MIT studies deflecting Apophis asteroid

February 19, 2020

On April 13, 2029, an icy chunk of space rock, wider than the Eiffel Tower is tall, will streak by Earth at 30 kilometers per second, grazing the planet’s sphere of geostationary satellites. It will be the closest approach by one of the largest asteroids crossing Earth’s orbit in the next decade.

Observations of the asteroid, known as 99942 Apophis, for the Egyptian god of chaos, once suggested that its 2029 flyby would take it through a gravitational keyhole—a location in Earth’s gravity field that would tug the asteroid’s trajectory such that on its next flyby, in the year 2036, it would likely make a devastating impact.

…most scientists believe it is never too early to consider strategies for deflecting an asteroid if one were ever on a crash course with our home planet.

Now MIT researchers have devised a framework for deciding which type of mission would be most successful in deflecting an incoming asteroid. Their decision method takes into account an asteroid’s mass and momentum, its proximity to a gravitational keyhole, and the amount of warning time that scientists have of an impending collision—all of which have degrees of uncertainty, which the researchers also factor in to identify the most successful mission for a given asteroid.

The researchers applied their method to Apophis, and Bennu, another near-Earth asteroid which is the target of OSIRIS-REx, an operational NASA mission that plans to return a sample of Bennu’s surface material to Earth in 2023. REXIS, an instrument designed and built by students at MIT, is also part of this mission and its task is to characterize the abundance of chemical elements at the surface.

In a paper appearing this month in the journal Acta Astronautica, the researchers use their decision map to lay out the type of mission that would likely have the most success in deflecting Apophis and Bennu, in various scenarios in which the asteroids may be headed toward a gravitational keyhole. They say the method could be used to design the optimal mission configuration and campaign to deflect a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid.

“People have mostly considered strategies of last-minute deflection, when the asteroid has already passed through a keyhole and is heading toward a collision with Earth,” says Sung Wook Paek, lead author of the study and a former graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “I’m interested in preventing keyhole passage well before Earth impact. It’s like a preemptive strike, with less mess.”

Paek’s co-authors at MIT are Olivier de Weck, Jeffrey Hoffman, Richard Binzel, and David Miller.

Deflecting a planet-killer

In 2007, NASA concluded in a report submitted to the U.S. Congress that in the event that an asteroid were headed toward Earth, the most effective way to deflect it would be to launch a nuclear bomb into space. The force of its detonation would blast the asteroid away, though the planet would then have to contend with any nuclear fallout. The use of nuclear weapons to mitigate asteroid impacts remains a controversial issue in the planetary defense community.

The second best option was to send up a “kinetic impactor”—a spacecraft, rocket, or other projectile that, if aimed at just the right direction, with adequate speed, should collide with the asteroid, transfer some fraction of its momentum, and veer it off course.

“The basic physics principle is sort of like playing billiards,” Paek explains.

For any kinetic impactor to be successful, however, de Weck, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems, says the properties of the asteroid, such as its mass, momentum, trajectory, and surface composition must be known “as precisely as possible.” That means that, in designing a deflection mission, scientists and mission managers need to take uncertainty into account.

“Does it matter if the probability of success of a mission is 99.9 percent or only 90 percent? When it comes to deflecting a potential planet-killer, you bet it does,” de Weck says. “Therefore we have to be smarter when we design missions as a function of the level of uncertainty. No one has looked at the problem this way before.”

Closing a keyhole

Paek and his colleagues developed a simulation code to identify the type of asteroid deflection mission that would have the best possibility of success, given an asteroid’s set of uncertain properties.

The missions they considered include a basic kinetic impactor, in which a projectile is shot into space to nudge an asteroid off course. Other variations involved sending a scout to first measure the asteroid to hone the specs of a projectile that would be sent up later, or sending two scouts, one to measure the asteroid and the other to push the asteroid slightly off course before a larger projectile is subsequently launched to make the asteroid miss Earth with near certainty.

The researchers fed into the simulation specific variables such as the asteroid’s mass, momentum, and trajectory, as well as the range of uncertainty in each of these variables. Most importantly, they factored in an asteroid’s proximity to a gravitational keyhole, as well as the amount of time scientists have before an asteroid passes through the keyhole.

“A keyhole is like a door—once it’s open, the asteroid will impact Earth soon after, with high probability,” Paek says.

The researchers tested their simulation on Apophis and Bennu, two of only a handful of asteroids for which the locations of their gravitational keyholes with respect to Earth are known. They simulated various distances between each asteroid and their respective keyhole, and also calculated for each distance a “safe harbor” region where an asteroid would have to be deflected so that it would avoid both an impact with Earth and passing through any other nearby keyhole.

They then evaluated which of the three main mission types would be most successful at deflecting the asteroid into a safe harbor, depending on the amount of time scientists have to prepare.

For instance, if Apophis will pass through a keyhole in five years or more, then there is enough time to send two scouts—one to measure the asteroid’s dimensions and the other to nudge it slightly off track as a test—before sending a main impactor. If keyhole passage occurs within two to five years, there may be time to send one scout to measure the asteroid and tune the parameters of a larger projectile before sending the impactor up to divert the asteroid. If Apophis passes through its keyhole within one Earth year or less, Paek says it may be too late.

“Even a main impactor may not be able to reach the asteroid within this timeframe,” Paek says.

With the team’s new simulation tool, Peak plans to estimate the success of other deflection missions in the future.

“Instead of changing the size of a projectile, we may be able to change the number of launches and send up multiple smaller spacecraft to collide with an asteroid, one by one. Or we could launch projectiles from the moon or use defunct satellites as kinetic impactors,” Paek says. “We’ve created a decision map which can help in prototyping a .”

More information: Sung Wook Paek et al, Optimization and decision-making framework for multi-staged asteroid deflection campaigns under epistemic uncertainties, Acta Astronautica (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2019.10.042 , … ii/S0094576519313700

Journal information: Acta Astronautica

Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This story is republished courtesy of MIT News (, a popular site that covers news about MIT research, innovation and teaching.

Coast to Coast SPECIAL OFFERS! — They Fly Blog

February 19, 2020

Michael Horn will be interviewed by George Noory on Thursday, February 20th, into February 21st. For a limited time, in honor of Michael’s 21st appearance on C2C, we’re offering several special discounts on books, films, ebooks, etc., about the Billy Meier UFO contacts. Here are three special packages of downloadable films and ebooks: Package One: The Silent…

via Coast to Coast SPECIAL OFFERS! — They Fly Blog

Did Scientists Just Find DNA from lost Atlantis civilization?

February 13, 2020

Atlantis existed for tens of thousands of years….

And then, disappeared.  The great war between Atlantis and Lemuria destroyed both civilizations.

Even this blog found evidence of the ancient civilization

Now scientists have announced “ghost” DNA in West Africans.

“About 50,000 years ago, ancient humans in what is now West Africa apparently procreated with another group of ancient humans that scientists didn’t know existed. ..

They analyzed genetic material from hundreds of people from Nigeria and Sierra Leone and found signals of what they call “ghost” DNA from an unknown ancestor.

The unusual DNA found in West Africa isn’t associated with either Neanderthals or Denisovans. Sankararaman and his study co-author, Arun Durvasula, think it comes from a yet-to-be-discovered group.

We don’t have a clear identity for this archaic group,” Sankararaman says. “That’s why we use the term ‘ghost.’ It doesn’t seem to be particularly closely related to the groups from which we have genome sequences from.”

The scientists think the interbreeding happened about 50,000 years ago, roughly the same time that Neanderthals were breeding with modern humans elsewhere in the world.”

Could this be traces of the Atlantean people?  Read the science article here:

My Billy Meier book reports Part 3

February 9, 2020

A brief synopsis of spiritual teaching books written by BEAM, aka Billy Meier:

TJ – Talmud Jmmanuel  :  DODECA – Decalogue / Dodecalogue  :

GOTT – Goblet of the Truth  :  AA – Arahat Athersata  :

TWTL – The Way To Live  :  MOTT – Might of The Thoughts  :

The Psyche  :  OM

These books are in my opinion the most important books in the world, by far.  Unfortunately, it will take hundreds of years for the world to understand this, and perhaps it will take 1000 years or more. But I understand this in the year 2020.

TJ – Talmud Jmmanuel – The TJ text was not written by Meier, but found in an old tomb in Jerusalem.  The ancient scrolls, nearly 2000 years old, were translated from Aramaic, to German, and eventually to English.  The last revisions were made in 2015.  The author’s name is Judas Ischkerioth, and he writes a biography about a man named Jmmanuel.  The closest it could be compared to is the gospel of Matthew, but with MAJOR differences and MUCH more detailed and believable information.  Meier’s explanations paint the absolute complete picture about religion and what is horribly wrong with the bible.  A must read.

Dodeca – Decalogue / Dodecalogue – This book is simply the 12 recommendations we all know of as “the 10 commandments”.  Except these are the real original ones, that weren’t edited or modified.  You can find the 12 tips here, but the book is really amazing because it goes into great depth and detail explaining each one.  A truly beautiful read. 

GOTT – Goblet of the Truth – The information in the Goblet of the Truth was once referred to as the Cauldron of the Life, aka the Holy Grail.  Merlin taught it to King Arthur.  The GOTT is the entire teaching of the prophets all in one book.  Unedited, unchanged, unredacted, and unblemished.   This is a heavy read.

AA – Arahat Athersata – Arahat Athersata is a summary of the state of the world today, in modern times.  It clearly explains how we as a people drifted off the correct path, and points out the steps and corrections we need to take as a society and as individuals to get back on the right track.  A great and profound overview of spiritual guidance.  A deep read.

TWTL – The Way To Live – This book contains hundreds of numbered nuggets of wisdom, in no particular order.  Some are short, some are long, but all will make you think.  It is a bit lighter reading than the others.  You can open it up to any page and read.

MOTT – Might of The Thoughts – The MOTT goes into excruciating detail about how to clean up your bad thinking habits and clear your mind.  How to focus on good things, and how to think properly and effectively.  You can read one page and think on it for days.  A technical read.

The Psyche – The Psyche to me, is an introductory book to spirituality.  What is the mind, what is the spirit, what is the consciousness, what is meditation, etc.  It also has some exercises you can try out at home.  A quick read.

OM – OM is only written in German.  It is essentially the teaching of Nokodemion, aka ONE MOON KID.  It is the story of the universe, and the instructions on how to be a true and genuine, peaceful, and Creationally co-existing human being. Read this book if you want to go back OM.  An epic read.

I previously reviewed a few of these books twice, but in a more rambling description.  These summaries are straight and to the point.  You can download GOTT for free here, but a hardback volume is important to have eventually.  You can order the books here:  US  CANADA  ASIA   EUROPE  AUSTRALIA

Trying to Wake Up Los Angeles

February 7, 2020

#Disclosure  Alien Contacts  Climate Change  Natural Disasters  Solutions  Energy

More interviews and articles at THEYFLYBLOG.COM

Dear Nadissta

January 27, 2020

Dear Nadissta,

You’re welcome.



ref: ZZ 134

Bombshell CBS News UFO coverage

January 24, 2020


Must See Movie: Dark Waters

January 22, 2020

#water #pollution #watchthewater

Air Horn 2020

January 20, 2020

LISTEN to new 9 minute Mainstream news interview on alien contacts

mh 1.18.20

ET and UFO Disclosure is happening RIGHT NOW and Michael Horn is leading the charge.


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3 countries launching robots to Mars this summer

January 13, 2020
July 17
Atlas 5 • Mars 2020
Launch window: 1300-1440 GMT (9:00-10:40 a.m. EDT)
Launch site:
SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will launch NASA’s Mars 2020 rover to the Red Planet. After landing in February 2021, the Mars 2020 rover will study Martian geology, search for organic compounds, demonstrate the ability to generate oxygen from atmospheric carbon dioxide, and collect rock samples for return to Earth by a future mission. The rocket will fly in the 541 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, four solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.
Long March 5 • Huoxing 1
Launch time: TBD
Launch site:
Wenchang, China
A Chinese Long March 5 rocket will launch the Huoxing 1 mission to attempt China’s first landing on Mars. The robotic mission includes an orbiter and a mobile rover to explore the surface of Mars.
July 26
Proton • ExoMars 2020
Launch time: TBD
Launch site:
Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage will launch the ExoMars 2020 mission, a joint project between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos. ExoMars 2020 will launch toward Mars with a stationary landing craft, provided by Russia, and a European-built rover that will study the habitability of Mars and drill into the red planet’s soil to search for biosignatures from past life.

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