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These are the Asteroids to worry about

One of the most exciting videos I've ever had the chance of working on, is this one with Veritasium!

Asteroids are one of Earth's greatest existential threats, of course - but there's a lot of confusion about the actual risk. In this video Prof. Dave Jewitt of UCLA and Derek and the team behind the scenes (including me) break down how a global-scale impact is unlikely in the next 100 years - unless some unknown comet falls in from the Oort cloud, like in the movie Don't Look Up

This story is vital not only because it clarifies the risk of asteroids, but also because
it demonstrates the incredible value of astronomy to all Earthlings, globally

Without science teams and amateur astronomers watching and tracking asteroids,
we would not have the same understanding of their risks as we do

Asteroids over NYC

The Camera's keyframe spline was set up in Google Earth Studio, and then rendered out to a movie file and camera data as FBX

Asteroids were added by rendering Unreal Engine 4 with opacity mask on. A keen eye will notice at a certain distance the shadow mapping turns off (a common game-engine artifact we only caught just before publishing)

Since Google Earth Studio exported its camera data in physical units (meters) - all the asteroids could be set to their exact physical scales in Unreal. I double-checked the asteroid scales against things in the scene, like Central Park's dimensions, the length of Manhattan, etc...

The Asteroid meshes are literally just 3D models of rocks which I either found online or generated in Blender. In retrospect, I wish I could have worked on the asteroids' visual appearance a little more - since most real asteroids are less "big solid rock" and more "dusty clump of little rocks", and light scatters off of them differently because of that (see Hapke scattering)

Asteroid Duende Flyby

I created this visual with my custom Python - GL engine VerseView.

The trajectory that the camera and Duende follow are driven precisely by JPL Horizons data about the fly-by

The timing of the rotation of the Earth is also correct, using data from the IAU's Rotational Elements of the Planets equations. I could also have used an rotation kernel for the Earth's rotation but the results with the IAU equations were good-enough!

The two orbital circles denote (1) the range of equatorial geostationary satellites and (2) the precise orbit of the Moon

The asteroid, similar to the NYC animation, is just a 3D Model of a rock, scaled and rotated to match known information about Asteroid Duende!

Project published: Nov 30, 2020

❤️ Made with love by Jonny of Earth