PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet SPECIAL: ASTEROID SCARE GATHERING MOMENTUM - 2 September 2003
-------------------------------------------------------------------


(1) ARMAGEDDON SET FOR MARCH 31, 2014 ...

(2) ASTEROID COLLISION THREAT TO EARTH IN 2014

(3) ASTEROID TARGETS EARTH

(4) ASTEROID HEADS FOR EARTH

(5) MARCH 2014 ASTEROID COLLISION THREAT

(6) NASA-WARNING: ASTEROID RACES TOWARDS EARTH

(7) ... AND THE REALITY: ASTEROID IMPACT RISK DOWNGRADED

==============

(1) ARMAGEDDON SET FOR MARCH 31, 2014 ...

Reuters, September 02 2003 at 11:18AM
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=118&art_id=qw1062494288388B252&set_id=1

 
London - A giant asteroid is heading for Earth and could hit in 2014,
American astronomers have warned British space monitors.

But for those fearing Armageddon, don't be alarmed - the chances of a
catastrophic collision are just one in 909 000.

Asteroid "2003 QQ47" will be closely monitored over the next two months.
Its potential strike date is March 21, 2014, but astronomers say that
any risk of impact is likely to decrease as further data is gathered.

On impact, it could have the effect of 20 million atomic bombs, a
spokesperson for the British government's Near Earth Object Information
Centre told BBC radio.

The centre issued the warning about the asteroid after the giant rock
was first observed in New Mexico by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid
Research Programme.

"The Near Earth Object will be observable from Earth for the next two
months and astronomers will continue to track it over this period," said
Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, one of the expert team advising the centre.

Asteroids such as 2003 QQ47 are chunks of rock left over from the
formation of the solar system 4,5 billion years ago. Most are kept at a
safe distance from the Earth in the asteroid belt between Mars and
Jupiter.

But the gravitational influence of giant planets such as Jupiter can
nudge asteroids out of these safe orbits and send them plunging towards
Earth.

============
(2) ASTEROID COLLISION THREAT TO EARTH IN 2014

Press Association, 2 September 2003
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_815438.html

Scientists are warning of a possible asteroid collision with the Earth.

An asteroid around two-thirds of a mile wide could hit the earth on
March 21, 2014 and has been classified as "an event meriting careful
monitoring" by astronomers.

But they say the probability of it hitting Earth is just 1 in 909,000
and the risk of impact is likely to decrease as they collect more
information.

The newly-discovered asteroid, known as 2003 QQ47, has a mass of around
2,600 million tons. Its orbit calculations are currently based on just
51 observations during a seven-day period.

Dr Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen's University, Belfast, one of the expert
team advising the UK NEO (Near Earth Objects) Information Centre, based
in Leicester, said: "The NEO will be observable from Earth for the next
two months, and astronomers will continue to track it over this period.

"In all probability, within the next month we will know its future orbit
with an accuracy which will mean we will be able to rule out any impact.

"Previously this year, we have had several asteroids which have had much
higher probabilities of colliding with the Earth in the next 100 years
and they have almost all been ruled out. I would say there is no cause
for concern at all."

The asteroid is around one tenth of the size of the meteor that is
believed to have wiped out dinosaurs on Earth 65 million years ago. In
the unlikely event of it hitting the Earth, the rock would have the
force of 350,000 mega tonnes - around eight million times more powerful
than the Hiroshima bomb.

The giant rock was first observed on August 24 by Lincoln Near Earth
Asteroid Research Program, based in Socorro, New Mexico. Asteroids such
as 2003 QQ47 are chunks of rock left over from the formation of our
solar system 4.5 billion years ago.

Most are kept at a safe distance from Earth in the asteroid belt between
the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But the gravitational influence of giant
planets such as Jupiter can nudge asteroids out of these safe orbits and
send them plunging into the Earth's neighbourhood.

Story filed: 08:47 Tuesday 2nd September 2003

=============
(3) ASTEROID TARGETS EARTH

Sky News, 2 September 2003
http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,31500-12757657,00.html
 
Scientists monitoring an asteroid have warned it could collide with
Earth in just over a decade.

The newly discovered asteroid, known as 2003 QQ47, is around two-thirds
of a mile wide and has been classified as "an event meriting careful
monitoring" by astronomers.

It is around one tenth fo the size of the meteor that is thought to have
wiped out dinosaurs on Earth 65 million years ago.

In the event of it hitting the Earth, the rock would have the force of
350,000 mega tonnes - around eight million times more powerful than the
bomb dropped at Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War.

On impact it would be travelling at 75,000 miles a hour.

Experts say the giant rock, which was first spotted by Lincoln Near
Earth Asteroid Research Program (Linear) in New Mexico, could impact on
Earth on March 21, 2014.

But they say the probability of the asteroid hitting Earth is just one
in 909,000 and the risk of impact is likely to decrease as they collect
more information.

With a mass of around 2,600 million tons, it has been given a "Torino
hazard rating" of one. Scientists said it is likely to drop down the
Torino hazard scale as more observations are made.

Its orbit calculations are currently based on just 51 observations
during a seven-day period.

Dr Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen's University, Belfast, one of the expert
team advising the UK Near Earth Objects Information Centre, based in
Leicester, said: "The NEO will be observable from Earth for the next two
months, and astronomers will continue to track it over this period."

He added that there is no cause for concern over the asteroid.

Asteroids such as 2003 QQ47 are chunks of rock left over from the
formation of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago.

Most are kept at a safe distance from Earth in the asteroid belt between
the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

But the gravitational influence of giant planets such as Jupiter can
nudge asteroids out of these safe orbits and send them plunging into the
Earth's neighbourhood.
 
Last Updated: 10:26 UK, Tuesday September 02, 2003

===========
(4) ASTEROID HEADS FOR EARTH

The Age, 2 September 2003
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/09/02/1062403508365.html

Scientists were today warning of a possible asteroid collision with the
Earth.

An asteroid around 1.2 km wide could hit the earth on March 21, 2014 and
has been classified as "an event meriting careful monitoring" by
astronomers.

But they say the probability of the asteroid hitting Earth is just 1 in
909,000 and the risk of impact is likely to decrease as they collect
more information.

The newly-discovered asteroid, known as 2003 QQ47, has a mass of around
2,600 million tonnes.

Its orbit calculations are currently based on just 51 observations
during a seven-day period.

Dr Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen's University, Belfast, one of the expert
team advising the UK NEO (Near Earth Objects) Information Centre, based
in Leicester, said: "The NEO will be observable from Earth for the next
two months, and astronomers will continue to track it over this period."


The giant rock was first observed on August 24 by Lincoln Near Earth
Asteroid Research Program (LINEAR), based in Socorro, New Mexico.

The observations were reported to the Minor Planet Centre in
Massachusetts, a centre for all new discoveries of asteroids and comets.
The asteroid has been given a classification - known as a "Torino hazard
rating" of one - defining it as "an event meriting careful monitoring."

Scientists said it was likely to drop down the scale for hazard as more
observations were made.

Kevin Yates, project manager for the UK NEO Information Centre, said:
"As additional observations are made over the coming months, and the
uncertainties decrease, asteroid 2003 QQ47 is likely to drop down the
Torino scale.

"The NEO Information Centre will continue to monitor the latest results
of observations and publish regular updates on our website."

Asteroids such as 2003 QQ47 are chunks of rock left over from the
formation of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago.

Most are kept at a safe distance from Earth in the asteroid belt between
the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

But the gravitational influence of giant planets such as Jupiter can
nudge asteroids out of these safe orbits and send them plunging into the
Earth's neighbourhood.

==============
(5) MARCH 2014 ASTEROID COLLISION THREAT

Sydney Morning Herald, September 2, 2003 - 6:04PM
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/02/1062403508395.html

Scientists were today warning of a possible asteroid collision with the
Earth. An asteroid around 1.2 km wide could hit the earth on March 21,
2014 and has been classified as "an event meriting careful monitoring"
by astronomers.

But they say the probability of the asteroid hitting Earth is just 1 in
909,000 and the risk of impact is likely to decrease as they collect
more information.

The newly-discovered asteroid, known as 2003 QQ47, has a mass of around
2,600 million tonnes.

Its orbit calculations are currently based on just 51 observations
during a seven-day period.

Dr Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen's University, Belfast, one of the expert
team advising the UK NEO (Near Earth Objects) Information Centre, based
in Leicester, said: "The NEO will be observable from Earth for the next
two months, and astronomers will continue to track it over this period."


The giant rock was first observed on August 24 by Lincoln Near Earth
Asteroid Research Program (LINEAR), based in Socorro, New Mexico.

The observations were reported to the Minor Planet Centre in
Massachusetts, a centre for all new discoveries of asteroids and comets.
The asteroid has been given a classification - known as a "Torino hazard
rating" of one - defining it as "an event meriting careful monitoring."

Scientists said it was likely to drop down the scale for hazard as more
observations were made.

Kevin Yates, project manager for the UK NEO Information Centre, said:
"As additional observations are made over the coming months, and the
uncertainties decrease, asteroid 2003 QQ47 is likely to drop down the
Torino scale.

"The NEO Information Centre will continue to monitor the latest results
of observations and publish regular updates on our website."

Asteroids such as 2003 QQ47 are chunks of rock left over from the
formation of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago.

Most are kept at a safe distance from Earth in the asteroid belt between
the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

But the gravitational influence of giant planets such as Jupiter can
nudge asteroids out of these safe orbits and send them plunging into the
Earth's neighbourhood.

============
(6) "NASA-WARNING: ASTEROID RACES TOWARDS EARTH"

Der Spiegel, 2 September 2003
http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/weltraum/0,1518,263973,00.html

Asteroid rast Richtung Erde

Amerikanische Forscher warnen vor einem Asteroiden, der schon am 21.
März 2014 auf die Erde prallen könnte. Der neu entdeckte Himmelskörper
wiegt 2,6 Milliarden Tonnen und würde bei einem Aufprall weite
Landstriche verwüsten.

Mit einer Geschwindigkeit von etwa 30 Kilometern pro Sekunde rast der
neu entdeckte Asteroid in Richtung Erde. Doch britische Astronomen des
"Near Earth Objects Information Centre" geben sich gelassen: Die
Wahrscheinlichkeit für eine unliebsame Begegnung liege gerade einmal bei
1:909.000. Der Himmelskörper heißt unter Wissenschaftlern "2003 QQ47"
und hat einen Durchmesser von 1,2 Kilometern.
 
Amerikanische Forscher entdeckten "2003 QQ47" am 24. August. Die
Wahrscheinlichkeit eines Zusammenpralls wurde anhand der Daten von nur
51 Beobachtungen innerhalb einer Woche berechnet - die Kalkulation
könnte sich also noch wesentlich verändern. Das erdnahe Objekt steht den
Astronomen jedoch für weitere Berechnungen zur Verfügung: In den
kommenden zwei Monaten wird der Asteroid von der Erde aus zu sehen sein.


===========
(7) ... AND THE REALITY: ASTEROID IMPACT RISK DOWNGRADED

Asteroid/Comet Connection, 1 September 2003
http://www.hohmanntransfer.com/news.htm

The Sunday DOU carries observations of 2003 QQ47 overnight by Sormano
and Great Shefford observatories. Today both risk monitors downgraded
their overall risk assessments for this object, with NEODyS
(http://newton.dm.unipi.it/cgi-bin/neodys/neoibo?objects:2003QQ47;risk)
dropping its impact solution count by one and no longer having any
solutions rated above Torino Scale 0 (TS-0). JPL
(http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/2003qq47.html), however, added and removed
impact solutions for a net gain of two (31 total in the years
2014-2099), and still rates its solution for 21 March 2014 at TS-1
("merits special monitoring").

NEODyS continues to show two impact solutions in 2076 and JPL one, but
both have now significantly lowered their risk ratings for that year,
which at different times they had independently rated at TS-1. Such
assessments are ephemeral and of no importance once superceded with
newer data and analysis, but they do help demonstrate the routine cycle
of observation and calculation used to discover and eliminate risk
concerns.

Copyright 2003, Asteroid/Comet Connection

-----------
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please contact the moderator Benny Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>.
Information circulated on this network is for scholarly and educational
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DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in the
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*

CCNet 62/2003 - 2 September 2003
--------------------------------


Today both risk monitors downgraded their overall risk assessments for
this object, with NEODyS dropping its impact solution count by one and
no longer having any solutions rated above Torino Scale 0 (TS-0). JPL,
however, added and removed impact solutions for a net gain of two (31
total in the years 2014-2099), and still rates its solution for 21 March
2014 at TS-1 ("merits special monitoring").
--Asteroid/Comet Connection, 1 September 2003


As far as the public is concerned, it just isn't worth getting worried
about an object with a couple weeks of optical data showing a possible
Earth encounter years from now. Sometimes, it can't even be said for
certain what side of the Sun such an object will be on at the time of
the listed possible impact. A few days later, additional measurements
will shrink the orbit uncertainty region by a relatively large amount
and the Earth will fall out of the risk zone.
--Jon Giorgini, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CCNet - 26 July 2002


(1) ASTEROID IMPACT RISK DOWNGRADED

(2) POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS ASTEROID GIVEN TORINO 1 RATING

(3) ASTEROID WARNING FOR 2014

(4) THE MEANING OF ASTEROID RISK LISTINGS


================
(1) ASTEROID IMPACT RISK DOWNGRADED

Asteroid/Comet Connection, 1 September 2003
http://www.hohmanntransfer.com/news.htm

The Sunday DOU carries observations of 2003 QQ47 overnight by Sormano
and Great Shefford observatories. Today both risk monitors downgraded
their overall risk assessments for this object, with NEODyS
(http://newton.dm.unipi.it/cgi-bin/neodys/neoibo?objects:2003QQ47;risk)
dropping its impact solution count by one and no longer having any
solutions rated above Torino Scale 0 (TS-0). JPL
(http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/2003qq47.html), however, added and removed
impact solutions for a net gain of two (31 total in the years
2014-2099), and still rates its solution for 21 March 2014 at TS-1
("merits special monitoring").

NEODyS continues to show two impact solutions in 2076 and JPL one, but
both have now significantly lowered their risk ratings for that year,
which at different times they had independently rated at TS-1. Such
assessments are ephemeral and of no importance once superceded with
newer data and analysis, but they do help demonstrate the routine cycle
of observation and calculation used to discover and eliminate risk
concerns.

Copyright 2003, Asteroid/Comet Connection

===============
(2) "POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS ASTEROID GIVEN TORINO 1 RATING"

NEO Information Centre, 2 September 2003
http://www.nearearthobjects.co.uk/news_display.cfm?code=news_intro&itemID=196
   
A potential asteroid impact on 21 March 2014 has been given a Torino
hazard rating of 1, defined as 'an event meriting careful monitoring'.
The newly discovered 1.2 km wide asteroid, known to scientists as 2003
QQ47, has a mass of around 2 600 billion kg, and would deliver around
350 000 MT of energy in an impact with Earth. Currently, the overall
probability of this asteroid impacting Earth is 1 in 909 000. However,
the orbit calculations are based on just 51 observations during a 7-day
period. Dr Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen's University, Belfast, one of the
expert team advising the UK NEO information Centre said "The NEO will be
observable from Earth for the next 2 months, and astronomers will
continue to track it over this period."

Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research Program (LINEAR), operating out of
Socorro, New Mexico, first observed the giant rock on 24 August and
reported their observations to the Minor Planet Centre in Massachusetts.
The Minor Planet Centre plays a crucial role as the clearinghouse for
all new discoveries of asteroids and comets. "As additional observations
are made over the coming months, and the uncertainties decrease,
asteroid 2003 QQ47 is likely to drop down the Torino scale," said Kevin
Yates, project manager for the UK NEO Information Centre, based at the
National Space Centre in Leicester. "The NEO Information Centre will
continue to monitor the latest results of observations and publish
regular updates on our website."

Asteroids such as 2003 QQ47 are chunks of rock left over from the
formation of our Solar System 4.5 billion years ago. Most are kept at a
safe distance from Earth in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars
and Jupiter. However, the gravitational influence of giant planets such
as Jupiter can nudge asteroids out of these safe orbits and send them
plunging into the Earth's neighbourhood.

===============
(3) "ASTEROID WARNING FOR 2014"

BBC News Online, 2 September 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3200019.stm
 
The British agency responsible for identifying potentially hazardous
asteroids says US astronomers are warning of a possible collision in
2014.

The UK Government's Near Earth Object Centre says American astronomers
have discovered a large, fast-approaching asteroid that could hit the
Earth on 21 March, 2014.

But they add the chances of it doing so are just one in 909,000.

What is more, any risk of an impact is likely to decrease as further
data is gathered, they say.

Credible threat

The BBC's science correspondent Christine McGourty says that, although
the chances this asteroid will hit the Earth are slim, it is considered
worth monitoring due to its sheer size and velocity.

The rock is said to measure approximately two thirds of a mile across -
only one tenth of the size of the meteor thought to have wiped out the
dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

It is travelling at a speed of about 20 miles per second.

"In theory such an asteroid could cause devastation across an entire
continent," Christine McGourty says.

It has been labelled "2003 QQ 47" and astronomers will be monitoring it
closely for the next two months.

Copyright 2003, BBC

================
(4) THE MEANING OF ASTEROID RISK LISTINGS

CCNet, 26 July 2002
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc072602.html

Jon Giorgini <jdg@tycho.jpl.nasa.gov>

Dear Benny,

Based on discussions with the press and others in the wake of 2002 NT7,
it seems NONE of the people I have talked to (no one outside the "impact
community") understands the meaning of a listing on a risk page. That
is, the difference between the "potential impacts" and  "predicted
impacts".

Two or three weeks of optical data is not enough to conclusively
identify an impact years in the future. POSSIBLE hazards can be flagged,
but these are actually due to the lack of orbit knowledge; the asteroid
could be so many places the Earth can't help but be in some of them.
These listings are POSSIBLE impacts, not PREDICTED impacts.

To PREDICT an asteroid's orbit reliably you need radar measurements or
at least optical observations spanning 1 (preferably two) orbit periods
of the asteroid. With an orbit period of 2.29 years, that means we
should be able to usefully predict 2002 NT7's orbit in a positive way
for a few decades after 2-4 more years of tracking it. By contrast,
eliminating an entry on
the risk page is a negative prediction; a prediction of where it will
NOT be.

Results with less data -- 2 or 3 weeks or even months -- are simply
astronomer's doing their routine, daily chore of eliminating obscure
possibilities.

The listings are not really PREDICTIONS of impact, but a statement that
one is POSSIBLE, primarily because it is not known for sure where the
asteroid will be. Of course lots, of things are possible, most of which
will not happen.
 
It's possible I will be on top of Mount Everest next month but I am not
predicting it. And there will come a point when my being on Mount
Everest at some instant can be positively excluded ("that's
impossible!").

The purpose behind the risk web page JPL produces is to communicate
possibilities to other astronomers so they know which objects require
more observations. A listing is not a declaration that an object is
predicted to impact, or even come close to the Earth at that time, only
that the possibility has not been ruled out.

As far as the public is concerned, it just isn't worth getting worked up
over an object with a couple weeks of optical data showing a possible
Earth encounter years from now.  SOMETIMES, IT CAN'T EVEN BE SAID FOR
CERTAIN WHAT SIDE OF THE SUN SUCH AN OBJECT WILL BE ON AT THE TIME OF
THE LISTED POSSIBLE IMPACT. A few days later, additional measurements will
shrink the orbit uncertainty region by a relatively large amount and the
Earth will fall out of the risk zone.

A pointer to such objects is valuable to astronomers however, so they
can organize their limited resources to continuing tracking objects with
POSSIBLE (but by no means PREDICTED) impact potential.

In general, it is very difficult for fuzzy optical measurements to
narrow the uncertainties for newly discovered objects. A conclusive
impact detection will almost certainly have to come from radar which can
measure the position of an object to within a few meters. Optical
measurements
are typically good only at the 10's-100's of km level which fuzzes out
knowledge quickly in a few years.

The only substantive hazard prediction out there is 1950 DA; 51 years of
optical data and recent radar data together indicate a possible impact
event with odds between 0 and 1-in-300 on March 16, 2880.  Ground-based
observers could track 1950 DA for the next few decades without
substantially changing the possibilities since the orbit uncertainties
are so small they are
dominated by the way the asteroid spins in space.

Regards,

Jon Giorgini                    |Navigation & Mission Design Section
Senior Engineer                 |  Solar System Dynamics Group
Jon.Giorgini@jpl.nasa.gov       |  Jet Propulsion Laboratory

-----------
CCNet is a scholarly electronic network. To subscribe/unsubscribe,
please contact the moderator Benny Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>.
Information circulated on this network is for scholarly and educational
use only. The attached information may not be copied or reproduced for
any other purposes without prior permission of the copyright holders.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in the
articles and texts and in other CCNet contributions do not necessarily
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*

CCNet SPECIAL: ASTEROID SCARE 'TOTALLY UNWARRANTED' 
               2 September 2003
---------------------------------------------------


There is nothing alarming about 2003 QQ47, and there is nothing
particularly unusual about it. In the routine cycle of observation and
analysis, its risk ratings actually have appeared to be trending
downward as more data is received. Last week both JPL and NEODyS each
had two impact solutions at different times rated at Torino Scale 1
(TS-1, "merits special monitoring"), but, by the day before the NEOIC
"news" release, only JPL had one TS-1 rating left, and a single night of
additional observations could easily drop that back to TS-0.
    --Asteroid/Comet Connection, 2 September 2003


Fancy a punt that life on earth will be wiped out in the next 10 years?
Well the odds are good at 909,000/1. The only drawback is that you won't
be around to pick up your winnings... Now the bookmaker has opened a
book on a whole range of unlikely events occurring, all at odds of
909,000/1. They include glamour girl Jordan becoming Queen, Michael
Jackson having a head transplant and Tony Blair being abducted by
aliens.
    --Sky News, 2 September 2003


(1) ASTEROID SCARE 'TOTALLY UNWARRANTED'

(2) ASTEROID GIVEN SLIGHT ODDS OF HITTING EARTH IN 2014

(3) ASTEROID 'ON COURSE' FOR EARTH

(4) NEW ASTEROID THREAT SEEN: SCARY? YES. LIKELY? NOT.

(5) ASTEROID ON CRASH COURSE - AND OTHER HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

(6) AND FINALLY: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN

=================
(1) ASTEROID SCARE 'TOTALLY UNWARRANTED'

Asteroid/Comet Connection, 2 September 2003
http://www.hohmanntransfer.com/news.htm

Today's PHO news unfortunately is "the news" and not the facts. Reuters
posted a wire story this morning, "Asteroid Heading for Earth, May Hit
in 2014." A "spokesman for the British government's Near Earth Object
Information Center" (NEOIC) is cited as the source, and that site is
carrying a news release dated yesterday on this topic. A/CC's regular
readers, who have been following the routine details of observing this
object, 2003 QQ47, will immediately recognize these reports to be
totally unwarranted.

There is nothing alarming about 2003 QQ47, and there is nothing
particularly unusual about it. In the routine cycle of observation and
analysis, its risk ratings actually have appeared to be trending
downward as more data is received. Last week both JPL and NEODyS each
had two impact solutions at different times rated at Torino Scale 1
(TS-1, "merits special monitoring"), but, by the day before the NEOIC
"news" release, only JPL had one TS-1 rating left, and a single night of
additional observations could easily drop that back to TS-0.
     
The Minor Planet Center's Daily Orbit Update MPECs haven't reported new
observations of 2003 QQ47 since Sunday, and today the European
Spaceguard Central Node (SCN) Priority List raised QQ47 observations
from "Useful" to "Necessary," a notch below "Urgent." It can take weeks,
and sometimes months, to eliminate impact solutions, while 2003 QQ47 has
only been observed over a period of less than seven days, but it will be
in view from now until December of 2005 according to SCN, and is likely
to be found in archival images.

Update: David Dixon points out that the Minor Planet Center's Dates of
Last Observation page is showing that 2003 QQ47 was caught this morning
by LINEAR.

See below for routine daily reports about the 2003 QQ47 observing
effort, and, to learn more about impact risk monitoring, read
"Understanding Risk Pages" by Jon Giorgini of JPL, and many other links
related to this subject. Journalists, please see a list below of
authorities who can and should be consulted before publishing articles
with anything like this Reuters' lead today: "A giant asteroid is
heading for Earth and could hit in 2014, U.S. astronomers have warned
British space monitors."

News reports today
BBC "Asteroid danger in 2014 downplayed"
MSNBC "Asteroid alert raised for 2014"
CBS News "New Asteroid Threat Seen"
The Guardian "Long odds for huge asteroid impact"
Quotes Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons: "I would say there is no cause for concern
at all."
CNN and many others are carrying the Reuters report verbatim, including
the Independent of South Africa, "Armageddon set for March 21, 2014..."
Bloomberg News report, as seen at Ft. Worth Star-Telegram: "A United
Kingdom government agency responsible for identifying potentially
hazardous asteroids has warned of a possible collision on March 21,
2014."

A/CC's reports
27 Aug.: 2003 QQ47 discovery announced, goes onto risk pages
28 Aug.: QQ47 update, image available
29 Aug.: QQ47's first TS-1 ratings, "nothing to be concerned about"
30 Aug.: QQ47 TS-1 ratings change
31 Aug.: only one QQ47 TS-1 rating left

Copyright 2003, Asteroid/Comet Connection

=============
(2) ASTEROID GIVEN SLIGHT ODDS OF HITTING EARTH IN 2014

www.Space.com, 2 September 2003

A newfound asteroid has a 1-in-909,000 chance of hitting Earth in the
year 2014 based on limited observations of its current path, astronomers
said over the weekend. Those odds are likely to evaporate as more is
learned about the object's trajectory.

In all similar cases in the past, the chances of a large rock hitting
the planet have been reduced to zero when more data was collected.
Meanwhile, astronomers gave asteroid 2003 QQ47 a rating of 1 on the
Torino hazard scale, meaning it merits "careful monitoring." The scale
runs from zero to 10 and only objects rated 8 and above -- none ever
have been -- represent certain collisions.

Asteroid 2003 QQ47 is about three-quarters of a mile wide (1.2
kilometers), large enough to cause widespread regional catastrophe and
even global damage were it to impact Earth. Most researchers believe
large impacts in Earth's history have contributed to severe climate
change and even the elimination of some plant and animal species.

The newly discovered rock is classified as a Near Earth Object (NEO).
Its orbit was calculated based on 51 observations over seven days. It
was discovered Aug. 24 by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research
Program (LINEAR), in Socorro, New Mexico.

"As additional observations are made over the coming months, and the
uncertainties decrease, asteroid 2003 QQ47 is likely to drop down the
Torino scale," said Kevin Yates, project manager for the UK NEO
Information Center.

A press release by the NEO Information Center has contributed to
headlines about 2003 QQ47 in media around the world this morning.
Similar scenarios in the past have fueled public concern and even fear
prior to an object being determined harmless.

-- Robert Roy Britt

Copyright 2003, Space.com

=============
(3) ASTEROID 'ON COURSE' FOR EARTH

The Scotsman, 2 September 2003
http://www.news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=968192003

STUART REID

A MASSIVE asteroid one-tenth the size of the meteor thought to have
wiped out the dinosaurs could collide with Earth, according to
scientists.

The Government's Near Earth Object Centre, the British agency
responsible for identifying potentially hazardous asteroids, today
warned that the asteroid could hit the planet on March 21, 2014.

But the scientists said today the chances of a direct collision are 1 in
909,000.

Scientists believe a collision with a large asteroid half a mile in
diameter could kill a quarter of the world's population.

If it struck the Earth, the asteroid would probably cause tidal waves,
massive fires and volcanic activity and potentially wipe out millions of
people.

Last year, Nasa said a giant asteroid that astronomers initially thought
could crash into the Earth in about 17 years would instead pass by
harmlessly.

The mile-wide asteroid sparked fears it could strike the Earth in 2019
when it was recently spotted and thought to be on a collision course
with our planet.

The asteroid was the first object to be given a positive rating on a
scale which measures potential collisions. Known as asteroid 2002 NT7,
the huge lump of rock was first spotted through the Linear Observatory's
automatic sky survey programme in New Mexico in the United States.

It circles the sun every 837 days and travels in a tilted orbit from
about the distance of Mars to just within the Earth's orbit.

Spaceguard UK in Powys in Wales was set up to track objects in space
which could collide with Earth, and to raise awareness of how to deal
with them.

Astronomers gave the object a rating on the so-called Palermo technical
scale of threat of 0.06, making NT7 the first object to be given a
positive value on the scale.

An asteroid strike is one of the theories which is used to explain the
demise of the dinosaurs.

Last month, stargazers in the Lothians got the clearest view of Mars
since the Ice Age. The wandering of the planets meant Mars was now
closer to the Earth than it had been for the last 60,000 years,
appearing clear and bright in the night sky.

It increased in brightness, but is now expected to gradually fade to its
normal brightness.

The sighting was the last chance for anyone alive today, because the red
planet will not be as close again until August 28, 2287. 

=============
(4) NEW ASTEROID THREAT SEEN: SCARY? YES. LIKELY? NOT.

CBS News, 2 September 2003
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/09/02/tech/main571160.shtml

NEW YORK, Sept., 2, 2003

(CBS) British astronomers warned Tuesday of a potential - but remote -
threat of a newly discovered asteroid striking Earth in 11 years' time.

The asteroid, called "2003 QQ47" and weighing some 2.8 billion tons,
could strike earth on March 21, 2014, the Leicester, England-based Near
Earth Objects Information Center, or NEO, said in a statement.

The chances of a hit are estimated at one in 909,000. But the NEO warns
that probability is based only on 51 observations over seven days of an
object three-quarters of a mile wide and moving through space at 19
miles a second.

"The NEO will be observable from Earth for the next two months, and
astronomers will continue to track it over this period," said Dr. Alan
Fitzsimmons, an adviser to the NEO.

For now, the asteroid has been deemed "an event meriting careful
monitoring," and given a rating of one on the Torino scale of asteroid
hazards.

The Torino scale runs from zero to 10 - with 10 signifying "a collision
capable of causing a global climatic catastrophe," according to NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL.

Only two of the 42 objects for which the JPL lists risk calculations
have Torino ratings higher than zero - the new asteroid and another
discovered in 1997, which also carried a rating of one.

JPL computers have calculated that the orbit of the newly discovered
space rock means there are 31 potential collisions between it and Earth.


If the asteroid did strike earth, it would hit with the force of more
than 25 Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs.

But British scientists expect the threat to dissipate over time.

"As additional observations are made over the coming months, and the
uncertainties decrease, asteroid 2003 QQ47 is likely to drop down the
Torino scale," NEO project manager Kevin Yates said in a statement.

Asteroid 2003 QQ47, which like other asteroids is believed to be a piece
of debris from the formation of the universe 4.7 billion years ago, was
first observed on Aug. 24 by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research
Program in Socorro, N.M.

JPL records indicate the most recent "near miss" by an asteroid was on
Aug. 30, when 2003 MU came within about 6 million miles of Earth. That
was the second asteroid to get close that day and at least the 10th in
the month of August.

Another asteroid, 1998 VS, is due to pass within 14.6 million miles of
Earth on Sept. 11.

Copyright 2003, CBS News

=============
(5) ASTEROID ON CRASH COURSE - AND OTHER HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

The Australian, 3 September 2003
SCIENTISTS yesterday warned a 1.2km wide asteroid could hit Earth on
March 21, 2014. | ... 


SPACE AGENCY SAYS ASTEROID MAY STRIKE EARTH IN 2014
Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- A U.K. government agency responsible for
identifying potentially hazardous asteroids has warned of a possible
collision on March 21, 2014. | The Near Earth Object Centre says an... 

Britânicos alertam para aproximação de asteróide
Estado de Sao Paulo, Tue 2 Sep 2003
Cientistas do programa NEO (Near Earth Objects, ou objetos próximos da
Terra) do Reino Unido alertaram para uma possibilidade de impacto de
asteróide com a Terra em 2014, informa a edição online do jo... 
 
 
La Terre sur la route d'un astéroïde
Radio Canada, 2 Sept 2003
..Des astrophysiciens américains du Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research
Program, au Nouveau-Mexique, suivent de près l'évolution d'un astéroïde,
d'une masse d'environ 2600 millions de tonnes et d'une... 
 
 
L'impatto di un asteroide sulla Terra, secondo la ricostruzione grafica
di un artista.
MILANO (CNN) - Un asteroide gigante minaccia di colpire la terra il 21
marzo 2014. Se la cosa dovesse realmente accadere avrebbe degli effetti
devastanti per il pianeta, ma le probabilità, fort...  CNN Italian
 
V roce 2014 by mohlo dojít ke støetu Zemì s asteroidem (Czech)
LONDÝN 2. záøí (ÈTK) - V roce 2014 by mohlo dojít ke støetu mezi Zemí a
asteroidem o prùmìru 1,2 kilometru a hmotnosti zhruba 2600 tun. Vyplývá
to z informací, které poskytli pracovníci amerického ast...  Quick CZ
 
New Asteroid Threat Seen
(CBS) British astronomers warned Tuesday of a potential - but remote -
threat of a newly discovered asteroid striking Earth in 11 years' time.
| The asteroid, called "2003 QQ47" and weighing some...  CBS News

============
(6) AND FINALLY: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN

Sky News, 2 September 2003
http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-12757996,00.html
 
Fancy a punt that life on earth will be wiped out in the next 10 years?

Well the odds are good at 909,000/1.

The only drawback is that you won't be around to pick up your winnings.

The astronomical odds are offered by bookmakers William Hill.

It was prompted by news that scientists believe an asteroid may hit
Planet Earth on March 21, 2004.

The newly-discovered danger, known as 2003 QQ47, is around two-thirds of
a mile wide and has been classified as "an event meriting careful
monitoring" by astronomers.

But the fact you won't be around to collect your cash has not deterred
one punter from having a flutter.

"One customer who placed a bet on the world ending said that he would
collect his winnings in Heaven," said William Hill spokesman Graham
Hill.

Now the bookmaker has opened a book on a whole range of unlikely events
occurring, all at odds of 909,000/1.

They include glamour girl Jordan becoming Queen, Michael Jackson having
a head transplant and Tony Blair being abducted by aliens.

The best of the rest:

* David Beckham to be England manager and win the World Cup with
Brooklyn Beckham scoring the winning goal and Romeo Beckham coming on as
substitute

* Jordan to marry Prince Harry and become Queen

* Michael Jackson to have a head transplant and to announce that he
should now be known as Elvis Jackson
 
*UK temperature to hit 100F - on Christmas Day

* Prince Charles to wed Camilla, renounce his right to the Throne, and
become an MP for the Green Party

* Arnold Schwarzenegger to become US President and introduce compulsory
body-building and Austrian lessons in schools

* Tony Blair to join Tory Party and become first man to be Prime
Minister for two different Parties

* A manned expedition to Mars to arrive and discover the Loch Ness
Monster there

* UFO containing intelligent extra-terrestrial life forms to land
outside Number 10 Downing Street and abduct current PM

* Sven Goran Erikkson to marry Ulrikka Johnson and produce twins called
Nancy and John

* Mick Jagger and Keith Richard to announce that they will continue
touring after cloning themselves and renaming band Rolling Clones

* Elvis Presley to reappear and marry Madonna

Copyright 2003, Sky News

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