This month, Mars will have its closest encounter with Earth since December 2007.
The reason has to do with orbital mechanics. As Earth and Mars trace their elliptical orbits around the sun, the distance between the two planets varies dramatically. There are times when the separation amounts to almost 250 million miles (400 million kilometers). On April 14, that separation narrows to a mere 57 million miles (92 million kilometers).
“These opportunities only come about every two years,” said Alan MacRobert, senior editor for Sky & Telescope magazine.
The sensor readings show that 26 explosions more powerful than a kiloton of TNT have been detected since 2001, “all of which are due to asteroid impacts,” said former astronaut Ed Lu, the foundation’s CEO.
He said the readings were analyzed by Peter Brown, a physicist at Western University in Ontario, and would be detailed in a video visualization making its debut at the Seattle event.
“It shows that asteroid impacts are not rare — but actually three to 10 times more common than we previously thought,” Lu said in Friday’s news advisory. “The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’-sized asteroid is blind luck.”
Frighten me with Science, indeed. Wouldn’t a 1 kiloton ocean strike create a noticeable tidal wave? Seems odd.