Real-Time Simulation of 2012 DA14 Asteroid by NASA

On February 15th of 2013 at the midnight, an asteroid named 2012DA14 discovered by NASA in 2012 passed through the earth geosynchronous ring. NASA released a simulation of the asteroid travelling path. As per the calculation, the mass and an average diameter of this asteroid is 130×106 Kg and 45 meters respectively. A smooth particle hydrodynamics may use to model the trajectory to find the chance of hitting the earth. Simulations so performed mainly depend on observer data like polarization measurements, which is one of the oldest and accurate mechanisms. As the suns light falls on the asteroid, it is scattered away and so the plane of linear polarization is derived for the phase angle.

How it is possible to predict with such accuracy and why scientists are so confident on simulation data about the space objects behaviour. This type of doubts can be difficult to believe but simple in the answer. Our universe and everything in it follows exactly all physics and chemistry rules. By new simulation software’s which are able to do millions of calculation of physical formulas in less time and correlate them with minimum error provides a platform for a scientist to predict what will happen in the space with the moving object. For example, Monte Carlo simulation is used for satellites path prediction that orient around the earth.

A typical computer program developed to perform asteroid simulation uses the methods like:

  • Field (celestial coordinates)
  • Trans (celestial satellite or space object coordinates)
  • Sun position (celestial coordinates)
  • Orbit (object position like asteroids)
  • Control logic
  • Space object dynamics
  • Output (precession and velocity of the object)

On this day itself after 16-hour gap, an asteroid of size 20 m called as 2013, Chelyabinsk meteor slammed into the Russian atmosphere ended with blasts shattering into pieces. Well, it seems to be that the scientists are unable to find out the hit of the asteroid before because of lesser diameter.