Friday30 January 20045:09pm MST2004-01-31 UTC 0009 back top next  

The Asteroid/Comet Connection's
daily news journal about
asteroids, comets, and meteors

Today's issue status: done
  • News briefs – oxygen isotopes, ESO VLTI news & Project Constellation
  • Risk monitoring – NEODyS has posted 2004 BA75 & 2004 BZ74

Cover image: Rafael Ferrando at Pla D'Arguines Observatory in Spain caught the kilometer-size PHO 2003 YG118 last night, as seen in this stacked image with some interference from high clouds. The stack is centered on the object's motion, thus the background stars are slightly elongated.

News briefs – part 1/1 Major News for 30 Jan. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Oxygen isotopes:  In a brief status report today, the Stardust mission noted that its science team is preparing "data analyses that will be presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March." LPSC will be held 15-19 March near Houston, Texas. The conference second announcement says,

Objects in the solar system not only show wide ranges in the isotopic composition of oxygen that are remnants of distinct nucleosynthetic histories, but also extreme variations in oxygen fugacity as evidenced in mineralogy and mineral chemistry. Yet, while these variations are well documented, an overarching model to explain their development in any combination of temporal and spatial coordinates is beyond our current grasp. The NASA Cosmochemistry Program and the Lunar and Planetary Institute [LPI] are sponsoring a five-year initiative aimed at better understanding how these variations came to be, and what they tell us about the formation and evolution of the solar system. 

There is a special conference session on "Oxygen in the Solar System: Origins of Isotopic and Redox Complexity," including workshops on Meteorites and Asteroids and on Cometary Ices and Dust.

ESO VLTI news:  A European Southern Observatory news release today, tells about installing the first of four mobile 1.8m auxilliary telescopes that will work in various configurations with four fixed-location 8.2m Very Large Telescopes (VLTs) in an interferometer (the VLTI). When finished in 2006, they together will reportedly have "a resolution that corresponds to seeing an astronaut on the Moon."

Constellation:  In a statement to a Senate committee this week, NASA chief Sean O'Keefe referred to the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) as "Project Constellation." Japan's NASDA, now part of JAXA, also had a concept in 2002 for an Apollo-like capsule with interchangeable modules for mission flexibility.

Japan's Advanced Mission Research Center concept for Apollo-like manned space capsule, shown with supply and servicing modules. Composite from images ©Copyright 2002-2003 NASDA.

AFP reported on SpaceDaily yesterday that Japan again "will consider launching manned space trips."

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 30 Jan. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 30 Jan.

2004 BA75 was announced late yesterday in MPEC 2004-B64 as discovered with the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope in Arizona early Tuesday and followed up the next two mornings with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope. JPL posted it yesterday evening local time and NEODyS posted it this morning. The risk ratings are low and the object is small (roughly 50 meters/yards wide), but the highly preliminary assessments are interesting for having the first impact solution only four years away. No further observations are reported in the Friday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU).

The DOU has observations of 2003 YG118 from Pla D'Arguines Observatory in Spain last night (see the "cover" image above) and Jornada Observatory in New Mexico this morning, the first that this object has been reported since the 23rd. Today JPL slightly raised its risk rating for a single 2087 impact solution.

Desert Moon Observatory in New Mexico caught 2004 BE68 this morning and today NEODyS cut its impact solution count from 174 to 110 while raising its risk ratings for this object.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0005 UTC, 31 Jan




 2004 BZ74 NEODyS 1/302005-2080146-2.91-3.3501.047
 2004 BN41JPL 1/292098-20981-6.64-6.6405.036
 2004 BE68 NEODyS 1/302008-2080110-2.40-2.6903.099
 2004 BA75 NEODyS 1/302008-207925-5.90-6.0502.217
JPL 1/302008-206610-7.23-7.5902.217
 2003 YG118JPL 1/302087-20871-3.75-3.75043.820
NEODyS 12/31R E M O V E D
VI = count of "virtual impactors" (impact solutions)
See A/CC's Consolidated Risk Tables for more and maybe
  newer details, and check the monitors' links for latest info.
Note that only objects recently in view are shown here.

To learn more about risk monitoring, see "Understanding Risk Pages" by Jon Giorgini of JPL, and other links.

The Minor Planet Center Last Observation page indicates that 2004 BN41 was observed this morning with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope.

2243 UTC update:  NEODyS has posted 2004 BZ74, which was announced overnight in MPEC 2004-B63. It is on the order of 800 meters/yards wide and was discovered early Tuesday, and tracked again the next morning, by LINEAR in New Mexico.
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