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Consciousness is not a phenomenon of the observable universe. It is that which makes the universe observable. Consciousness is the physical manifestation of God within us!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Asteroid whizzed by us at the speed of smell!

Dear Readers:

Image result for comet clipartWe just got word that last Saturday that astronomers discovered a new asteroid. This would not normally be news to many of us except for the fact that it just missed our planet by a few thousand miles, which in astronomical terms is about the same as a close haircut!

Yup, we discovered it as it went whizzing by us!

So how did 2016 QA2 sneak up on us like that? For this particular asteroid, the answer seems to be that it has a very peculiar orbit. It's highly elliptical, which means it can usually be found hanging out by either Mars or Venus, but rarely ends up near Earth.

But another, more worrying reason is that there aren't a lot of people looking for potentially dangerous asteroids. While Congress has tasked NASA with finding 90 percent of asteroids 450 feet or larger by 2020, the agency is nowhere close to that goal. Funding for asteroid detection is very low, and most telescopes that could detect asteroids of this size won't come online for a few more years.

Image result for comet clipartAnd even if NASA was on track to meet that goal, they still would have missed 2016 QA2, which is only about 50-100 feet. Asteroids of this size are so small that there's almost nothing we can do to detect them. And they can still cause a lot of damage. The Chelyabinsk asteroid, which exploded over Russia in 2013, damaged multiple buildings and injured over 1500 people. That asteroid was only about 55 feet wide.

As far as asteroids go, we've been pretty lucky. But unless we seriously ramp up our asteroid detection capabilities, it's only a matter of time before something much worse happens.

Everybody look up and wave as it goes by folks!

 MEANWHILE: Ya might have wondered at some time in the past just what a comet or asteroid smells like:

Rotten eggs, cat urine, bitter almonds—that’s the delightful elixir of aromas comprising the BO of one comet 67P, also known as Rosetta’s comet. In a heartrendingly nerdy yet mildly alarming development, members of the Rosetta mission team have commissioned scent firm The Aroma Company to turn it into a perfume.

Yes, you heard that correctly. The deathly stank of comet 67P, inspired by the hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide Rosetta’s Philae lander sniffed before swiftly dying on the space rock’s surface (and now we know why) is finally an eau de toilette. Colin Snodgrass, the scientist behind the harebrained scheme, plans to impregnate postcards with the scent and ship them to the far corners of the Earth so that all humans can begin to appreciate just how terrible their solar system smells.

A reporter at New Scientist recently got an exclusive whiff of comet 67P. He describes it as “sharp” and “unpleasant,” likening it to a “physical presence” inside his skull. The Rosetta mission team, meanwhile, is a bit fonder of the concoction, comparing it to the scent of a lily. Gizmodo can neither confirm nor deny rumors that said lily grew out of a dumpster full of used diapers.

If these conflicting descriptions are unsatisfactory, you can discover what Rosetta reeks of firsthand by picking up a free sample of the perfume at the Royal Society exhibition in London this summer or by getting your hands on one of those postcards. I, for one, am going to hold out for eau de Uranus.