Posted on July 12th, 2016

Out of This World – Alien Asteroids Marauding Martians

I sometimes have this overwhelming feeling that I’m being followed. I used to think it was intense paranoia, but now I have confirmed proof that I am in fact being tailed and have been for nearly a century! NASA just released a statement confirming my fears, for hundreds of years a small asteroid has been following us around the Sun and will do so for centuries to come. It’s named asteroid 2016 HO3 and it was discovered by the Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope in Hawaii on April 27, 2016.

While we fly around the Sun, asteroid 2016 HO3 orbits the Earth as it orbits the Sun. For all those geocentric believers out there, you can now rest assured that there is one more rocky body caught in our orbit. It’s much further away than our Moon and has a wobbly orbit as it is pulled away and then toward the Earth. At its furthest orbit, it is about 100 times the distance of the Moon and on its closest pass it’s nearer to 38 times the Moon’s distance. The size of the asteroid is not yet confirmed but it is believed to be between 120 and 300 feet across. This isn’t our first close encounter with a clingy asteroid, nearly a decade ago Earth had a similar companion before it broke away from our gravitational pull. Asteroid 2016 HO3 was discovered by the Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope in Hawaii on April 27, 2016. If this sparks your interest you can follow the movements of all near earth objects on the Center for NEO studies website; and I can rest assured that my stalker is under observation!

Round and round we go! This animation shows the asteroid’s path around the Earth. (Credit: NASA JPL)

Calling all Nerds!

NASA is always finding new ways to reach out to the public and provide easily accessible content. They already have apps for Apple iOS, Android and Fire OS. NASA is now branching out from mobile only apps to Apple TV. With the new app, you can access all the same features on Apple TV like real-time videos from the International Space Station, watch archived NASA videos and scroll through over 15,000 images. You can find the app and more information here.

Explorers Wanted

A new series of NASA posters pertaining to Mars was just released by the agency. It looks like NASA is recruiting the next generation of explorers for Mars missions with their new campaign. I like to imagine they look like propaganda posters from Total Recall. From explorers to night shift workers to farmers, NASA is looking for the best to make the long journey to Mars. They even have a great remake of the Uncle Sam poster. You can take a look and download the poster for free here.

Katie Nelson
Geospatial Ninja
(303) 718-7163

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