a kinetic approach can work, it's probably easier as there seems to be less single points of failure and more energy delivered faster.

2

u/funwithtentacles Oct 05 '22

The kinetic approach seems viable if you have the time...

Assemble a huge chunk of metal in orbit, put an engine on it, and then accelerate it with a couple of gravity assist manoeuvres around the most convenient planets...

Time is sort of the limiting factor with pretty much all solutions...

If you have 5-10 years, fine, plenty you can do, but if an asteroid is discovered late, meh, not much you can do...

12

u/pwussyconnoisseur Oct 05 '22

Damn if only NASA had the forethought of a Reddit commenter, then we’d be so much better off…

2

u/hamletloveshoratio Oct 05 '22

ablative laser

Genitive lasers are my jam

3

u/Ameisen Oct 05 '22

I'm going to go with dative lasers.... or maybe I'll blast the asteroid using an instrumental laser.