You probably never heard of 2009ES. And you probably never will again..
A few days ago, alternative news sites online went mad with information about 2009ES, a killer asteroid that would have had the power to destroy our lives and existence.
There has been some very false and alarming information being shared about this asteroid.. namely an article that was published only two days ago on AOL.. The article got tons of play with social media re-publishes.. AOL scared people saying it is time to stock up supplies in a fallout shelter.. the article also does not give any information on when we should be prepared to die. AOL reports,
China’s Purple Mountain Laboratory discovered the massive asteroid using Asia’s largest telescope, determining the meteor was passing our planet with a range of 18.8 times the distance between the Earth and the moon — aka, WAY too close for comfort.
A telescope at Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing, capital of the eastern province of Jiangsu, has captured images of an asteroid approaching Earth.
The images of the asteroid, coded as 2009ES by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), were captured Wednesday night, Zhao Haibin with the observatory said on Thursday.
This is the first time that a telescope in China has captured images of the asteroid, one of 1,640 minor bodies listed by MPC that could have a close encounter with the Earth.
The observatory’s 1.2-meter Schmit is the largest telescope of its kind in Asia.
Zhao said the observatory was notified by MPC on Sept. 5 to observe the asteroid
Getting scary, right? All of the sources quoted went onto say that this asteroid is even more powerful than the asteroid that most likely killed off dinosaurs..
Sounds scary. Sounds like it coming.. Youtube videos are portraying doom.
Oh, another thing.. what few sources are reporting: The asteroid safely passed by earth.
And that is what aggravates me the most of all about this entire thing. It is not only an example of bad journalism, but also another example of us taking our eyes off the ball.
See, this was discovered in 2009. Hence the ‘2009ES’ name given to it. It was not “just discovered” by China as a number of sources reported. And we also knew this: The MOID or Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance is .039.. au or 15 ld (lunar distance) .. that is very far actually. It is not just as close as a hair as some other nearby earth objects have been lately..
So yes, the asteroid *which also has been named Apophis* already buzzed by the planet before all of these news articles gave the sense it was still approaching. Not much background research went into virtually any of them, with the exception of just copying and pasting from other sources.
And sadly, there are few sources to even find much good information about 2009ES! Even writing some form of factual posting about this was a challenge for me. But I can tell you, the date of the closest flyby: September 5, 2016. Days ago now.. And we did not hear one thing about it at the time.
The hubbub about this asteroid takes our focus off of the other asteroids out there that we don’t know about. Remember back a few years ago when we were laughing at a minister predicting the end of the world because of an asteroid strike? The same asteroid NASA and others said not to worry about? And then as it safely flew by the planet, Chelyabinsk Russia was struck with a huge space rock that knocked windows out of buildings and injured people? And we did not know one bit of anything about that surprise..
TAKING OUR EYES OFF THE BALL
Surprises happen.. space happens. We know from history that objects hurling at the planet from the solar system have changed the course of animal and human history. And it will happen again. At this time, however, there has been no politician on the planet (including this election cycle) who wants to actually fix the problem of not trying to be more aware of our surroundings. We knew about 2009ES and despite the articles from AOL and others scaring people, we also knew it would not strike the planet. But what about the other objects that could strike?
Every now and then we get media articles about “near earth asteroid almost hit this weekend.” And they are the ones we didn’t map! The kind that actually would sneak up on us and ruin a weekend or two.. Instead, however, the media gives us nonsense scare stories about objects safety flying by.
One of the biggest pet peeves of mine is how television newscasts treat science, including asteroids and other objects closely flying by the planet. The stories are regulated to the final minute, sort of a “finally tonight, you almost died last week from an asteroid” treatment. After the sports. After the weather. Before bed. It is joked about and, just as the AOL article did, very little information is given beyond the whole “near miss” or “close shave” tags given to it.. It’s frustrating.
The dinosaurs PROBABLY died because of one of these.. big giant craters on the planet exist because of these.. and in the modern era, just because we have technology and phones, it does not make us immune to big giant objects. We should try, perhaps, knowing about them?
Instead of making space a future battleground for weapons and warfare, we should be adults for a change and actually explore the universe around us! Get to know some planets.. plan voyages beyond wildest distances.. and yes, try to find other killer asteroids that actually are poised to one day strike this planet and make the next big crater on Earth.
Sadly expecting humans to act as responsible mature adults is a bit too much in time and age. Instead, we should create a few more bombs and figure out how to destroy satellites, thus push entire nations not the planet into desolation and doom. .. yes, that is what humans do better, I guess…….
We need to get serious about this.
Because one day this will happen, and we WILL NOT be ready.