It turns out, Jan. 13, astronomers had almost raised a panic about the coming of Armageddon. The fact that on January 13, some scientists believed that the 30-meter object, and later was named 2004 AS1, would the probability of one to four crash into the Earth in 36 hours. If that happened, the loss would be huge, but because the researchers were going to call President Bush — but received new data showed that there was no danger. Now, security experts finally puzzled problem: what should be the procedure of raising the alarm in such cases.
At that time, the team of U.S. President adds the finishing touch to the speech that Bush was to deliver the next day at NASA Headquarters (this is the same speech in which he announced his intention to send a spacecraft with humans on the moon and Mars). But this speech could be quite different — if only took one phone call, Bush could start with a warning of bearing asteroid. By the time the president of the United States could not tell the exact place of the fall of the celestial body — limiting it only to the fact that it will be somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. And while pronouncing the speech experts would continue to study celestial stone radar, trying to get more information about his path.
This asteroid was quite small — it did not represent a threat to all living things, but nonetheless exploded in the atmosphere, it would have caused enormous damage to the planet. In this case, the human toll could be much higher than in the September 11 attacks.
The new celestial body was seen double optical telescope Linear Automated Sky Survey (New Mexico, USA). The Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts — a specialized center for such observations — published details of his own observations on your website, demanding the attention of other experts, one of whom noticed something unusual. It was expected that the facility will be up to 40 times brighter than the next day — which would be a sign that the stone is rapidly approaching the Earth. Given that astronomers were the results of only four observations, the level of uncertainty was very high. This object could be on one of the many orbits, most of which do not bear any threat to Earth. What to do? To tell the world about a possible (though uncertain) threat or wait for more information? The situation is even more tense when Steven Chesley of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has analyzed the data collected and reported about a 25% probability of an asteroid collision with Earth.
Then Clark Chapman and David Morrison, Chairman of the Working Group on Near-Earth Objects of the International Astronomical Union, gathered to call the White House. Many astronomers believe that the move would be premature, but they were convinced that he was right.
Fortunately for all, soon after the ill-fated letter Chesley, an amateur astronomer took a picture of a clear night sky. This image was very important — if 2004 AS1 really heading toward Earth, it would be visible in this photo. His absence meant that the stone will fly past. Sam Chapman in his speech said that if this shot was not, he would still raised the alarm.
Many astronomers agree that such a hoax would discredit their profession. They call for a more careful study of these warnings, and less emotional when repeating the situation.
And what about the 2004 AS1? Most interesting is that it was much more than scientists had thought — about 500 meters in diameter. In the end, he passed by Earth at a distance of 12 million miles — a 32 distance from the earth to the moon — not causing us any harm.
Battery News, 26.02.2004 9:29