This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

21 December 2007

Update on Tunguska Mars (2007 WD5) Close Approach

My colleagues at SpaceWorks have done some quick propagation of 2007 WD5 using our own internal trajectory propagator. Here are some preliminary results using our IHOP (Interplanetary High-fidelity Orbit Propagator) tool:

Using an internally-developed orbit propagation tool, SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. (SEI) has verified the predicted date for the 2007 WD5 close approach to Mars on January 30, 2008. Starting from the publicly available NASA JPL HORIZONS system orbital elements for 2007 WD5 for December 21, 2007, IHOP predicts that the asteroid 2007 WD5 will pass within 51,720 km (32,137 miles) of Mars on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 4:10 AM Eastern Standard Time-EST (09:10:22.1 UTC, Julian date 2454495.88220).

The internal tool, dubbed IHOP (Interplanetary High-fidelity Orbit Propagator), is a Java-based n-body propagator that utilizes a 7th/8th order Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg numerical integrator to propagate small bodies in the solar system. The orbit propagator includes the gravitational accelerations induced by the sun, the planets, and Earth's moon.

Link: SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. (SEI)

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