Rispondi a: 2007 TU24 Asteroid, Jan 29 2008

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In understanding what happens when asteroid 2007 WD5 approaches Mars, what must be considered is the electrical charge it carries. The asteroid normally orbits in a region between Earth and Jupiter (see the following two diagrams depicting its orbit). So it would accumulate or discharge plasma depending on the region of space it is traveling through, and the Birkeland currents it encounters. However, when asteroids approach planets, they may accumulate a positive charge from a planet closer to the sun, and undergo a plasma discharge as it passes close by a more distant planet. This is exactly what is likely to happen with asteroid 2007 WD5.

On November 2, 2007, the asteroid did a relatively close flyby of the Earth as seen in the diagram (on left) where 2007 WD5 is superimposed over Earth. It was only 0.0479AU (approximately 7 million kms) from Earth. This is close enough for the asteroid to be positively charged by the Earth's magnetosphere. Charged in this way, the asteroid is now carrying an abundance of positively charged ions, relative to Mars, as it races towards it for its January 30 Martian rendezvous.

According to the plasma cosmology model, the difference in electrical potential between Mars and the asteroid will result in a plasma discharge between the two. The asteroid, carrying a positive charge gained from Earth, will result in a plasma discharge that lights Mars in a spectacular fashion. Put simply, for a short period of time, Mars and the asteroid will form a giant celestial capacitor that discharges causing them both to light up in a fashion resembling a second sun. Given that Mars and Earth are relatively close in their respective orbits on January 30 (see diagram below), the plasma exchange between Mars and the asteroid will be very visible in the night sky, and will have a distinctive red hue to it.