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Israelis are on the "hunt" for the threatening asteroids

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Israel joins the global "hunt" for asteroids, lumps of rock in space, that threaten to hit the Earth.

The Israeli scientists will be integrated into the observations made in different parts of the world from tracking the movement of asteroids whose trajectory brings them from the depths of space, to the point of danger of collision with the Earth. An international umbrella organization of various research bodies, coordinates this activity, which is funded by NASA.

The director of Tel Aviv University's Mitzvah Kochabim in Mitzpe Ramon, Dr. Noah Brosh, stated that Israel's joining this special mission will deepen local research on asteroids.
Today, there is no known asteroid whose orbit really endangers the Earth. From time to time such blocks of rock emerge from the depths of space and if they deviate from their normal course, they may cause damage. A block of rock several hundred meters long could destroy a medium-sized city. A huge asteroid that hit the earth 65 million years ago wiped out the dinosaurs and caused extreme climate change in the world. A small asteroid that hit in 1908 in the Siberian region destroyed forests there in an area of ​​1000 square kilometers.

A study published last month in the USA corrected a previous prediction that an asteroid with dimensions of at least 50 meters, which could cause a widespread catastrophe, reaches the earth with a frequency of one in a thousand years, and not with a higher frequency, as was believed until now.

And there are also those looking for asteroids in unexpected places. In the Astronomy magazine of the Israeli Astronomical Society that came out these days (Winter 2002), Yehuda Sverdarmish reveals that Ilan Manolis, who is responsible for the field of NEO near-Earth asteroids that may endanger humanity. Recently he contacted Avishai Gal-Yam, who is doing his doctorate on glicoses. Manolis discovered that in many photographs of galaxies that Avishi took for his research purposes, asteroids appeared that "interfered" with the waves in the galaxy analyses, and he used to omit them. Manolis collected these photographs and dell from them about fifty asteroids, which were reported to the center that collects this data in the USA. Some of them are in registration procedures.


Earth's second moon


An asteroid moving in an orbit close to the Earth, will be made in about 600 years to our second moon

Dr. Noah Brosh

Some space bodies, which maintain a constant average distance from the sun, just like that of the Earth, probably deserve the nickname "brothers".

Recently it turned out that there are several such bodies. They were discovered in studies trying to locate Earth-threatening asteroids - that is, those that could one day collide with the Earth. In this group, several objects moving in the Earth's orbit around the Sun were marked. However, in some cases it turned out, after more in-depth research, that these were satellites that were launched into space a few years ago, ended their lives and became solar satellites. Their orbit is almost identical to that of the Earth.

But that in the process we will also discover at least one natural body, moving almost in the orbit of the Earth itself, and which will in about 600 years, become (for a while only) our second moon. This celestial body was cataloged as 2002AA29 and was only a few hundred meters across.

The special orbit of the tiny body is determined due to the phenomenon of its resonance with the Earth: Monday

The bodies complete the sun's coffee, within one year. The effect of the Earth's gravity on this tiny asteroid causes, every time the bodies meet, a reversal in the direction of movement of 2002AA29. Each such orbit, lasting one year, is loopy - in a larger, horseshoe-like orbit, in a system where the Sun and the Earth are stationary. It is understood that such a unique system is not stationary: it moves around the sun at the rate of the Earth's orbital motion. It should be noted that there are other asteroids that make such a movement, a horseshoe, around the earth.

But what is special about 2002AA29 is that it occasionally becomes, for a while, a real moon. At these times, the movement of the asteroid is constantly limited to the relatively close environment of the earth - and it constitutes a real moon. Calculations made regarding the movement of the asteroid, show that it will hit our "moon", approximately in the year 2600 but only for about 50 years.

This is not the first time that this asteroid has received the "status" of a moon of the Earth. Between the years 550 and 600 AD it was such a moon and then "ran away" to it, back to its normal orbit far away from us.

Some scientists propose to take advantage of the opportunity 2002AA29-S will become our moon to "lay hands" on its minerals. Others fear that the close proximity to the Earth poses a danger, that a collision of this asteroid with the Earth will occur. But it seems that it is possible to relax: the orbits of the two bodies around the sun form an angle of 10 degrees between them, so such a collision is unlikely.

The knowledge of cosmic collisions
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