Is Anyone Even Awake At NASA?

What is wrong with this picture?

Asteroid 2014 RC Close Approach

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2014 RC past Earth on September 7, 2014. At time of closest approach, the space rock will be about one-tenth the distance from Earth to the moon. Times indicated on the graphic are Universal Time.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

That is the cartoon created by NASA/JPL showing the trajectory of asteroid 2014 RC as it makes its close approach to Earth on September 7, 2014 (i.e. this Sunday). Click the link there to visit NASA’s original news bulletin on the subject. Problem is … it’s wrong.

Asteroid 2014 RC is expected to pass within about 25,000 miles (40,000 km) radial distance from Earth’s center, or about 21,126 miles (34,000 km) from Earth’s surface. Geosynchronous satellites (the green ring in NASA’s cartoon) orbit at a radial distance of 26,000 miles (42,000 km), or about 22,000 miles (36,000 km) above the planet’s surface. In other words, that little line showing the path of the asteroid should be INSIDE the green geosynchronous satellite ring.

I dunno … maybe I”m just being a dick by pointing this out here. But come on man! It’s fucking NASA! Can’t they draw a cartoon right?

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2 Responses to Is Anyone Even Awake At NASA?

  1. Thomas D says:

    Your assumption here is that the Earth is traveling along the horizontal plane of the picture. It is either moving toward the top or the bottom. The problem with your assumption is that the Geosynchronous satellite ring is not nearly so oblate from that perspective. It would almost be a circle.
    In the NASA given perspective, the Earth is traveling perpendicular to the picture, either away from or towards the viewer. This explains the oblateness of the Geosynchronous satellite ring (Which is almost a circle). It shows off that the asteroid is going to travel below the plane of the Geosynchronous orbit.

    • I appreciate what you’re saying there and I can see how the path of the asteroid is beneath the plane of the geosynchronous orbit. However, NASA could easily have illustrated that with a better representation that actually revealed perspective.

      This diagram looks like it was cooked up on a Tandy 1000 running at 4.77 MHz.

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