Video showing map of detected near earth objects

Oh my god, we are so dead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_d-gs0WoUw

this video just blew my mind. I was picturing the asteroid belot like this little neat, tidy small area with giant rocks, kind of like what you would see in movies, but my god, there’s millions of objects all over the place. It’s like playing Osmos’s gravity levels. How are we not getting bombarded every year?

Interesting, isn’t it?

The reason we aren’t dead is that space is really big, with lots of room between objects, and they’re constantly moving. Plenty of objects intersect our orbit, but we’re usually not there. The fact that this scaled down to fit on your computer screen, and has pixels illustrating the positions that are much larger than the object (relative to the size of the map) gives a very false picture of how the objects fill the available space. They’re more like tiny specks of matter filling a gymnasium full of space.

Also bear in mind that there’s a third dimension, which this doesn’t illustrate. A lot of objects are rarely in our orbital plane, and are extremely unlikely to be in it when we’re there.

Damn, that’s cool. I love how around 1998 the rate of new discoveries explodes and the white highlighting turns into a lightbeam sweeping around the screen.

Still that’s a 10 AU worth of distance crammed into a few hundred pixels, it does give a false impression of the actual asteroid density.

What new device allowed us to see objects perpendicular to the night sky last year?

Interesting question. I missed that very short flare to either side. I’ve no idea.

From the link:
‘‘At the beginning of 2010 a new discovery pattern becomes evident, with discovery zones in a line perpendicular to the Sun-Earth vector. These new observations are the result of the WISE (Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer) which is a space mission that’s tasked with imaging the entire sky in infrared wavelengths.’’

Awesome in the true sense of the word. Thank you for contributing this.

We’re all doomed.

A really new one was just announced by NASA this week:

http://www.space.com/11010-embargoed-nasa-tracks-meteor-fireballs-robot-cameras.html

The system and online now: http://fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov/

Here is a link to the NASA Near Earth Objects Program that you might find interesting.

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/

Do make sure to select (1080p HD) mode on this video–I originally had it on 360p, and it wasn’t nearly as cool as in full rez.

Also, check out the data rotated into an edge-on view for a better three-dimensional perspective.