Top Stories

Asteroid rushes close to Earth on full moon

Scientists predict that asteroid 1996 VB3 will pass close to Earth at a speed of 54,000 km / h.

Illustration of an asteroid moving close to Earth. Photo: Stephane Masclaux

1996 VB3, an asteroid about 220 m in diameter, will approach Earth on October 20, the same day of the full moon, Newsweek reported on October 18. The closest distance between this object and the Earth is 3.2 million km, nearly 9 times the distance between the Earth – Moon.

1996 VB3 will move at a speed of 54,000 km / h when flying over the blue planet, about 20 times faster than fighters and 17 times faster than bullets fired from rifles.

This is not the only asteroid approaching Earth in the coming days. According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Objects, asteroid 2017 SJ20 will arrive 8 million kilometers from Earth on October 25. It is slightly smaller in diameter than 1996 VB3, only about 200 m. On November 2, an asteroid 2017 TS3 with the same size as 1996 VB3 will also “visit” Earth. However, it moves much slower, about 3,600 km/h.

The diameters of the asteroids are only approximate estimates, meaning some asteroids may be as small as half that. Scientists calculate their size based on albedo. It is visible light from the Sun reflected off the surface of an asteroid. This method can sometimes miscalculate because it depends heavily on the reflectivity of the asteroid’s surface.

The albedo of an asteroid depends not only on its size but also on its composition and density. It can also provide clues about color. For example, a “chalk” asteroid with sparse surface matter might look larger than it really is. On the other hand, asteroids with a charcoal-like surface will reflect less light, making the estimated size smaller.

This led scientists to propose a new way to calculate the size. Using infrared light, they were able to detect heat radiating from an asteroid. This may be a better indication of size than visible light. Large objects appear brighter in infrared light, this measurement is also unaffected by albedo. Combining the two methods can help calculate the most accurate asteroid size.

Thu Thao (Follow Newsweek)


Top Stories

The 90-year-old actor flew into space

AmericaWilliam Shatner, actor in the Star Trek series, became the oldest person to fly into space, while making a journey on Jeff Bezos’ ship.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Shatner, a 90-year-old Canadian actor, in tears after finishing an 11-minute flight to the edge of space and back to the Texas desert, USA on October 13.

The New Shepard rocket, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin, took off at 9:49 a.m. (Hanoi time), after two delays. Blue Origin director Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-director Chris Boshuizen and Medidata Solutions background researcher Glen de Vries were also aboard the New Shepard passenger cabin.

Jeff Bezos was on hand to greet the crew members upon their return, with applause and celebratory champagne.

William Shatner (left) burst into tears next to billionaire Jeff Bezos after landing in the desert in Texas, USA on October 13. Photo: Blue Origin.

The crew spent several minutes in zero gravity while ascending to an altitude of 106 km, 6 km above the internationally recognized Karman space boundary line.

Like about 600 astronauts before him, Shatner was amazed at the experience of zero gravity and the beautiful Earth as seen from space.

“What you gave me was the most impressive experience I could imagine. I was really moved by what happened,” Shatner told Bezos.

In July, Blue Origin had its first passenger flight into space with the participation of billionaire Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, pilot Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old passenger from the Netherlands. youngest space tourism.

William Shatner is best known for his role as Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the sci-fi series Star Trek. The intergalactic voyages of the USS Enterprise drew Americans’ attention to space, as the United States launched its space program.

Thanh Tam (Follow AFP)