Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Asteroid 2007 VK184 Eliminated as Impact Risk to Earth
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 04, 2014

Orbital plot showing the orbit of asteroid 2007 VK184.

Recent observations have removed from NASA's asteroid impact hazard list the near-Earth object (NEO) known to pose the most significant risk of Earth impact over the next 100 years.

2007 VK184, an asteroid estimated to be roughly 130 meters in size, has been on NASA's Impact Risk Page maintained by the NEO Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for several years, with an estimated 1-in-1800 chance of impacting Earth in June 2048. This predicted risk translates to a rating of 1 on the 10-point Torino Impact Hazard Scale. In recent months, 2007 VK184 has been the only known NEO with a non-zero Torino Scale rating.

2007 VK184 was discovered in November 2007 by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) at the University of Arizona and tracked by the CSS and other stations for two months before moving beyond view of ground based telescopes in January 2008.

But in the early morning hours of March 26 and 27, 2014, Dr. David Tholen of the University of Hawaii sighted 2007 VK184 once again. Using the 3.6-meter-diameter Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope at the Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawaii, he was able to detect and track the asteroid. Because it had not been observed for almost six years, its predicted position was only approximate.

Nonetheless, Dr. Tholen was able to find it within the predicted search region, which is called a "recovery." He measured the asteroid's position and movement relative to the background of stars, and forwarded his tracking data to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the central node for the global NEO observer community.

Dr. Tholen said, "Although the asteroid will be closer to Earth and brighter in May, I made the recovery attempt in March because I didn't want the position uncertainty to grow so much that it would force a time-consuming search of much more of the sky.

"The trade-off was increased exposure time to detect such a faint, distant object. Greater atmospheric turbulence on March 26 blurred the images of the asteroid enough to make the detection questionable, but the March 27 images were much better and confirmed the recovery."

The "Sentry" asteroid monitoring system at JPL automatically retrieved the new observations of 2007 VK184 from the MPC database, updated the orbit for the object, and computed a new impact hazard assessment.

This new work shows that 2007 VK184 will pass no closer than 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) from the Earth in June 2048, with no closer encounters predicted for the foreseeable future. The NEO Program Office removed 2007 VK184 from the Impact Risk Page about three hours after receiving Dr. Tholen's observations from the MPC.

"While these new observations of 2007 VK184 were challenging for Dave Tholen to obtain, they were reported quickly, and the global, distributed NEO impact hazard monitoring system worked smoothly to provide the all-clear for this object," said Dr. Steven Chesley of the NEO Program Office at JPL.

NASA's NEO Program supports and monitors this process at every stage. The Program funds and oversees the efforts of the CSS, the JPL NEO Program Office, the MPC, and Dr. Tholen.

JPL's Sentry is an automated monitoring system that continually scans the most current catalog of known asteroids and predicts potential hazards of impacts with Earth over the next 100 years. As additional observations become available, objects will be removed from Sentry's Impact Risk Page when sufficient data become available to eliminate any potential for impact in the projected future.

According to the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, developed and used by NEO observers to assess potential impact risks, a rating of 1 indicates a predicted event that "merits careful monitoring," and a rating of zero indicates the predicted event has "no likely consequences."

Objects typically appear on the Sentry Impact Risk Page because a limited number of available observations may indicate a potential hazard of impact with Earth but do not provide astronomers enough information to precisely define their orbital movements.

Whenever a newly discovered NEO is posted on the Sentry Impact Risk Page, the most likely outcome is that the object will eventually be removed as new observations become available, the object's orbit is more precisely known, and its future motion is more tightly constrained.

NASA's NEO Program Office at JPL, which operates Sentry, receives asteroid observations and orbit predictions daily from the MPC. Once an asteroid is classified as a near-Earth object, the Sentry system automatically calculates orbit updates for it as new data become available.

NASA's Near-Earth Object Observation (NEOO) Program, located in the Planetary Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., is responsible for finding, tracking, and characterizing near-Earth objects (NEOs) - asteroids and comets whose orbits periodically bring them close to Earth. The NEOO Program sponsors internal NASA and external research projects. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, manages a NEO Program Office for the Headquarters' NEOO Program and conducts a number of NASA-sponsored NEO projects.

"Asteroid 2007 VK184 is another case study on how our system works," said Lindley Johnson, NASA's NEO Programs Executive at NASA Headquarters. "We find them, track them, learn as much as we can about those found to be of special interest - an impact hazard or a space mission destination - and we predict and monitor their movement in the inner solar system until we know they are of no more concern."

In conducting its work, the NEOO Program collaborates with other U.S. government agencies, other national and international agencies, and professional and amateur astronomers around the world.

For example, NASA works closely with the Federal Emergency Management Administration and other federal government departments and agencies on NEO impact warning, mitigation and response planning. The Program is responsible for facilitating communications between the astronomical community, the federal government and the public should any impact threat by an NEO be discovered.


Related Links
NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office
Asteroid and Comet Impact Danger To Earth - News and Science

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Impacting the Hadean Earth
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Feb 25, 2014
Astrobiologists supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute have assessed the effects of impacts on the crust of the early Earth. The research could help determine whether or not evidence of such violent events in our planet's early history could still be found in the geological record. During the first billion years after its formation, the inner solar system was crowded with debris. Thi ... read more

Misleading mineral may have resulted in overestimate of water in moon

Scientists date Moon at 4.470 billion years

Unique camera from NASA's moon missions sold at auction

Expeditions to the Moon: beware of meteorites

The Opposition of Mars

Health risks of Mars mission would exceed NASA limits

Mars and Earth move closer together this month

Mars yard ready for Red Planet rover

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete Space System Milestones

NASA suspends Russia ties, except on space station

China, Asia-Pacific, will power world tourism: survey

NASA Marks Major Milestone for Spaceport of the Future

China launches experimental satellite

Tiangong's New Mission

"Space Odyssey": China's aspiration in future space exploration

China to launch first "space shuttle bus" this year

Soyuz Docking Delayed Till Thursday as Station Crew Adjusts Schedule

US, Russian astronauts take new trajectory to dock the ISS

Software glitch most probable cause of Soyuz TMA-12 taking two day approach

Russian spacecraft brings three-man crew to ISS after two-day delay

Soyuz ready for Sentinel-1A satellite launch

Boeing wins contract to design DARPA Airborne Satellite Launch

EUTELSAT 3B Mission Status Update

Arianespace's seventh Soyuz mission from French Guiana is readied for liftoff next week

Lick's Automated Planet Finder: First robotic telescope for planet hunters

Space Sunflower May Help Snap Pictures of Planets

NRL Researchers Detect Water Around a Hot Jupiter

UK joins the planet hunt with Europe's PLATO mission

NASA Awards Digital Processor Assembly Contract for LCRD Flight Payload

Space Observation Optics Cover from IR to X-ray Wavelengths

The Space Debris Radar Developed By Indra Passes ESA Tests

World's most powerful VHF radar to be overhauled in Russia

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.