"Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a 'character', is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem." (Emphasis mine).Cue Crutchfield the Westwardman's world of only one of everything. Likewise, the women in Gravity's Rainbow often blend together, share traits or imagery. So do the men. The joining of the two sexes in Blicero, as well as Slothrop here at the end, is significant.
"Datta: what have we given? / My friend, blood shaking my heart / The awful daring of a moment’s surrender / Which an age of prudence can never retract / By this, and this only, we have existed." (The Waste Land, Part V: What the Thunder Said - emphasis mine).Both are arguing that it's these key moments, irreversible junctures in our lives that make us real. Not what comes next, not what people say about us, just our moments. Integrate those moments, run them fast enough (say 24 frames per second) and you might even approximate something close to a person...
"The dearest nation of all is one that will survive no longer than you and I, a common movement at the mercy of death and time: the ad hoc adventure." - Resolutions of the Gross Suckling Conference (706)In other words, they seek a nation that does not function independently of its citizens - one that is not some separate identity with a quasi-personhood (much like how corporations are legally "people"). Rather, a nation that is inextricably linked to the people and that will die when they do. No immortality, no denial of the cycle or death.
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|Can we really detect any asteroids in space with accuracy and do we have any real means of destroying it?||Yes, we can detect new asteroids when they are still in space. Every night dozens of new asteroids are found, including a few that can come close to the Earth.|
|Regarding the second part of the question, the goal would be to deflect them more than destroy them, and it is technologically possible. The Hera/DART mission currently being developed by ESA and NASA will demonstrate exactly this capability.|
|I always wanted to ask: what is worse for life on Earth - to be hit by a single coalesced asteroid chunk, or to be hit by a multiple smaller pieces of exploded asteroid, aka disrupted rubble pile scenario?||DVK: This is difficult to answer. If the rubble is small (centimetres to meters) it is better to have lots of small ones – they’d create nice bright meteors. If the rubble pieces are tens of meters it doesn’t help.|
|Let’s say that hypothetically, an asteroid the size of Rhode Island is coming at us, it will be a direct hit - you’ve had the resources and funding you need, your plan is fully in place, everything you’ve wanted you got. The asteroid will hit in 10 years, what do you do?||DVK: I had to look up how big Rhode Island is – a bit larger than the German Bundesland ‘Saarland’. Ok – this would correspond to an object about 60 km in diameter, right? That’s quite big – we would need a lot of rocket launches, this would be extremely difficult. I would pray. The good news is that we are quite convinced that we know all objects larger than just a few kilometers which come close to our planet. None of them is on a collision course, so we are safe.|
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|Why are you quite convinced that you know all object of that size? And what is your approach in finding new celestial bodies?||DVK: There was a scientific study done over a few years (published in Icarus 2018, search for Granvik) where they modelled how many objects there are out there. They compared this to the observations we have with the telescopic surveys. This gives us the expected numbers shown here on our infographic: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2018/06/Asteroid_danger_explained|
|There are additional studies to estimate the ‘completeness’ – and we think that we know everything above roughly a few km in size.|
|To find new objects, we use survey telescopes that scan the night sky every night. The two major ones are Catalina and Pan-STARRS, funded by NASA. ESA is developing the so-called Flyeye telescope to add to this effort https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2017/02/Flyeye_telescope.|
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|Thanks for the answer, that's really interesting! It's also funny that the fist Flyeye deployed is in Sicily, at less than 100km from me, I really had no idea||DVK: Indeed, that's cool. Maybe you can go and visit it one day.|
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|What about Interstellar objects however, like Oumuamua?||DVK: The two that we have seen - 'Oumuamua and comet Borisov - were much smaller than the Saarland (or Rhode Island ;-) - not sure about Borisov, but 'Oumuamua was a few hundred meters in size. So while they could indeed come as a complete surprise, they are so rare that I wouldn't worry.|
|Would the public be informed if an impending asteroid event were to happen? And, how would the extinction play out? Bunch of people crushed to death, knocked off our orbit, dust clouds forever?||DVK: We do not keep things secret – all our info is at the web page http://neo.ssa.esa.int. The ‘risky’ objects are in the ‘risk page’. We also put info on really close approaches there. It would also be very difficult to keep things ‘under cover’ – there are many high-quality amateur astronomers out there that would notice.|
|In 2029 asteroid Apophis will fly really close to Earth, even closer than geostationary satellites. Can we use some of those satellites to observe the asteroid? Is it possible to launch very cheap cube sats to flyby Apophis in 2029?||DVK: Yes an Apophis mission during the flyby in 2029 would be really nice. We even had a special session on that topic at the last Planetary Defense Conference in 2019, and indeed CubeSats were mentioned. This would be a nice university project – get me a close-up of the asteroid with the Earth in the background!|
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|So you’re saying it was discussed and shelved?||In the conference we just presented ideas. To make them happen needs funding - in the case of ESA the support of our member countries. But having something presented at a conference is the first step. One of the results of the conference was a statement to space agencies to consider embarking on such a mission. See here: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/documents/336356/336472/PDC_2019_Summary_Report_FINAL_FINAL.pdf/341b9451-0ce8-f338-5d68-714a0aada29b?t=1569333739470|
|Go to the section 'resolutions'. This is now a statement that scientists can use to present to their funding agencies, demonstrating that it's not just their own idea.|
|Thanks for doing this AMA! Did we know the Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013 (the one which had some great videos on social media) was coming? Ig not, how comes? Also, as a little side one, have there been any fatalities from impact events in the past 20 years?||Unfortunately, the Chelyabinsk object was not seen in advance, because it came from the direction of the Sun where ground-based telescopes cannot look.|
|No known fatalities from impacts have happened in the past 20 years, although the Chelyabinsk event did cause many injuries, fortunately mostly minor.|
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|How often do impacts from that direction happen, compared to impacts from visible trajectories?||In terms of fraction of the sky, the area that cannot be easily scanned from the ground is roughly a circle with a radius of 40°-50° around the current position of the Sun, corresponding to ~15% of the total sky. However, there is a slight enhancement of objects coming from that direction, therefore the fraction of objects that may be missed when heading towards us is a bit higher.|
|However, this applies only when detecting an asteroid in its "final plunge" towards the Earth. Larger asteroids can be spotted many orbits earlier, when they are farther away and visible in the night side of the sky. Their orbits can then be determined and their possible impacts predicted even years or decades in advance.|
|There must be a trade-off when targeting asteroids as they get closer to Earth, is there a rule of thumb at what the best time is to reach them, in terms of launch time versus time to reach the asteroid and then distance from Earth?||DVK: Take e.g. a ‘kinetic impactor’ mission, like what DART and Hera are testing. Since we only change the velocity of the asteroid slightly, we need to hit the object early enough so that the object has time to move away from it’s collision course. Finding out when it is possible to launch requires simulations done by our mission analysis team. They take the strength of the launcher into account, also the available fuel for course corrections, and other things. Normally each asteroid has its own best scenario.|
|Do you also look at protecting the moon from asteroids? Would an impact of a large enough scale potentially have major impacts on the earth?||DVK: There are programmes that monitor the Moon and look for flashes from impacting small asteroids (or meteoroids) - https://neliota.astro.noa.g or the Spanish MIDAS project. We use the data to improve our knowledge about these objects. These programmes just look at what is happening now.|
|For now we would not do anything if we predicted a lunar impact. I guess this will change once we have a lunar base in place.|
|Why aren't there an international organisation comprised of countries focused on the asteroid defence? Imagine like the organisation with multi-billion $ budget and program of action on funding new telescopes, asteroid exploration mission, plans for detection of potentially dangerous NEA, protocols on action after the detection - all international, with heads of states discussing these problems?||DVK: There are international entities in place, mandated by the UN: The International Asteroid Warning Network (http://www.iawn.net) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (http://www.smpag.net). These groups advise the United Nations. That is exactly where we come up with plans and protocols on action. But: They don’t have budget – that needs to come from elsewhere. I am expecting that if we have a real threat, we would get the budget. Right now, we don’t have a multi-billion budget.|
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|There is no actual risk of any sizable asteroids hitting earth in the foreseeable future. Any preparation for it would just be a waste of money.||DVK: Indeed, as mentioned earlier, we do not expect a large object to hit is in the near future. We are mainly worried about those in the size range of 20 m to 40 m, which happen on average every few tens of years to hundreds of years. And where we only know a percent of them or even less.|
|President Obama wanted to send a crewed spacecraft to an asteroid - in your opinion is this something that should still be done in the future, would there be any usefulness in having a human being walk/float on an asteroid's surface?||DVK: It would definitely be cool. I would maybe even volunteer to go. Our current missions to asteroids are all robotic, the main reason is that it is much cheaper (but still expensive) to get the same science. But humans will expand further into space, I am sure. If we want to test human exploration activities, doing this at an asteroid would be easier than landing on a planet.|
|this is another reply||Yes, but I am slightly biased by the fact that I work at the European astronaut centre ;) There exist many similarities to what we currently do for EVA (extra vehicular activities) operations on the International Space Station versus how we would 'float' around an asteroid. Slightly biased again, but using such a mission to test exploration technologies would definitely still have value. Thanks Obama! - AC|
|I've heard that some asteroids contains large amounts of iron. Is there a possibility that we might have "space mines" in the far away future, if our own supply if iron runs out?||Yes, this is a topic in the field known as space mining, part of what we call Space Resources. In fact, learning how we can process material we might find on asteroids or other planetary bodies is increasingly important, as it opens up the opportunities for sustainable exploration and commercialization. Its a technology we need to master, and asteroids can be a great target for testing how we can create space mines :) - AC|
|By how much is DART expected to deflect Didymos? Do we have any indication of the largest size of an asteroid we could potentially deflect?||PM: Didymos is a binary asteroid, consisting of a main asteroid Didymos A (~700m) and a smaller asteroid Didymos B (~150m) orbiting around A with a ~12 hours period. DART is expected to impact Didymos B and change its orbital period w.r.t. Didymos A of ~1%. (8 mins)|
|The size of Didymos B is the most representative of a potential threat to Earth (the highest combination of probability and consequence of impacts), meaning smaller asteroids hit the Earth more often but have less severe consequences, larger asteroids can have catastrophic consequences but their probability of hitting the earth is very very low.|
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|Why is there less probability of larger asteroids hitting earth?||DVK: There are less large objects out there. The smaller they are, the more there are.|
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|Is there any chance that your experiment will backfire and send the asteroid towards earth?||PM: Not at all, or we would not do that :) Actually Dimorphos (the Didymos "moon") will not even leave its orbit around Didymos. It will just slightly change its speed.|
|I'm sure you've been asked this many times but how realistic is the plot of Armageddon? How likely is it that our fate as a species will rely on (either) Bruce Willis / deep sea oil drillers?||Taking into consideration that Bruce Willis is now 65 and by the time HERA is launched he will be 69, I do not think that we can rely on him this time (although I liked the movie).|
|HERA will investigate what method we could use to deflect asteroid and maybe the results will show that we indeed need to call the deep sea oil drillers.|
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|So then would it be easier to train oil drillers to become astronauts, or to train astronauts to be oil drillers?||I do not know which one would be easier since I have no training/experience of deep see oil drilling nor becoming an astronaut, but as long as the ones that would go to asteroid have the sufficient skills and training (even Bruce Willis), I would be happy.|
|If budget was no object, which asteroid would you most like to send a mission to?||Nice question! For me, I'd be looking at an asteroid we know something about, since I would be interested in using it for testing how we could extract resources from it. So for me, I would choose Itokawa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/25143_Itokawa), which was visited by Hayabusa spacecraft. So we already have some solid prospecting carried out for this 'roid! - AC|
|this is another reply||Not sure if it counts as an asteroid, but Detlef and myself would probably choose ʻOumuamua, the first discovered interstellar object.|
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|Do we even have the capability to catch up to something like that screaming through our solar system? That thing has to have a heck of a velocity to just barrel almost straight through like that.||DVK: Correct, that would be a real challenge. We are preparing for a mission called 'Comet Interceptor' that is meant to fly to an interstellar object or at least a fresh comet - but it will not catch up with it, it will only perform a short flyby.|
|After proving to be able to land on one, could an asteroid serve as a viable means to transport goods and or humans throughout the solar system when the orbit of said asteroid proves beneficial. While it is probably quite problematic to land the payload, it could save fuel or am I mistaken?||Neat idea! Wonder if anyone has done the maths on the amount of fuel you would need/save vs certain targets. - AC|
|PM: To further complement, the saving is quite marginal indeed because in order to land (softly) on the asteroid you actually need to get into the very same orbit of that asteroid . At that point your orbit remains the same whether you are on the asteroid or not..|
|can the current anti-ballistic missiles systems intercept a terminal phase earth strike asteroid? or it is better to know beforehand and launch an impacting vehicle into space?||DVK: While I do see presentations on nuclear explosions to deflect asteroids at our professional meetings, I have not seen anybody yet studying how we could use existing missile systems. So it's hard to judge whether existing missiles would do the job. But in general, it is better to know as early as possible about a possible impact and deflect it as early as possible. This will minimize the needed effort.|
|How much are we prepared against asteroid impacts at this moment?||DVK: 42… :-) Seriously – I am not sure how to quantify ‘preparedness’. We have international working groups in place, mentioned earlier (search for IAWN, SMPAG). We have a Planetary Defence Office at ESA, a Planetary Defense Office at NASA (who spots the difference?), search the sky for asteroids, build space missions… Still we could be doing more. More telescopes to find the object, a space-based telescope to discover those that come from the direction of the Sun. Different test missions would be useful, … So there is always more we could do.|
|Have you got any data on the NEO coverage? Is there estimations on the percentage of NEOs we have detected and are tracking? How can we improve the coverage? How many times have asteroids been able to enter earths atmosphere without being detected beforehand?||Here’s our recently updated infographics with the fraction of undiscovered NEOs for each size range: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2018/06/Asteroid_danger_explained|
|As expected, we are now nearly complete for the large ones, while many of the smaller ones are still unknown.|
|In order to improve coverage, we need both to continue the current approach, centered on ground-based telescopes, and probably also launch dedicated telescopes to space, to look at the fraction of the sky that cannot be easily observed from the ground (e.g., towards the Sun).|
|Regarding the last part of your question, small asteroids enter the Earth atmosphere very often (the infographics above gives you some numbers), while larger ones are much rarer.|
|In the recent past, the largest one to enter our atmosphere was about 20 meters in diameter, and it caused the Chelyabinsk event in 2013. It could not be detected in advance because it came from the direction of the Sun.|
|We have however detected a few small ones before impact. The first happened in 2008, when a ~4-meter asteroid was found to be on a collision course less than a day before impact, it was predicted to fall in Northern Sudan, and then actually observed falling precisely where (and when) expected.|
|this is another reply||>After|
|DVK: And to add what MM said - Check out http://neo.ssa.esa.int. There is a ‘discovery statistics’ section which provides some of the info you asked about. NASA is providing similar information here https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/stats/. To see the sky which is currently covered by the survey telescopes, you need to service of the Minor Planet Center which we all work together with: http://www.minorplanetcenter.org, ‘observers’, ‘sky coverage’. That is a tool we use to plan where we look with our telescopes, so it is a more technical page.|
|Are there any automatic systems for checking large numbers of asteroids orbits, to see if the asteroid's orbit is coming dangerously close to Earth, or is it done by people individually for every asteroid? I ask it because LSST Rubin is coming online soon and you know it will discover a lot of new asteroids.||Yes, such systems exist, and monitor all known and newly discovered asteroids in order to predict possible future impacts.|
|The end result of the process is what we call "risk list": http://neo.ssa.esa.int/risk-page|
|It is automatically updated every day once new observational data is processed.|
|What are your favourite sci-fi series?||DVK: My favorites are ‘The Expanse’, I also liked watching ‘Salvation’. For the first one I even got my family to give me a new subscription to a known internet streaming service so that I can see the latest episodes. I also loved ‘The Jetsons’ and ‘The Flintstones’ as a kid. Not sure the last one counts as sci-fi though. My long-time favorite was ‘Dark Star’.|
|this is another reply||Big fan of The Expanse at the moment. Nice, hard sci-fi that has a good impression of being grounded in reality - AC|
|this is another reply||When I was a kid I liked The Jetsons, when growing up Star Trek, Star wars and I also used to watch with my sister the 'V'.|
|When determining the potential threat of a NEA, is the mass of an object a bigger factor or size? I'm asking because I'm curious if a small but massive object (say, with the density of Psyche) could survive atmospheric entry better than a comparatively larger but less massive object.||The mass is indeed what really matters, since it’s directly related with the impact energy.|
|And as you said composition also matters, a metal object would survive atmospheric entry better, not just because it’s heavier, but also because of its internal strength.|
|What are your thoughts on asteroid mining as portrayed in sci-fi movies? Is it feasible? If so would governments or private space programs be the first to do so?What type of minerals can be found on asteroids that would merit the costs of extraction?||Certainly there is valuable stuff you can find on asteroids. For example, the likely easiest material you can harvest from an asteroid would be volatiles such as H2O. Then you have industrial metals, things like Iron, Nickel, and Platinum group metals. Going further, you can break apart many of the oxide minerals you would find to get oxygen (getting you closer to producing rocket fuel in-situ!). Its feasible, but still needs alot of testing both here on Earth and eventually needs to be tested on a target. It may be that governments, via agencies like ESA or NASA, may do it first, to prove the principles somewhat, but I know many commercial entities are also aggresively working towards space mining. To show you that its definitely possible, I'd like to plug the work of colleagues who have processed lunar regolith (which is similar to what you may find on asteroids) to extract both oxygen and metals. Check it out here: http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2019/10/Oxygen_and_metal_from_lunar_regolith|
|Will 2020's climax be a really big rock?||DVK: Let's hope not...|
|Considering NASA, ESA, IAU etc. is working hard to track Earth-grazing asteroids, how come the Chelyabinsk object that airburst over Russia in 2013 came as a total surprise?||The Chelyabinsk object came from the direction of the Sun, where unfortunately ground-based telescopes cannot look at. Therefore, it would not have been possible to discover it in advance with current telescopes. Dedicated space telescopes are needed to detect objects coming from this direction in advance.|
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|Is this to say that it was within specific solid angles for the entire time that we could have observed it given its size and speed?||Yes, precisely that. We got unlucky in this case.|
|Have any of you read Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven? In your opinion, how realistic is his depiction of an asteroid strike on Earth?||DVK: I have – but really long ago, so I don’t remember the details. But I do remember that I really liked the book, and I remember I always wanted to have a Hot Fudge Sundae when reading it.|
|I was thinking about the asteroid threat as a teen and came up with this ideas (Hint: they are not equally serious, the level of craziness goes up real quick). Could you please comment on their feasibility? 1. Attaching a rocket engine to an asteroid to make it gradually change trajectory, do that long in advance and it will miss Earth by thousands of km 2. Transporting acid onto asteroid (which are mainly metal), attaching a dome-shaped reaction chamber to it, using heat and pressure to then carry out the chemical reaction to disintegrate asteroids 3. This one is even more terrible than a previous one and totally Dan Brown inspired — transporting antimatter on asteroid, impacting and causing annihilation. Thank you for this AMA and your time!||DVK: Well the first one is not so crazy, I have seen it presented... the difficulty is that all asteroids are rotating in one way or another. So if you continuously fire the engine it would not really help. You'd need to switch the engine on and off. Very complex. And landing on an asteroid is challenging too. Just using the 'kinetic impactor' which we will test with DART/Hera (described elsewhere in this chat) is simpler. Another seriously proposed concept is to put a spacecraft next to an asteroid and use an ion engine (like we have on our Mercury mission BepiColombo) to 'push' the asteroid away.|
|As for 2 and 3 I think I will not live to see that happening ;-)|
|What is the process to determine the orbit of a newly discovered asteroid?||The process is mathematically quite complex, but here's a short summary.|
|Everything starts with observations, in particular with measurements of the position of an asteroid in the sky, what we call "astrometry". Discovery telescopes extract this information from their discovery images, and make it available to everybody.|
|These datapoints are then used to calculate possible trajectories ("orbits") that pass through them. At first, with very few points, many orbits will be possible.|
|Using these orbits we can extrapolate where the asteroid will be located during the following nights, use a telescope to observe that part of the sky, and locate the object again.|
|From these new observations we can extract new "astrometry", add it to the orbit determination, and see that now only some of the possible orbits will be compatible with the new data. As a result, we now know the trajectory better than before, because a few of the possible orbits are not confirmed by the new data.|
|The cycle can then continue, with new predictions, new observations, and a more accurate determination of the object's orbit, until it can be determined with an extremely high level of accuracy.|
|What are some asteroids that are on your "watchlist"?||We have exactly that list on our web portal: http://neo.ssa.esa.int/risk-page|
|It's called "risk list", and it includes all known asteroids for which we cannot exclude a possible impact over the next century. It is updated every day to include newly discovered asteroids, and remove those that have been excluded as possible impactors thanks to new observations.|
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|That's quite a list!! Do you guys ever feel stressed or afraid when you have to add another dangerous candidate (and by dangerous I mean those above 200m) is added to this Risk List?||Yes, when new dangerous ones are added it's important that we immediately do our best to gather more data on them, observing them with telescopes in order to get the information we need to improve our knowledge of their orbit.|
|And then the satisfaction of getting the data needed to remove one from the list is even greater!|
|What inspired you to go into this field of study?||I was fascinated by astronomy in general since I was a kid, but the actual "trigger" that sparked my interest in NEOs was a wonderful summer course on asteroids organized by a local amateur astronomers association. I immediately decided that I would do my best to turn this passion into my job, and I'm so happy to have been able to make that dream come true.|
|this is another reply||DVK: I started observing meteors when I was 14, just by going outside and looking at the night sky. Since then, small bodies in the solar system were always my passion.|
|As a layperson, I still think using nuclear weapons against asteroids is the coolest method despite better methods generally being available. Do you still consider the nuclear option the cool option, or has your expertise in the field combined with the real-life impracticalities made it into a laughable/silly/cliche option?||DVK: We indeed still study the nuclear option. There are legal aspects though, the ‘outer space treaty’ forbids nuclear explosions in space. But for a large object or one we discover very late it could be useful. That’s why we have to focus on discovering all the objects out there as early as possible – then we have time enough to use more conventional deflection methods, like the kinetic impactor (the DART/Hera scenario).|
|It seems like doing this well would require international cooperation, particularly with Russia. Have you ever reached out to Russia in your work? Do you have a counterpart organization there that has a similar mission?||DVK: Indeed international cooperation is important - asteroids don't know about our borders! We work with a Russian team to perform follow-up observations of recently discovered NEOs. Russia is also involved in the UN-endorsed working groups that we have, IAWN and SMPAG (explained in another answer).|
|how much can experts tell from a video of a fireball or meteor? Can you work out what it's made of and where it came from? https://www.reddit.com/space/comments/hdf3xe/footage_of_a_meteor_at_barrow_island_australia/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x||If multiple videos or pictures, taken from different locations, are available, then it's possible to reconstruct the trajectory, and extrapolate where the object came from.|
|Regarding the composition, it's a bit more difficult if nothing survives to the ground, but some information can be obtained indirectly from the fireball's color, or its fragmentation behavior. If a spectral analysis of the light can be made, it's then possible to infer the chemical composition in much greater detail.|
|I've always wanted to know what the best meteorite buying site is and what their average price is??||DVK: Serious dealers will be registered with the 'International Meteorite Collectors Association (IMCA)' - https://www.imca.cc/. They should provide a 'certificate of authenticity' where it says that they are member there. If you are in doubt, you can contact the association and check. Normally there are rough prices for different meteorite types per gram. Rare meteorites will of course be much more expensive than more common ones. Check the IMCA web page to find a dealer close to you.|
|Just read through Aidans link to the basaltic rock being used as a printing material for lunar habitation. There is a company called Roxul that does stone woven insulation that may be able to shed some light on the research they have done to minimize their similarity to asbestos as potentially carcinogenic materials deemed safe for use in commercial and residential applications. As the interior surfaces will essentially be 3D printed lunar regolith what are the current plans to coat or dampen the affinity for the structure to essentially be death traps for respiratory illness?||At least initially, many of these 3d printed regolith structures would not be facing into pressurised sections, but would rather be elements placed outside and around our pressure vessels. Such structures would be things like radiation shields, landing pads or roadways, etc. In the future, if we move towards forming hermetically sealed structures, then your point is a good one. Looking into terrestrial solutions to this problem would be a great start! - AC|
|What kind of career path does it take to work in the asteroid hunting field?||It's probably different for each of us, but here's a short summary of my own path.|
|I became interested in asteroids, and near-Earth objects in particular, thanks to a wonderful summer course organized by a local amateur astronomers association. Amateur astronomers play a great role in introducing people, and young kids in particular, to these topics.|
|Then I took physics as my undergrad degree (in Italy), followed by a Ph.D. in astronomy in the US (Hawaii in particular, a great place for astronomers thanks to the exceptional telescopes hosted there).|
|After finishing the Ph.D. I started my current job at ESA's NEO Coordination Centre, which allowed me to realize my dream of working in this field.|
|this is another reply||DVK: Almost all of us have a Master's degree either in aerospace engineering, mathematics, physics/astronomy/planetary science, or computer science. Some of us - as MM - have a Ph.D. too. But that's not really a requirement. This is true for our team at ESA, but also for other teams in other countries.|
|What is the likelihood of an asteroid hitting the Earth In the next 200 years?||It depends on the size, large ones are rare, while small ones are much more common. You can check this infographics to get the numbers for each size class: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2018/06/Asteroid_danger_explained|
|Have you played the Earth Defence Force games and if you have, which one is your favourite?||No I have not played the Earth Defence Force games, but I just looked it up and I think I would liked it. Which one would you recommend?|
|How close is too close to earth? Space is a SUPER vast void so is 1,000,000 miles close, 10,000,000? And if an asteroid is big enough can it throw earth off its orbit?||DVK: Too close for my taste is when we compute an impact probability > 0 for the object. That means the flyby distance is zero :-) Those are the objects on our risk page http://neo.ssa.esa.int/risk-page.|
|If an object can alter the orbit of another one, we would call it planet. So unless we have a rogue planet coming from another solar system (verrry unlikely) we are safe from that.|
|How can I join you when I'm older?||DVK: Somebody was asking about our career paths... Study aerospace engineering or math or physics or computer science, get a Masters. Possibly a Ph.D. Then apply for my position when I retire. Check here for how to apply at ESA: https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA/Frequently_asked_questions2#HR1|
|How much is too much?||DVK: 42 again|
|Are you aware of any asteroids that are theoretically within our reach, or will be within our reach at some point, that are carrying a large quantity of shungite? If you're not aware, shungite is like a 2 billion year old like, rock stone that protects against frequencies and unwanted frequencies that may be traveling in the air. I bought a whole bunch of the stuff. Put them around the la casa. Little pyramids, stuff like that.||DVK: If I remember my geology properly, Shungite forms in water sedimental deposits. This requires liquid water, i.e. a larger planet. So I don't think there is a high chance to see that on asteroids.|
1a. Have not heard any from Latin America.
1b. Officially there is only one case in Africa.Lots of construction crew traffic between China and African countries.African doctors have emailed John to say there are probably cases there.Diagnostic kits have only just arrived in Africa.
2a. Basically globally yes.
2b. Chinese figures are not accurate, but they report a slowdown in infection rate in China.China has implemented draconian quarantine measures that the West could not easily do. eg forbidding cars.It is probably going to spread to every country.But epidemics cannot rise forever and they naturally peak, and this is happening in Hubei province already.In other parts of China the infection curve is still increasing.The strong quarantine measures are slowing the spread. The most likely effect of this is that the same number will get infected but it will be spread over longer time. Chinese schools are closed.
2c. South Korea is reporting a huge increase in cremations in North Korea. Unknown why.
2d. Vietnam has closed all schools. Areas near China border have been closed.
2e. Some new cases have no clear link to Wuhan. One superspreader from England could be traced to Wuhan. Other cases now have no known link. That is why we are at the start of a pandemic.
3a. Some reports from in Iran that the virulence of the disease in Iran is much stronger than in China.Some reports that cause of death of COVID19 cases is viral myocarditis. Can also lead to heart failure.Yes, this could be due to mutation.
3b. It is a single RNA strand which allows it to mutate quickly.If it mutates to be less effective it will die out. But it can evolve the other way.Do not know if this explains the reported Case Fatality Rate difference in Iran.
3c. Having a worse healthcare system in Iran will also increase the CFR.
4a. Mostly people will get rid of pneumonia completely and have no long term harm from it.So just having pneumonia previously, No.
4b. If you have an existing degenerative lung disease, and defective cilia, that prevents pneumonia from being cured.
4c. Asthma inflames the bronchial airways. Their airways are most sensitive, so getting the virus will make their airways inflamed even more than normal.Steroids can reduce immune system effectiveness, and brown inhalers for asthma have steroids, so ask your doctor if yo should continue using the brown inhaler if you get COVID19.
5a. The nearest analogous virus is 2002 SARS, which survived over 5 days at 5°C and not as long at warmer temperatures.
5b. There is probably little risk from packages. Leave it for a month before openning and all the virus particles should be dead. Warm up the package and it should take less time.
Yes. This is going to be a pandemic, so it will probably go everywhere.
7a. None. Normally you give an antivrial drug. There is none currently for COVID19.
7b. If you do get it, rest your heart, don't do normal duties.Heart muscle cells do not divide and heal after damage.
No! If anything you would want more enzymes, not less.
1a. background: Antigens, Antibodies, Immunoglobulin.
1b. There is no antibody test yet, but that is the usual method for other viruses.
1c. PCR amplifies the RNA strand of SARS-CoV-2 (if present). Takes a day to do.
2a. Incubation typically 4 to 6 days.
2b. Quarantine are using between 2 and 14.
2c. At least one documented case of it being 28 days.
2d. Suspected origin of the virus.
The virus may have started in a bat, jumped from the bat to another animal,
then jumped from that animal into a human.
The first infected human infected two other people who infected others.(ie- a mostly binary tree of spread).
This gives rise to multiple copies of the virus which during reproduction
may become different serotypes, and so may have different incubation periods.
2e. A recent paper says the virus may be most infectious 3 or 4 days after infection.
An epidemic is a large localised outbreak.
Technically, a pandemic is when a disease is on two or more continents.
The WHO only uses "pandemic" to describe viral community spread on multiple continents.
Yes, cases as long as 28 days.
Remdesivir developed for Ebola, unknown if effective against Covid19.
Doctors sometimes do "compassionate prescribing" which is a guess at what will work.
Randomised controlled trials are being done on different options.
Yes, it's been spreading there.
7a. background: Virus triggers antibodies, antibody kills virus. Antibodies should kill virus if it is reintroduced so that "reinfection" (probably meant illness) does not happen.
7b. In other viruses "Antibody-enhanced infection" can occur, where infection by a different strain of the virus can be more severe than if you hadn't been infected with the original virus. eg Dengue A and Dengue B.
7c. Antibody diagram [0:22:29]Normally immune cells will recognise, attack, and kill the virus.Immune cells have "Fc" receptors on their surface which will accept the combined viral particle and antibody. Sometimes this does not kill the virus but attaching to the immune cell helps the virus invade the immune cell, so it destroys the immune cells.In Dengue Fever, making antibodies to Dengue A makes you more susceptible to Dengue B.
7d. Speculation that some young medical staff died because they may have got several serotypesof the virus at same time, which would be more fatal if antibody-enhanced infection occurs.
7e. Re-infection (of Covid19) is possible but has not been clearly demonstrated.If this happens then we may be stuck with Covid19 for decades.
Not sure. Possible exacerbating factors are sleep deprivation, concurrent infection
by several types/strains, or other bacteria.
Superspreaders are people who spread the disease to a lot of people.
The R_0 is 2.6 on average, but some people can infect far more than 3 people.
They may have lifestyle factors which allow them to infect more people than average.
They shed a lot more virus particles but the biological mechanism is not known.
Possibly their immune system is strong enough to stop illness but not to eradicate the virus.
It's possible, but let's hope not.
I don't know, the computer hasn't done this before.
We don't know.
Lots of daily flights between Pakistan and China, and crowded areas in Pakistan.
Likely that Covid19 is in Pakistan but not confirmed.
Sequelae are pathological features that persist after the original infection is gone.
15a. Droplets. Big droplets of water in exhaled breath. Spreads over short distance of few metres.This can be directly person-to-person. But droplets also fall onto a surface, touching your mucous membranes after touching the droplets will then infect.
15b. We now know SARS-CoV-2 is spread in the air. Can be spread in ventilation systems.This is probably why it is spreading quickly.
15c. Faeces. Defecating in a public toilet, flushing the toilet aerosolises the virus,and people can touch another surface that the aerosol lands on.
15d. Urine. The virus is expelled in urine. This was discovered today. The urine can be aerosolised during normal urination. Men at urinals especially.Although there is no data, based on above it could spread through sewerage.
That's exactly what seems to have happened on the Diamond Princess.
Chinese officials have also said this happens.
There is no medical journal paper which says this yet, but the answer appears to be Yes.
In diabetes the blood sugar goes high.
A macrophage(white cell) will move through tissue to eat viruses.
If there is a lot of sugar in the cell the macrophage can't move easily to get to the virus.
High sugar levels can inhibit the efficiency of the immmune system.
This can happen without diabetes. People with diabetes can manage their sugar level to avoid this.
18a. Yes. Important to protect ill people from all secondary infections.
18b. You can also get bacterial secondary infection.Virus gets into lining of bronchial tubes, eventually kill them.This leaves gaps in the lining of the tubes, which allows bacteria to get in and live there.This is a use for antibacterial drugs while recovering from a virus.
Seasonality happens in other viruses, such as influenza which doesn't survive well in warm weather.
The virus survives [probably means outside the body] best at 5°C, and about a day at 20°C.
It's killed quickly by the UV in sunshine and by heat.
Warm weather will reduce spread by surface droplet deposits, but not via aerosols.
Australia is very hot this time of year but it could still spread in Australia.
I don't think so, for two reasons.
If they wanted to they could make one much more effective than this.
Phylogenetic studies show it is probably a natural virus from bats.
21a. We don't know.
21b. SARS survived well at low humidity, badly at 50% humidity, and well at high humidity.By analogy, high humidity will not protect you.
Work being done by lots of different places. Many steps to ensure it doesn't make things worse.
Probably be 18 months before it works.
Forget about having a vaccine to stop this first outbreak in 2020.
In other animals the coronavirus tends to mainly infect the gastrointestinal tract.
In humans it will also sometimes infect the gastrointestinal tract, and in a minority of cases that has been the first visible symptom.
This can mislead diagnosis, and sending patients to an abdominal surgical ward has in the past led to accidental infection of other surgical ward patients with the virus.
The NHS web site says Yes.
If a town has 10,000 people infected, 20% will get severe disease and 5% will be critical.
This would mean 2000 that need oxygen and 500 would need Intensive Care.
A typical hospital could not deliver 2000 oxygen bottles and has no more than 9 ICU beds.
UK hospitals are sometimes unable to cope with normal seasonal flu.
To say the whole NHS is fully prepared is laughable and is not being honest.
Modelling by Imperial College shows 60% of population could get the infection and 30% become sick.
Silver and iodine kill everything.
I can't possibly see how you would get silver into your lungs to kill viruses and bacteria.
The older the person the greater the risk, but no data about kidney function.
Long term conditions have to be controlled.
There are six cities that may be closed down.
The elections have meant less infection control than would be desirable.
We don't know. Probably not.
A 70% alcohol solution will kill the virus, but it is not a good idea to try this on masks.
No. This is new.
The WHO named the new virus similar to the old 2002 SARS CoV even though it's unrelated.
It causes similar clinical features to the old one.
[1:11:00] Masks have to fit properly, but they are not of much use outside of hospitals.
35a. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. The alveoli fill with fluid.
35b. Hypoxaemia, hypoxia, tissue damage.This can be tested with small blood oxygen monitor devices.
35c. Initially it is a dry cough, but it progresses into the pneumonia symptoms and fever.When using electronic temperature sensors the ear is usually more accurate.
Taking vitamin C can shorten the duration of some virus types, but very large doses are harmful.
Taking vitamin C can only help if you were unusually deficient in it.
People who live at high latitudes or have dark skin are most likely to be short of vitamin D.
Yes, measles is even more contagious than SARS-CoV-2.
Yes. (less sunlight)
Supplements won't help if you're not malnourished.
The epidemic is peaking in Wuhan.
The epidemic will peak in Western countries in 4 months,which will not be a good time to travel.
They may not be on.
40a. Some data shows smokers get more severe disease.Air pollution in China is probably also a factor.
40b. More men than women have gotten the disease which may be because more men smoke than women.
Because it's an island, but you are not immune to the virus.
We saw some early videos of adult people having fits but they were likely bogus.
A fever of 39°C would not cause fitting.
So, No, not as far as I know and it shouldn't.
About 60% infected in the first year and 30% will be sick.
They will be needed. Not yet needed in the short term.
This has spread by international air travel. It's a pretty short debate.
MS does not compromise the immune system. But being disabled will make it more difficult to avoid.
Don't open the front door if possible.
Use hand washing, masks, avoid public toilets, use tissues to avoid touching surfaces.
Stop hugging, kissing, shaking hands, touching other people's phones.
Get plenty of sleep and good nutrition.
About 18 months (already answered earlier).
It hasn't got there yet, or cases are not being reported.
Not directly as far as we know.
(water drink break.)
But hypoxia from ARDS/Pneumonia will damage the brain before it damages anything else.
Normally no. If it mutates then Yes.
It been suggested this will help. It's being trialled. We won't know for another 2 weeks.
He would prescribe it now if could help.
Yes. Normal washing will flush it out.
Cooking will kill the virus.
If viral particles land on an apple, it can be spread by touching the apple (and eating it).
Running soap and water over it will get rid of it.
Different types of vaccine to different causes of pneumonia.
This a new virus.
So answer is absolutely not. No protection.
They are being tested in China.
It's possible but I don't know.
We'll know in 3 weeks.
Children under 12 tend to get it less frequently than adults, and get disease less severely.
But children can incubate the virus without feeling ill.
This makes them more likely to be superspreaders.
The answer is Yes.
No, cough medicines do not do that.
They do not help with pneumonia.
Cough medicines are basically a waste of money.
It will have no beneficial effect whatsoever.
Bronchodilators will help if someone has asthma.
As of now, no drug that can be nebulised will help with SARS-CoV-2.
Yes. Because it can cause sepsis.
White blood cells detect infection and release cytokines.
Cytokines are supposed to travel to other parts of the body to cause various immune responses.
But a lot of cytokines simultaneously will cause Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Sepsis symptoms are high: heart rate, breathing rate, temperature, white blood cells, sugar, lactic acid.
It is rare.
[1:48:22](note, he asked not to quote him on this, so I won't transcribe his answer.)
It's difficult to put dates on this.
This drug (and Ibuprofen) lower your temperature.
But the temperature was supposed to be raised because the immune system works best at the higher temperature.
The answer is Yes it does.
As far as we know there are no adverse effects on pregnancy.
Pregnant women should still try to isolate themselves as much as possible to avoid infection.
submitted by bitmex_register to u/bitmex_register [link] [comments]
Founded by HDR Global Trading Limited (which in turn was founded by former bankers Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed and Ben Delo) in 2014, BitMEX is a trading platform operating around the world and registered in the Seychelles.
Meaning Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, BitMEX is one of the largest Bitcoin trading platforms currently operating, with a daily trading volume of over 35,000 BTC and over 540,000 accesses monthly and a trading history of over $34 billion worth of Bitcoin since its inception.
Unlike many other trading exchanges, BitMEX only accepts deposits through Bitcoin, which can then be used to purchase a variety of other cryptocurrencies. BitMEX specialises in sophisticated financial operations such as margin trading, which is trading with leverage. Like many of the exchanges that operate through cryptocurrencies, BitMEX is currently unregulated in any jurisdiction.
How to Sign Up to BitMEXIn order to create an account on BitMEX, users first have to register with the website. Registration only requires an email address, the email address must be a genuine address as users will receive an email to confirm registration in order to verify the account. Once users are registered, there are no trading limits. Traders must be at least 18 years of age to sign up.
However, it should be noted that BitMEX does not accept any US-based traders and will use IP checks to verify that users are not in the US. While some US users have bypassed this with the use of a VPN, it is not recommended that US individuals sign up to the BitMEX service, especially given the fact that alternative exchanges are available to service US customers that function within the US legal framework.
How to Use BitMEX
BitMEX allows users to trade cryptocurrencies against a number of fiat currencies, namely the US Dollar, the Japanese Yen and the Chinese Yuan. BitMEX allows users to trade a number of different cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Monero, Ripple, Tezos and Zcash.
The trading platform on BitMEX is very intuitive and easy to use for those familiar with similar markets. However, it is not for the beginner. The interface does look a little dated when compared to newer exchanges like Binance and Kucoin’s.
Once users have signed up to the platform, they should click on Trade, and all the trading instruments will be displayed beneath.
Clicking on the particular instrument opens the orderbook, recent trades, and the order slip on the left. The order book shows three columns – the bid value for the underlying asset, the quantity of the order, and the total USD value of all orders, both short and long.
The widgets on the trading platform can be changed according to the user’s viewing preferences, allowing users to have full control on what is displayed. It also has a built in feature that provides for TradingView charting. This offers a wide range of charting tool and is considered to be an improvement on many of the offering available from many of its competitors.
Once trades are made, all orders can be easily viewed in the trading platform interface. There are tabs where users can select their Active Orders, see the Stops that are in place, check the Orders Filled (total or partially) and the trade history. On the Active Orders and Stops tabs, traders can cancel any order, by clicking the “Cancel” button. Users also see all currently open positions, with an analysis if it is in the black or red.
BitMEX uses a method called auto-deleveraging which BitMEX uses to ensure that liquidated positions are able to be closed even in a volatile market. Auto-deleveraging means that if a position bankrupts without available liquidity, the positive side of the position deleverages, in order of profitability and leverage, the highest leveraged position first in queue. Traders are always shown where they sit in the auto-deleveraging queue, if such is needed.
Although the BitMEX platform is optimized for mobile, it only has an Android app (which is not official). There is no iOS app available at present. However, it is recommended that users use it on the desktop if possible.
BitMEX offers a variety of order types for users:
Futures and SwapsA futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a given asset in the future at a predetermined price. On BitMEX, users can leverage up to 100x on certain contracts.
Perpetual swaps are similar to futures, except that there is no expiry date for them and no settlement. Additionally, they trade close to the underlying reference Index Price, unlike futures, which may diverge substantially from the Index Price.
BitMEX also offers Binary series contracts, which are prediction-based contracts which can only settle at either 0 or 100. In essence, the Binary series contracts are a more complicated way of making a bet on a given event.
The only Binary series betting instrument currently available is related to the next 1mb block on the Bitcoin blockchain. Binary series contracts are traded with no leverage, a 0% maker fee, a 0.25% taker fee and 0.25% settlement fee.
Bitmex LeverageBitMEX allows its traders to leverage their position on the platform. Leverage is the ability to place orders that are bigger than the users’ existing balance. This could lead to a higher profit in comparison when placing an order with only the wallet balance. Trading in such conditions is called “Margin Trading.”
There are two types of Margin Trading: Isolated and Cross-Margin. The former allows the user to select the amount of money in their wallet that should be used to hold their position after an order is placed. However, the latter provides that all of the money in the users’ wallet can be used to hold their position, and therefore should be treated with extreme caution.
The BitMEX platform allows users to set their leverage level by using the leverage slider. A maximum leverage of 1:100 is available (on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash). This is quite a high level of leverage for cryptocurrencies, with the average offered by other exchanges rarely exceeding 1:20.
BitMEX FeesFor traditional futures trading, BitMEX has a straightforward fee schedule. As noted, in terms of leverage offered, BitMEX offers up to 100% leverage, with the amount off leverage varying from product to product.
However, it should be noted that trading at the highest leverages is sophisticated and is intended for professional investors that are familiar with speculative trading. The fees and leverage are as follows:
However, there are additional fees for hidden / iceberg orders. A hidden order pays the taker fee until the entire hidden quantity is completely executed. Then, the order will become normal, and the user will receive the maker rebate for the non-hidden amount.
Deposits and WithdrawalsBitMEX does not charge fees on deposits or withdrawals. However, when withdrawing Bitcoin, the minimum Network fee is based on blockchain load. The only costs therefore are those of the banks or the cryptocurrency networks.
As noted previously, BitMEX only accepts deposits in Bitcoin and therefore Bitcoin serves as collateral on trading contracts, regardless of whether or not the trade involves Bitcoin.
The minimum deposit is 0.001 BTC. There are no limits on withdrawals, but withdrawals can also be in Bitcoin only. To make a withdrawal, all that users need to do is insert the amount to withdraw and the wallet address to complete the transfer.
Deposits can be made 24/7 but withdrawals are processed by hand at a recurring time once per day. The hand processed withdrawals are intended to increase the security levels of users’ funds by providing extra time (and email notice) to cancel any fraudulent withdrawal requests, as well as bypassing the use of automated systems & hot wallets which may be more prone to compromise.
Supported CurrenciesBitMEX operates as a crypto to crypto exchange and makes use of a Bitcoin-in/Bitcoin-out structure. Therefore, platform users are currently unable to use fiat currencies for any payments or transfers, however, a plus side of this is that there are no limits for trading and the exchange incorporates trading pairs linked to the US Dollar (XBT), Japanese Yen (XBJ), and Chinese Yuan (XBC).
BitMEX supports the following cryptocurrencies:
Trading Technologies International PartnershipHDR Global Trading, the company which owns BitMEX, has recently announced a partnership with Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a leading international high-performance trading software provider.
The TT platform is designed specifically for professional traders, brokers, and market-access providers, and incorporates a wide variety of trading tools and analytical indicators that allow even the most advanced traders to customize the software to suit their unique trading styles. The TT platform also provides traders with global market access and trade execution through its privately managed infrastructure and the partnership will see BitMEX users gaining access to the trading tools on all BitMEX products, including the popular XBT/USD Perpetual Swap pairing.
The BitMEX Insurance FundThe ability to trade on leverage is one of the exchange’s main selling points and offering leverage and providing the opportunity for traders to trade against each other may result in a situation where the winners do not receive all of their expected profits. As a result of the amounts of leverage involved, it’s possible that the losers may not have enough margin in their positions to pay the winners.
Traditional exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offset this problem by utilizing multiple layers of protection and cryptocurrency trading platforms offering leverage cannot currently match the levels of protection provided to winning traders.
In addition, cryptocurrency exchanges offering leveraged trades propose a capped downside and unlimited upside on a highly volatile asset with the caveat being that on occasion, there may not be enough funds in the system to pay out the winners.
To help solve this problem, BitMEX has developed an insurance fund system, and when a trader has an open leveraged position, their position is forcefully closed or liquidated when their maintenance margin is too low.
Here, a trader’s profit and loss does not reflect the actual price their position was closed on the market, and with BitMEX when a trader is liquidated, their equity associated with the position drops down to zero.
In the following example, the trader has taken a 100x long position. In the event that the mark price of Bitcoin falls to $3,980 (by 0.5%), then the position gets liquidated with the 100 Bitcoin position needing to be sold on the market.
This means that it does not matter what price this trade executes at, namely if it’s $3,995 or $3,000, as from the view of the liquidated trader, regardless of the price, they lose all the equity they had in their position, and lose the entire one Bitcoin.
Assuming there is a fully liquid market, the bid/ask spread should be tighter than the maintenance margin. Here, liquidations manifest as contributions to the insurance fund (e.g. if the maintenance margin is 50bps, but the market is 1bp wide), and the insurance fund should rise by close to the same amount as the maintenance margin when a position is liquidated. In this scenario, as long as healthy liquid markets persist, the insurance fund should continue its steady growth.
The following graphs further illustrate the example, and in the first chart, market conditions are healthy with a narrow bid/ask spread (just $2) at the time of liquidation. Here, the closing trade occurs at a higher price than the bankruptcy price (the price where the margin balance is zero) and the insurance fund benefits.
Illustrative example of an insurance contribution – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral
(Note: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments.
The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,978, representing $1 of slippage compared to the $3,979 bid price at the time of liquidation.)
The second chart shows a wide bid/ask spread at the time of liquidation, here, the closing trade takes place at a lower price than the bankruptcy price, and the insurance fund is used to make sure that winning traders receive their expected profits.
This works to stabilize the potential for returns as there is no guarantee that healthy market conditions can continue, especially during periods of heightened price volatility. During these periods, it’s actually possible that the insurance fund can be used up than it is built up.
Illustrative example of an insurance depletion – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral
(Notes: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments.
The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,800, representing $20 of slippage compared to the $3,820 bid price at the time of liquidation.)
The exchange declared in February 2019, that the BitMEX insurance fund retained close to 21,000 Bitcoin (around $70 million based on Bitcoin spot prices at the time).
This figure represents just 0.007% of BitMEX’s notional annual trading volume, which has been quoted as being approximately $1 trillion. This is higher than the insurance funds as a proportion of trading volume of the CME, and therefore, winning traders on BitMEX are exposed to much larger risks than CME traders as:
This system may appear controversial as first, though some may argue that there is a degree of uniformity to it. It’s also worth noting that the exchange also makes use of Auto Deleveraging which means that on occasion, leveraged positions in profit can still be reduced during certain time periods if a liquidated order cannot be executed in the market.
More adventurous traders should note that while the insurance fund holds 21,000 Bitcoin, worth approximately 0.1% of the total Bitcoin supply, BitMEX still doesn’t offer the same level of guarantees to winning traders that are provided by more traditional leveraged trading platforms.
Given the inherent volatility of the cryptocurrency market, there remains some possibility that the fund gets drained down to zero despite its current size. This may result in more successful traders lacking confidence in the platform and choosing to limit their exposure in the event of BitMEX being unable to compensate winning traders.
How suitable is BitMEX for Beginners?BitMEX generates high Bitcoin trading levels, and also attracts good levels of volume across other crypto-to-crypto transfers. This helps to maintain a buzz around the exchange, and BitMEX also employs relatively low trading fees, and is available round the world (except to US inhabitants).
This helps to attract the attention of people new to the process of trading on leverage and when getting started on the platform there are 5 main navigation Tabs to get used to:
In addition, BitMEX provides a variety of educational resources including an FAQ section, Futures guides, Perpetual Contracts guides, and further resources in the “References” account tab.
For users looking for more in depth analysis, the BitMEX blog produces high level descriptions of a number of subjects and has garnered a good reputation among the cryptocurrency community.
Most importantly, the exchange also maintains a testnet platform, built on top of testnet Bitcoin, which allows anyone to try out programs and strategies before moving on to the live exchange.
This is crucial as despite the wealth of resources available, BitMEX is not really suitable for beginners, and margin trading, futures contracts and swaps are best left to experienced, professional or institutional traders.
Margin trading and choosing to engage in leveraged activity are risky processes and even more advanced traders can describe the process as a high risk and high reward “game”. New entrants to the sector should spend a considerable amount of time learning about margin trading and testing out strategies before considering whether to open a live account.
Is BitMEX Safe?BitMEX is widely considered to have strong levels of security. The platform uses multi-signature deposits and withdrawal schemes which can only be used by BitMEX partners. BitMEX also utilises Amazon Web Services to protect the servers with text messages and two-factor authentication, as well as hardware tokens.
BitMEX also has a system for risk checks, which requires that the sum of all account holdings on the website must be zero. If it’s not, all trading is immediately halted. As noted previously, withdrawals are all individually hand-checked by employees, and private keys are never stored in the cloud. Deposit addresses are externally verified to make sure that they contain matching keys. If they do not, there is an immediate system shutdown.
In addition, the BitMEX trading platform is written in kdb+, a database and toolset popular amongst major banks in high frequency trading applications. The BitMEX engine appears to be faster and more reliable than some of its competitors, such as Poloniex and Bittrex.
They have email notifications, and PGP encryption is used for all communication.
The exchange hasn’t been hacked in the past.
How Secure is the platform?As previously mentioned, BitMEX is considered to be a safe exchange and incorporates a number of security protocols that are becoming standard among the sector’s leading exchanges. In addition to making use of Amazon Web Services’ cloud security, all the exchange’s systems can only be accessed after passing through multiple forms of authentication, and individual systems are only able to communicate with each other across approved and monitored channels.
Communication is also further secured as the exchange provides optional PGP encryption for all automated emails, and users can insert their PGP public key into the form inside their accounts.
Once set up, BitMEX will encrypt and sign all the automated emails sent by you or to your account by the [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) email address. Users can also initiate secure conversations with the support team by using the email address and public key on the Technical Contact, and the team have made their automated system’s PGP key available for verification in their Security Section.
The platform’s trading engine is written in kdb+, a database and toolset used by leading financial institutions in high-frequency trading applications, and the speed and reliability of the engine is also used to perform a full risk check after every order placement, trade, settlement, deposit, and withdrawal.
All accounts in the system must consistently sum to zero, and if this does not happen then trading on the platform is immediately halted for all users.
With regards to wallet security, BitMEX makes use of a multisignature deposit and withdrawal scheme, and all exchange addresses are multisignature by default with all storage being kept offline. Private keys are not stored on any cloud servers and deep cold storage is used for the majority of funds.
Furthermore, all deposit addresses sent by the BitMEX system are verified by an external service that works to ensure that they contain the keys controlled by the founders, and in the event that the public keys differ, the system is immediately shut down and trading halted. The exchange’s security practices also see that every withdrawal is audited by hand by a minimum of two employees before being sent out.
BitMEX Customer SupportThe trading platform has a 24/7 support on multiple channels, including email, ticket systems and social media. The typical response time from the customer support team is about one hour, and feedback on the customer support generally suggest that the customer service responses are helpful and are not restricted to automated responses.
The BitMEX also offers a knowledge base and FAQs which, although they are not necessarily always helpful, may assist and direct users towards the necessary channels to obtain assistance.
BitMEX also offers trading guides which can be accessed here
ConclusionThere would appear to be few complaints online about BitMEX, with most issues relating to technical matters or about the complexities of using the website. Older complaints also appeared to include issues relating to low liquidity, but this no longer appears to be an issue.
BitMEX is clearly not a platform that is not intended for the amateur investor. The interface is complex and therefore it can be very difficult for users to get used to the platform and to even navigate the website.
However, the platform does provide a wide range of tools and once users have experience of the platform they will appreciate the wide range of information that the platform provides.
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