Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Prepper Nation Alert: Another Near Earth Asteroid to Pass by TODAY - NASA's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle

Not Really Sure What's Going on.
Frankly this is like Riding a Bull as far as getting the most current info posted.

Here's what we have so far:
Asteroid nearly misses Earth soon to be followed by at least One More Today.

The new unmanned Spaceplane Boeing X-37 has made a Flight on a possible mission to do something or not.  No News on Mission Parameters yet, 17 minutes of Flight Blacked Out from Media Tuesday.

Another flight is planned for Today if it has not launched already.

The Boeing X-37 (also known as the X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle) is an American reusable unmanned spacecraft. It is boosted into space by a rocket, then re-enters Earth's atmosphere and lands as a spaceplane. The X-37 is operated by the United States Air Force for orbital spaceflight missions intended to demonstrate reusable space technologies.[3] It is a 120%-scaled derivative of the earlier Boeing X-40.[4]
The X-37 began as a NASA project in 1999, before being transferred to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2004. It conducted its first flight as a drop test on 7 April 2006, at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The spaceplane's first orbital mission, USA-212, was launched on 22 April 2010 using an Atlas V rocket. Its successful return to Earth on 3 December 2010 was the first test of the vehicle's heat shield and hypersonic aerodynamic handling. A second X-37 was launched on 5 March 2011, with the mission designation USA-226; it returned to Earth on 16 June 2012.[1] A third X-37 mission launched successfully on 11 December 2012.[5]

The new unmanned Spaceplane Boeing X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle - 788840 Northstar 100mm Maksutove Telescope (Google Affiliate Ad)

Check It:
 Asteroid passes inside moon's orbit, buzzes Earth - Secret spaceplane blasts off for mystery mission - Madtown Preppers -

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 12/11/2012

Newly discovered small asteroid just misses Earth; next up is much bigger 12/12/12 asteroid

Illustration of asteroid Toutatis nearing Earth. 

Toutatis is expected to pass within 4 million miles of Earth tomorrow (12/12/12). But another smaller asteroid passed much closer today. (E. De Jong and S. Suzuki, JPL, NASA) As if 12/12/12 wasn’t curious enough of a date already with the whole Mayan-doomsday-but-not-really thing, there’s also the dicey issue of tomorrow’s relatively close encounter with the huge (nearly three miles long) 4179 Toutatis asteroid, expected to pass within 4 million miles of Earth. As the author of this story puts it, “On the scale of the cosmos, that is a very close shave.”

But if you think that’s too close for comfort, how about an asteroid passing within just 140,000 miles (only 60% of the distance between the Earth and moon) of our planet? Guess what?... already happened earlier this morning.
Discovered only two days ago, XE54 came about as close to crashing into Earth as an asteroid can without actually doing so - close enough to be “eclipsed by Earth’s shadow, causing its shadow to ‘wink out’ for a short time,” according to Universe Today.
With a diameter of just 72-160 feet, XE54 is a far cry from the over six-mile wide asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs (and about 50% of all life’s species) 65 million years ago. But, while it’s possible an asteroid of this size would produce nothing more than a brilliant fireball as it disintegrated after entering the atmosphere, a direct hit by remaining rock chunks on a populated region could be disastrous.

Believe it or not, a surprise near miss of this sort is not especially unusual. In June 2011, an steroid estimated about 30 feet in size (“2011 MD”) passed by Earth and missed a direct hit by only 7,500 miles. An even closer encounter occurred earlier in 2011 when another small asteroid missed Earth by just 3,400 miles.

Asteroids coming this close cross through the zone of geosynchronous satellites (such as the GOES series). The chances of an asteroid-satellite collision are extremely small, though not zero.

Small asteroids such as these are difficult to discover, usually detected within a week of their closest encounter, and that’s much too little time to do anything but issue a warning about the likely locations of impact. In most, but not all cases, impacts would focus on oceans or relatively unpopulated regions.
Fortunately, asteroid strikes by ones of the size that wiped out dinosaurs are few and far between. An impact with more common intermediate-sized asteroids - dimensions larger than about 500 feet – would explode with the power of a large atomic bomb. However, large and intermediate-sized asteroids can be detected and tracked years before any close encounter with Earth.
At this time, there are no sure collisions on the horizon even over the next few hundred years. That said, much of the sky, especially that viewed from the southern hemisphere, is not being monitored!

Related: Close asteroid encounter - September 2012
What could be done if a large- or intermediate-sized asteroid strike on Earth were deemed likely? Although no U.S. or international government agency has assumed responsibility for stopping a potential collision, there have been a number of academic and some technical studies, not to mention numerous movies, on how a devastating asteroid impact might be avoided. Among the solutions are deflecting the asteroid trajectory by nudging it with robot space vehicles, or destroying the asteroid with a nuclear-armed rocket.
One of the most intriguing ideas is to deflect an approaching asteroid with paintballs. While this sounds pretty far out there at first, the approach formulated by an MIT graduate student won the top spot of a competition sponsored by the United Nations Space Generation Advisory Council (2012 Move an Asteroid Technical Paper Competition).

Video: Deflecting an asteroid, with paintballs
Essentially, the strategy would be to blast the asteroid with paint pellets launched from a spacecraft and filled with white powder. The initial force of the pellets would deflect the asteroid, and the albedo of the white painting would reflect the sun’s rays, thereby exerting a force that would deflect even more.
The caveat to this strategy, like most others, is that it requires about 20 years of advanced warning.
By  |  11:30 AM ET, 12/11/2012

Categories:  Astronomy, Latest, Space, Tracton


Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.
Spaceweather Radio is on the air
ASTEROID FLYBY: Potentially hazardous asteroid 4179 Toutatis is sailing past Earth today. There's no danger of a collision, say astronomers, but the asteroid is close enough for unusually clear radar images of the tumbling space rock. [full story]

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER--THIS WEEK! Earth is entering a stream of debris from rock comet 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters expect as many as 120 Geminids per hour to appear when the shower peaks on Dec. 13th and 14th. The best time to look is during the dark hours before dawn this Thursday and Friday. [sky map] [meteor radar] [video]
"I photographed my first spectacular Geminid this morning, Dec. 12th," reports Antonio Finazzi of Chiuduno (BG), Italy. The fireball was visible even through the trees:
According to the International Meteor Organization, Geminid rates are now at 20 per hour and climbing. Monitor the's realtime photo gallery for more images as the shower intensifies.

Extra meteors? NASA says that another meteor shower, appearing for the first time this year, could add to the count of Geminids on Dec. 13th. Veteran sky watcher Doug Zubenel of Kansas sends this report of a possible sighting: "I believe this shower is real, because at ~ 19:30 hrs, CST on Dec. 10th, I saw a very slow-moving meteor nearly as bright as Jupiter enter the frame of my windshield as I was driving east, and it was in Taurus moving toward the Orion/Gemini border. It's path led back through the radiant in Pisces. While this obviously does not prove it was from Wirtanen, it certainly seems likely."

ARCTIC LIGHTS: There was no geomagnetic storm last night, but around the Arctic Circle a geomagnetic storm is not required to produce auroras. Last night, photographer Mike Theiss was traveling along the Dempster Highway just north of Eagle Plains, Canada, when the sky erupted in color. The sign in the foreground marks the latitude of the Arctic Circle:
"It was insane," he says. "Lights danced all over the sky for 3 hours! I've never seen anything like it."
Theiss was located beneath Earth's auroral oval, a doughnut of light circling the North Pole where auroras sputter on and off even when geomagnetic storms are at low ebb. Displays like this could occur on any night of northern winter. Such auroras are all we can expect for the next few days as NOAA forecasters estimate a mere 5% chance of geomagnetic storms. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Near Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On December 12, 2012 there were 1356 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 XE54
Dec 11
0.6 LD
32 m
2012 XL55
Dec 11
4.2 LD
17 m
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
2.7 km
2012 XM16
Dec 16
3.1 LD
31 m
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
1.1 km
2012 XM55
Dec 23
3.1 LD
12 m
2012 XP55
Dec 27
9.1 LD
67 m
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
57 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.

This infrared view of the U.S.'s Air Force secret X-37B space plane was taken shortly after it landed at Vandenberg Air Force base on June 16, 2012.
CREDIT: 30 Space Wing USAF

News > Air Force launches 3rd X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
Previous ImageNext Image
X-37B 3rd successful launch
(U.S. Air Force graphic/Robin Meredith/ photo by/ Patrick H. Corkery)
Download HiRes

Air Force launches 3rd X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
Posted 12/11/2012 Email story   Print story


by Maj. Eric Badger
Air Force Public Affairs

12/11/2012 - CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AFNS) -- In the next installment to improve space capability and further develop an affordable, reusable space vehicle, the Air Force conducted its third X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle launch here on December 11, officials said.

The launch comes on the heels of the successful flight of OTV-2, which made an autonomous landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 11 after a record 469 days in space.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the strides we've made in this program and the success of the X-37B vehicle on the first two flights," said Mr. Richard McKinney, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space. "However, it is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental vehicle and a third mission is still relatively young for a test program. This is the first re-flight of a vehicle so that is certainly a key objective for us. We have only just begun what is a very systematic checkout of the system."

Lieutenant Colonel Tom McIntyre, X-37B program manager for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, explained the third X-37 flight will not only help the Air Force better evaluate and understand the vehicle's performance characteristics, but this first re-flight is an important step in the program. OTV-1 launched in April 2010 and spent 224 days in orbit before going through the refurbishment process prior to being prepped for this mission, he said.

"This mission will incorporate the lessons learned during the refurbishment process on OTV-1," said Lieutenant Colonel McIntyre. "As the X-37B program is examining the affordability and reusability of space vehicles, validation through testing is vital to the process. We are excited to see how this vehicle performs on a second flight."

"The X-37B OTV is designed for an on-orbit duration of approximately 9 months," said Lieutenant Colonel McIntyre. "As with previous missions, actual duration will depend on the execution of test objectives, on-orbit vehicle performance, and conditions at the landing site."

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is led by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, and is designed to demonstrate reusable spacecraft technologies for America's future in space and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth. Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high temperature structures and seals, conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, and autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing.

Officials anticipate multiple missions will be required to satisfy the test program objectives, but the exact number of missions has not been determined.

Madtown Preppers eStore:

Mystery Surrounds Air Force's Secretive X-37B Space Plane Landing Plan -

Survival Weekly recommended BUY.
Prepper's Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

Prepper's Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary
By Jim Cobb

Availability: Not yet published
Ships NOW!
Available for  @  Nebudchenezzar Shipworks

Product Description

Does your disaster preparation plan include security measures? When civilization fails and the desperate masses begin looting, they will come for your food, water and life-sustaining supplies. This book shows you how to implement a complete plan for operational security and physical defense, including:
• Perimeter Security Systems and Traps
• House Fortifications and Safe Rooms
• Secured and Hidden Storage
• Firearms and Defensive Combat Techniques
• Gathering Intelligence and Forming Alliances