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Asteroid Will Make Close Fly by of Earth on Friday the 13th

NASA has been monitoring an asteroid which maintains an orbit around various bodies in the solar system and consistently passes through Earth’s orbit with the sun. 13 near-Earth objects in total are expected to fly past Earth in December of this year.

Earth is set to have a close encounter with an enormous asteroid which is set to fly nearby Earth on Friday at a speed of almost 18,000 miles an hour (more than 28,000 km/h), according to NASA.

The upcoming pass-by is estimated to happen on 8:25 am on 13 December, the unlucky Friday the 13th. The asteroid’s orbit diagram indicates that the near-Earth approach will follow the rock’s intersection with Earth’s orbit.

According to the space agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid has an Earth-crossing orbit with the sun and will not approach from a diagonal or perpendicular direction and instead will flyby perpendicular to earth.

It is expected to pass by earth at a shockingly close 0.03033 astronomical units, around 1.9 million miles (more than 3mn km) away.

NASA has dubbed the asteroid 2019 XO1 and estimate that it is around 243-feet wide, about the width of a Boeing 747 plane.

According to CNEOS, 2019 XO1 is classified as an Aten asteroid, meaning that its orbit circulates around a number of celestial bodies in the solar system including the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Earth.

The asteroid has a tendency to intersect its orbit with Earth’s, typically when it is furthest away from the sun.

3 December marked the first time 2019 XO1 was identified in its frequent encroachment on Earth. It also comes close to Mercury and Venus but, unlike its proximity with Earth, it does not cross the paths of the two other planets.

The body first came near Earth on 17 November 2013, missing the planet by 0.09488 astronomical units, around 8.8 million miles.

Following its passing on Friday the 13th, the asteroid will not come back from Earth’s outcrop of the solar system until December 22, 2022, where it will creep as close as 0.09534 astronomical units, up to 8.9 million miles (more than 14Mn km) away.

Sputniknews
Image credit: © CCO

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Planet Earth

Preschooler raised 200 thousand dollars to save animals in Australia

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Owen Collie is only 6 years old, he lives with his parents in Massachusetts, USA. While in kindergarten, he found out about Australia’s terrible fires causing millions of animals to die. The boy felt sorry for the koalas, kangaroos, dingo dogs and other animals of this continent, so sorry that he asked his mother how can these poor animals be helped? 

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But his mother did not know the answer, although, after thinking, she offered her son a very interesting project to save Australia’s nature. They began to sculpt clay koalas and send souvenirs to anyone who wants to financially help animals in Australia. To do this, it’s enough to buy a clay figure for $ 50, that is, to donate such an amount to a noble cause.

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The project went online and was successful, probably, first of all, thanks to the boy’s craving to help the poor animals. Now Owen masters one clay figure in 4 minutes, it takes about 20 minutes to roast it in a special furnace, and then these small souvenirs are sent by mail to everyone who has expressed a desire to participate in this amazing project.

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And there were a lot of people willing to give. In the first week only, the Collie family raised 200 thousand dollars to save the nature of Australia. And this project is ongoing, a project initiated by the most ordinary kid from the USA. Or maybe this kind boy is not quite ordinary, do you think?

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Planet Earth

New unknown viruses have appeared on a Tibet glacier

Unknown viruses from Earth’s ancient past have been found in the Tibetan glacier, which poses a risk if these viruses reach the atmosphere.

As the climate of our planet seems to be getting warmer, melting glaciers can lead to the appearance of previously unknown pathogens.

These agents remain inactive in the ice but do not die, scientists warn.

After examining a couple of ice cores extracted from an ancient glacier located in the Tibetan Plateu, a team of US scientists discovered about 33 viral populations.

And of those 33, 28 of them had never been seen before, according to Live Science.

The researchers warned that as glaciers around the world decrease, this trend could lead to the loss of such “microbial and viral archives” that offer a unique insight into the “climatic regimes” passed from Earth.

“However, in the worst case, this melting of ice could release pathogens into the environment,” they say.

The study of the viruses in question is complicated by the fact that the two ice cores, originally extracted in 1992 and 2015, can easily become contaminated with bacteria.

“This study establishes ultra-clean microbial and viral sampling procedures for glacier ice, which complements the previous decontamination methods on silica and expands, for the first time, clean procedures to viruses,” the scientists wrote.

“The application of these methods to glacier ice confirmed previous common microbiological findings for a new ice core climate record.”

“It provides a first window to viral genomes and their glacial ice ecology across two time horizons, and emphasizes their likely impact on abundant microbial groups.”

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Planet Earth

ESA launches space mission to measure Earth’s climate change

The European Space Agency (ESA) approved a new mission that aims to measure the climate changes that are happening on Earth. Its main objective will be to provide an accurate measure of the light reflected on Earth.

ESA launches space mission to measure Earth's climate change
Art: The TRUTHS satellite will work with other satellites to calibrate and validate observations. UKSA / NPL

Known as Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio-Studies (TRUTHS), the mission was approved by ESA after a meeting with scientists and engineers from its member states.

The scientific aspect of the mission will be addressed by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of Great Britain, which plans to equip the TRUTHS satellite with an instrument known as a cryogenic radiometer. This device is used to accurately measure the intensity of a light source.

Using this instrument in conjunction with a hyperspectral camera, TRUTHS will measure how much light is being reflected on the Earth’s surface. This includes the planet’s oceans, deserts, snow fields and forests.

As the data that will be collected by TRUTHS will be the first of its kind, it will serve as a standard for Earth’s reflectivity. They can be used and compared with new data that will be collected in future missions 10 to 15 years from now.

According to the scientists, the information that will be collected by the TRUTHS satellite may help policy makers to approve plans and regulations aimed at environmental issues.

By having a clear idea of ​​the amount of light reflected on Earth, scientists will be able to monitor the planet’s climate fingerprint. Specifically, they will be able to measure the heat radiating from the planet. Future missions can use TRUTH data to check changes in Earth’s climate.

Professor Nigel Fox of the NPL said in a statement, according to BBC:

In doing so, we will be able to detect subtle changes much sooner than with our current observation system.

This will allow us to restrict and test climate forecasting models. Therefore, we will know earlier if the predicted temperatures that the models are giving us are consistent or not with the observations.

The TRUTHS mission does not yet have an exact launch date, but officials from ESA member states plan to deploy it sometime in 2026.

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