Many of you have undoubtedly heard about Comet ISON. If you haven't, it has been touted as the "Comet of the Century." Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, Comet ISON was scheduled to take the fiery path around the sun, grazing and hoping to defy gravitational pull and the heat of our star. NASA, in an unprecedented move, was going to use satellites that are in place to monitor the sun, and for the first time that we know of, turn those cameras away from the sun directly, and aim them at Comet ISON.
All did not go according to plan at NASA "Mission Control" as those who were watching the event "LIVE" on NASA's channels and website, were disappointed when they were unable to watch the rare event of Comet ISON coming into "perihelion" and making its slingshot move around the Sun and back into its deep orbit away from our solar system. According to the BBC, which based on social media, appeared to be the first to announce that ISON was dead; many reported that Comet ISON did not make the trip around the sun. Additionally, there is debate among amateur astronomers as to what actually DID happen as the Comet made its sun-diving venture. We won't really know unless actual footage is released by NASA.
The problem? NASA reportedly "lost" the Comet during the most critical phase of its journey and the servers at NASA were either "down" or at the very least, not showing the trip of ISON as promised. NASA had set up its website to show various camera angles days in advance with millions of people anxious to witness something both exciting and mysterious. At least for now, the mystery part remains, as actual footage of the transition appears to not be available anywhere.
There is a current debate among many professional and amateur astronomers alike as to whether the Comet actually made the trip in tact, disintegrated or came out of the close-encounter "fragmented," meaning, instead of one nucleus in the Comet, there would now be several larger fragmented chunks. We have personally been following one YouTube channel which has what we deem very scientific data and observations: https://www.youtube.com/user/BPEarthWatch
Operation #NASAAsteroid / #ProtectPlanet
Not so publicly known, is NASA's recent engagement with social media to review operations to protect Earth from killer asteroids. NASA, using the hashtags #NASAAsteroid / #ProtectPlanet has been engaging citizens and professionals alike to review current and future plans to help protect earth from killer asteroids (those over 100m in size). Large companies like Boeing were part of the collaboration with ideas ranging from using "Ion Beams" to attaching multiple satellites to incoming asteroids to change their course from a direct Earth strike.
One can't help wonder if the timing of these meetings to brainstorm ideas on how to stop killer asteroids coincides with the recent transition of Comet ISON. While Comet ISON has been declared by NASA as a "non-threat" to Earth with a very predictable and accurate course that is not positioned to intersect with our planet, the timing is a bit too close for comfort. We are not going to sound the alarm on this one just yet, but one thing is clear: NASA, is expecting something. Will it be from Comet ISON or just a random Near Earth Object (NEO)? That answer is unknown; it appears that NEO's are now deemed classified information, and only those in the know actually have the facts as to why the large #ProtectPlanet project was being pushed hard in the month of November, 2013.
We will of course provide updates as they become available. We will provide links below for some of the NASA meetings. -SA
NASA MEETING LINKS:
- Deflections Discussion - Part 1
- Deflections Discussion - Part 2
- Capture Systems - Part 1
- Capture Systems - Part 2
- Redirection Systems - Part 1
- Redirection Systems - Part 2
- Deflections Demonstrations - Part 1
- Deflections Demonstrations - Part 2
- Asteroid Initiative Workshop - Summary Plenary Session
- NASA Comet ISON Google+ Hangout
- ISON and the sun on This Week @NASA