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Unknown 7m Asteroid Almost Impacted Earth

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-passing-by dept.

Space 289

xp65 writes "A previously undiscovered asteroid came within 14,000 km of Earth — just over one Earth diameter, 1/30 the lunar distance — on Friday, and astronomers noticed it only 15 hours before closest approach. On Nov. 6 at around 16:30 EST, a 7-meter asteroid, now called 2009 VA, came only about 2 Earth radii from impacting our planet. This is the third-closest known non-impacting Earth approach on record for a cataloged asteroid. The asteroid was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey and was quickly identified by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge MA as an object that would soon pass very close to the Earth. JPL's Near-Earth Object Program Office also computed an orbit solution for this object, and determined that it was not headed for an impact." The article notes, "On average, objects the size of 2009 VA pass this close about twice per year and impact Earth about once every 5 years."

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How Much Damage? (1)

WeekendKruzr (562383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049890)

The article doesn't say what level of damage would have resulted from an impact. Anybody want to weigh in?

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

Silicon Jedi (878120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049952)

Less than or Equal to the worst impacts of the last 20 years. AKA Not Much

Re:How Much Damage? (3, Funny)

geeper (883542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050378)

AKA Not Much
Unless it lands on your house!

Re:How Much Damage? (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050414)

Would it penetrate through to basement depth? If not most people here wouldn't notice till the next meal didn't show up.

Re:How Much Damage? (5, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050580)

I think the official name is a "Basement Level Event"

Re:How Much Damage? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050866)

thats what me and your mom were calling last nights event!

Re:How Much Damage? (4, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049954)

Anybody want to weigh in?

You expect nerds and geeks to give their actual weight online?!

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050844)

170 lbs. Sorry don't have it in kilograms

Re:How Much Damage? (2, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049980)

The article doesn't say what level of damage would have resulted from an impact. Anybody want to weigh in?

I remember my old science book said that the one responsible for Meteor Crater was the size of a box car but that's kind of imprecise. It's a question of mass and velocity. The looser, rock-ice bodies tend to explode in the air. We've had a couple historically that were big enough to be mistaken for nuclear tests but they exploded high in the air over remote stretches of ocean.

Re:How Much Damage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050690)

That probably refers to the size of the chunk that actually impacted, not the original size of the asteroid.

Re:How Much Damage? (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050034)

Since it claims objects that size impact Earth about once every 5 years, the damage would be the same that we see every time one of these impacts. If you can't think of the last time that happened or you can't think of a damage report about that, then that should be your answer.

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050172)

a 7 meter object has less than a third of the mass of a 10 meter object. And some of that mass would be lost to ablation on atmospheric entry. Depending on a number of factors the damage would likely be somewhere between a very large conventional bomb and no damage at all.

Re:How Much Damage? (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050688)

Keeping in mind, of course, that most of the Earth is unpopulated -- in all likelihood the asteroid will strike an ocean (unless a very unlucky ship is hit, nobody would notice this) or a desert/forest (again, someone would have to be very unlucky for this to be noticed). Some of the land impacts may never be discovered -- by the time anyone passes near the impact site, natural forces would probably have erased the crater.

Re:How Much Damage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050670)

I wonder if it's possible for such size object to totally destroy the Earth... lets say it was moving at close to the speed of light (or lets say 1/10th the speed of light), would it hit the earth hard enough to destroy it (or would it go through it and exit the other side?).

Re:How Much Damage? (4, Interesting)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050056)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

An impact by an object in this size range [around 10m] would correspond to an impact energy roughly comparable to the Hiroshima bomb, if the object had hit the Earth's surface.

If it hit near the center of a large city it could really suck; however, most of the earth's surface is covered by water, desert, mountains, or rural areas, and thus most asteroid impacts of this size do not cause massive loss of life.

Re:How Much Damage? (3, Interesting)

The_AV8R (1257270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050164)

TFA says 7 meters - which is still 30% smaller than what you quote. 30% off a hiroshima bomb is a lot. Not to mention that the composition of the object has quite an effect as well. I'm going to let a source that carries a little more weight to, well, weigh in on it.

Re:How Much Damage? (4, Informative)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050278)

And I forgot to consider that this was an object of 10 meters or so when it impacted Earth and was thus likely far bigger before entering the atmosphere. An object that was 10 meters before entering the atmosphere would, depending on composition and angle of descent, likely burn away completely before reaching ground. But there might be a midair explosion or fireball sufficient to ignite highly flammable structures.

Re:How Much Damage? (3, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050312)

The energy would correspond to the mass rather than the radius; assuming constant density we can use volume so 7^3/10^3=0.343 or 34% of the energy of the 10m asteroid. I don't know my meteor impact science, but I wouldn't be surprised if the higher surface/volume ratio means proportionally more of it burns up in the atmosphere to reduce the impact energy even further.

Regardless, a post farther down links to an impact calculator that claims it bursts in mid-air and results in no significant impact, so this speculation is moot (I am assuming the calculator is well-written).

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050682)

What about tsunamis?

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050854)

That is, unless your name is either Bambi or Nemo...

Re:How Much Damage? (5, Informative)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050086)

It would most likely bursts into a cloud of fragments at an altitude of 8980 meters. Minor local damage might occur if a larger fragment happens to hit a house.

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/cgi-bin/crater.cgi?dist=0.001&diam=7&pdens=&pdens_select=8000&vel=17&theta=45&tdens=2500&tdens_select=0 [arizona.edu]

Re:How Much Damage? (0, Offtopic)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050326)

And you can boost the local tourism economy by claiming that the fragment looks like Mary or something. Worked before, I think.

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050388)

Minor local damage??? It's a 400 kiloton equivalent airburst energy...

It will do 1 PSI overpressure (broken windows, etc) about 13 kilometers away from ground center point of explosion.

Right under the explosion, it will do about 2.5 PSI overpressure, and collapse relatively weak residential structures.

That energy level is going to kill people, if it's over inhabited areas. Not a lot of people - many or most directly under it would survive that overpressure level - but it will collapse things, and of a few things collapse people will die from the collapses.

Relevant calculations for blast overpressure:
http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq5.html [nuclearweaponarchive.org] Sect 5.6.2 Blast Damage and Injury

Re:How Much Damage? (2, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050578)

As a nitpick, that's actually 40 kiloton equivalent (0.40 x 10^-1 megatons = 0.04 megatons = 40 kilotons). You don't get a 400 kiloton airburst until you go up to 15m diameter [arizona.edu]

Re:How Much Damage? (2, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050586)

40 Kiloton, 40. Not 400.

8980 meters, eh? (5, Funny)

Tsar (536185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050628)

It would most likely bursts into a cloud of fragments at an altitude of 8980 meters. Minor local damage might occur if a larger fragment happens to hit a house.

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/cgi-bin/crater.cgi?dist=0.001&diam=7&pdens=&pdens_select=8000&vel=17&theta=45&tdens=2500&tdens_select=0 [arizona.edu]

Thanks for not rounding that off to "nine kilometers" or even "about 10 km" as some less mathematically-inclined contributors would have done. If you've laboriously and precisely calculated that 2009 AV is exactly 7.000 meters in diameter, has a density of 8.000 g/cm3 and will hit the atmosphere at a 45.00 degree angle at exactly 17.00 km/s, why give up that hard-earned precision in your result?

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050174)

Well my scouter says its pretty weak, but sometimes it can be over 9000

Re:How Much Damage? (5, Informative)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050264)

You can use this [arizona.edu] site to get an estimate.

Result = no strike (2, Interesting)

Macka (9388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050782)

I shoved some numbers in, making it quite dense with the recommended average velocity for an asteroid, impact angle etc and got the following results:

Your Inputs:

Distance from Impact: 1.00 km = 0.62 miles
Projectile Diameter: 7.00 m = 22.96 ft = 0.00 miles
Projectile Density: 3000 kg/m3
Impact Velocity: 17.00 km/s = 10.56 miles/s
Impact Angle: 45 degrees
Target Density: 2500 kg/m3
Target Type: Sedimentary Rock

Energy:

Energy before atmospheric entry: 7.79 x 1013 Joules = 0.19 x 10^-1 MegaTons TNT
The average interval between impacts of this size somewhere on Earth is 5.1 years

Atmospheric Entry:

The projectile begins to breakup at an altitude of 54000 meters = 177000 ft
The projectile bursts into a cloud of fragments at an altitude of 34300 meters = 113000 ft
The residual velocity of the projectile fragments after the burst is 13.7 km/s = 8.49 miles/s
The energy of the airburst is 2.75 x 1013 Joules = 0.66 x 10^-2 MegaTons.
No crater is formed, although large fragments may strike the surface.

Major Global Changes:

The Earth is not strongly disturbed by the impact and loses negligible mass.
The impact does not make a noticeable change in the Earth's rotation period or the tilt of its axis.
The impact does not shift the Earth's orbit noticeably.

Re:How Much Damage? (3, Funny)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050322)

I'm sure if it had been on course to hit Earth, it would have burned up in the atmosphere and whatever's left would be no bigger than a chihuahua's head.

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050792)

a 7-meter asteroid...came only about 2 Earth radii from impacting our planet.

It would have sounded a lot scarier if they said "...about 1 earth diamater..." instead.

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050428)

The article doesn't say what level of damage would have resulted from an impact.

Depends. Is there a modifier for a sneak attack?

Re:How Much Damage? (4, Funny)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050572)

Depends. Is there a modifier for a sneak attack?

yeah, +3 HOLY SHIT A FUCKING METEOR!

Re:How Much Damage? (1)

Random5 (826815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050654)

At least it's not a Meteor Swarm

Sheep (1)

BurzumNazgul (1163509) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049916)

Nice of them to let us know the next day.

OH NOES!!! (1)

Gotung (571984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049936)

Way to sensationalize an asteroid that isn't much bigger then a womprat. If it had hit the Earth, very few people (if any) would have even noticed.

I'll take it out (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050004)

I used to target womprats in my T-16 in Beggar's Canyon back home.

Re:OH NOES!!! (3, Interesting)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050102)

I think the *point* is that we didn't know about it until 15 hours before its closest approach.

The obvious implication being that there could easily be many more out there, possibly much bigger, and possibly on a collision course with earth.

We just dodged a bullet, and you're basically saying "so what, it would only have been a flesh wound anyway".

We had this same discussion [slashdot.org] a few months ago, and it seems like most people on Slashdot think this is no big deal. I hope they are right, because we sure don't seem to be doing much about it.

Re:OH NOES!!! (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050124)

This seems like a nonsensical conclusion -- larger objects are easier to detect, both by virtue of being larger and, since they are a potential threat, are more worthy of attention and effort.

Re:OH NOES!!! (3, Informative)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050242)

They're only easier to detect if you're looking in the right direction.

If you've only surveyed a small fraction of the relevant space, you've likely missed all objects of ALL sizes.

According to NASA they are tracking 90% of 1km NEOs, but they aren't satisfied with that and neither am I.

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/08/nasa-asteroid-tracking-program-stalled-due-to-lack-of-funds.ars [arstechnica.com]

Re:OH NOES!!! (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050346)

Objects, large and small, can only be detected by looking for them. We haven't been doing much of that.

Re:OH NOES!!! (2, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050382)

We track 90% of the near-earth objects that have a possibility of causing global catastrophe. While there's certainly room for improvement, we've actually been doing quite a lot of looking.

To give a sense of scale, global-catastrophic asteroids are 1 km in diameter; this one was 7 m.

Re:OH NOES!!! (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050712)

If we know we're tracking 90% of NEOs, why not the other 10%? Isn't it more likely that number was just made up to give a false sense of security? I remember back in the 90s after the Shoemaker-Levy collision there was a brief increase in funding to NEO tracking; IIRC it didn't last past the end of the decade. And considering the state of this page [nasa.gov] , I don't have a lot of confidence in their efforts.

Re:OH NOES!!! (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050872)

Isn't it more likely that number was just made up to give a false sense of security?

Knowing NASA, no. Is there some component of your argument that isn't just baseless speculation?

This site is better, by the way: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov]

Re:OH NOES!!! (1)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050702)

To quote Billy Bob Thornton in the movie Armageddon:

Well, our object collision budget's a million dollars. That allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and beg'n your pardon sir, but it's a big-ass sky

Re:OH NOES!!! (4, Funny)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050584)

Womprat = 2m

Asteroid = 7m

If by not much bigger you mean nearly triple the size... then yes. It's not much bigger.

this has been you Star Wars nitpick of the day. Thank you.

Re:OH NOES!!! (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050722)

Womprat = 2m

Actually, if you want to nitpick, we don't know how big womprats are, but we know they're bigger than 2m (just "not much bigger"), so "womprat = 2m" is inaccurate. "womprat > 2m".

Re:OH NOES!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050620)

If it had hit the Earth, very few people (if any) would have even noticed.

Damn! This story got me all worked up.

we didn't see it (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050718)

what if we didn't see a 20m asteroid? how about a 100m asteroid? this 7m one makes us think about those possibilities as a completely valid concern

fear mongering is a big problem in this world. but the antidote to fear mongering is NOT complete imperviousness to fear. that's just as idiotic as fearmongering. what you need is balance between panty twisting hysteria and unresponsive inertia

fear is a healthy emotion. it keeps you alive. its a valid motivation, when combined with intelligence

so the proper response to this event is to invest in more monitoring. what is motivating that response? fear. genuine, intelligent, prudent fear

Close only counts (1)

nhytefall (1415959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049960)

In horseshoes, hand grenades, and apparently, astronomy.

Re:Close only counts (1)

hierofalcon (1233282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050168)

Don't forget tactical nuclear, biological and chemical weapons (partially depending on wind speed and direction), really big conventional ordnance however delivered, and of course darts and dancing!

government (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049974)

fucking fail

like usual

i doubt they would try to stop it even any asteroid they were fully capable of it. they are to god damned selfish. the government would retreat to their mass underground tunnel/protection system and wait out the damage while the masses perish.

they are special.

Sounds like a bad science fiction movie premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050008)

And a bad slashdot thread.

sigh.

mod away and throttle this IP address !!!

Tracking/Routing number? (1, Funny)

An anonymous Frank (559486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050024)

Dang! It's the third time they try to ship my package and miss; I've had enough... And so much for the "confidential" packaging!

Hardly noticeable if it impacted (5, Informative)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050040)

Seven meters just isn't all that big. According to the Earth Impact Effects Program [arizona.edu] using typical data: No crater is formed, although large fragments may strike the surface. The air blast at this location would not be noticed.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050186)

It would sound much more sinister and dangerous if they start reporting these sizes in feet and inches. :)

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050302)

It would sound much more sinister and dangerous if they start reporting these sizes in feet and inches. :)

...and its mass in stone.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050810)

Hehe - that may work the other way around...everyone would be so confused to the extent that we just shrug off the danger and stop stressing out about things that "almost" kill us all on a daily basis.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

Haxzaw (1502841) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050342)

Not to mention easier to understand for those of us who have not adopted the metric system. The US has been moving to the metric system for nearly fifty years, and I have no reason to believe it will happen in my lifetime. Anyway, to get back on topic, seven meters is pretty big, I think, at about 21 ft. The nice thing is that since most of Earth's surface is water, the likely hood of a water impact is greater than that of a land impact, and since there is a lot of uninhabited land area, even that isn't too bad.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050908)

Not to mention easier to understand for those of us who have not adopted the metric system.

Some of us, perhaps. Most of the Americans I know have no trouble understanding you if you say 7m, even though we ourselves would say 23 feet instead. Preferring one doesn't mean you don't understand the other. I see no reason at all for the US to adopt the metric system, but I do think all Americans ought to be able to read and understand it. It's a simple matter of literacy, as far as I'm concerned. If I say "the rock is seven meters across" and you don't know what that means, you aren't a competent speaker of the English language. If you do, you are, and all is good. I couldn't care less whether you measure things in feet, meters, or cubits yourself...

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050366)

naaaah. Let it be in meters. We Amurikans don't do metric, and so we're safe.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050574)

It is spelled "American". The least you can do is to properly learn the American Language.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (2, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050510)

I was about to say - missing a 7 meter asteroid passing at that distance is roughly akin to missing a pea in the middle of the highway you're currently doing 60MPH down. In rush hour traffic.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050898)

Well, actually, missing a 7 meter asteroid passing at this distance is exactly akin to missing just about anything in the middle of the highway. Even another 7m asteroid.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050538)

Uh... I punched in some numbers and got a figure of 24 kilotons for the air burst. That's ... a Hiroshima bomb, give or take. I have trouble believing that people wouldn't at least hear it, even if it popped, as the estimate says, at 121,000 feet.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050582)

The airburst would unleash about 130 tons on TNT [arizona.edu] , about 10 times the size of the Hiroshima bomb.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050710)

OK, say it's 10 Little Boys. Somebody on the ground is definitely going to notice that. I think the calculator's got some fuzzy math going on, 'cause I've been fiddling with it for a few minutes and I came up with this:

Distance from Impact: 1.00 km
Projectile Diameter: 70.00 m (10x the size of our rock)
Projectile Density: 3000 kg/m3 (dense rock)
Impact Velocity: 45.00 km/s
Impact Angle: 45 degrees
Target Density: 2500 kg/m3
Target Type: Sedimentary Rock
------
The projectile bursts into a cloud of fragments at an altitude of 2730 meters = 8960 ft
The energy of the airburst is 5.14 x 1017 Joules = 1.23 x 10^2 MegaTons.
------
The air blast at this location would not be noticed. (The overpressure is less than 1 Pa)
------

There's no way a hundred-megaton blast at 9000 feet wouldn't be noticed, if you're fraking standing underneath it. Absolutely no way.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050740)

The asteroid is quite unlikely to unleash any trinitrotolulene.

Re:Hardly noticeable if it impacted (1)

cpotoso (606303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050828)

I presume you meant 130 kilo tons, and that would be ca. 6 Hiroshima bombs. 130 tons is not that much...

Uh, so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050044)

From the summary of the article:

"On average, objects the size of 2009 VA pass this close about twice per year and impact Earth about once every 5 years."

I don't want the asteroid to land on my house, but it seems that missing an object this size isn't catastrophic.

Maybe they didn't notice it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050108)

...because 7 meters is really small and pretty much harmless?

This is unimportant (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050114)

If the threat were 7m asteriods, no one would be monitoring. We'd certainly not be talking about the possibility of mass extinction. Yes some people might die, just as some people die every day. The reason to monitor near earth asteroids is the big ones that can kill off most of the life on our planet in a very short period.

Re:This is unimportant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050412)

And by big, we're talking a 7m model being like a grain of rice in comparison to a mountain.

LHC (1)

Chaseshaw (1486811) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050116)

I think we should just point the LHC up into the air and deflect the asteroids with it.

Re:LHC (5, Funny)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050246)

Are you kidding? That thing can't even stand up to a bird with a bagel.

Re:LHC (1)

Chaseshaw (1486811) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050298)

yes. lol.

Re:LHC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050368)

...but if it did hit LHC, would everyone suddenly take that "universe is out to get LHC" theory seriously?

Re:LHC (1, Informative)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050656)

Are you kidding? That thing can't even stand up to a bird with a bagel.

It was a baguette, you insensitive clod!

The real point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050146)

There's a lot of debris out there that we aren't tracking. It wasn't all that big but there were some even bigger ones lately just not as close. The odds of getting hit by an even bigger one? A 100%. It's really just a matter of time. There really needs to be more effort put into mapping what objects we can. 7 meters isn't worth the trouble due to the lack of it being a major threat. Even once most of objects are mapped there will always be the chance of a rouge but it'll drop the odds of a surprise hit dramatically. If we continue in space a system of space based detection needs to be in place within the next 100 years. Yes the odds are slim of a major strike in the next 1,000 or even million years but it's very possible and we aren't potentially talking about saving lives but all life and at the very least civilization itself. We spend more on a single war than a comprehensive program would cost.

"Impact" Earth? (0)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050262)

Why do they have to turn perfectly good nouns into verbs?

Re:"Impact" Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050370)

Impact may be a noun or a verb:
http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/impact?view=uk [askoxford.com]

Re:"Impact" Earth? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050484)

Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.

Re:"Impact" Earth? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050404)

Because (to quote Calvin): Verbing weirds language.

Re:"Impact" Earth? (4, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050760)

Hmmm... well, I realize that checking a dictionary first would've been a lot of work, but here's what m-w has to say about it [merriam-webster.com] . Note that the first entry is for the verb "impact".

Re:"Impact" Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050804)

Good question. Think about it the next time you're tempted to refer to "a software install".

You are all missing the *real* point... (5, Funny)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050328)

Join the Mobile Infantry and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?

Introduction (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050362)

Hello FUD, meet kdawson.
kdawson, this is FUD.
I think you'll be best friends.

Re:Introduction (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050442)

Hey, to be fair, it was kdawson who added the part which basically says "By the way, this was no big deal".

Re:Introduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050490)

Hey, to be fair, the astronomy community regularly covers such events. It seems that it's Slashdot that likes to bring up the perils of NEOs more than anyone else.

Slashdot Paranoia (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050448)

Sometimes, I think scientists want to make us paranoid!

Another example government waste and inefficiency (-1, Troll)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050452)

The graphic in the site shows that this asteroid crossed lunar orbit and got to within 14400 km, in just five hours. Some libertarians pointed out that NASA after taking billions of dollars of tax payers handouts still took more than three days, to reach the Lunar orbit from Earth. They reiterated their belief in small government and vowed to starve the beast by cutting the taxes even more.

Car Analogy? (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050518)

I think I need a car analogy to fully understand this story.

Re:Car Analogy? (2, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050624)

Say you're a new galactic overlord driving a car, but you're in space, and you're drunk. You see this big blue planet getting bigger and bigger in your windscreen. At the last possible moment, you hear me yelling to get the hell off my lawn, you suddenly swerve, and miss. But you've ruined Cowboy Neal's tulips, you insensitive clod!

Re:Car Analogy? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050638)

Oh, and PS: This happens twice a year. And about every five years, you don't swerve fast enough.

  (this is the "hauling a trailer" part of the car analogy).

No damage, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050630)

what if it were made of nquadria?

Re:No damage, eh? (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050874)

Then the periodic table of elements would be completely irrelevant and we would need to re-wright chemistry, physics, and quantum mechanics.

OMG! Were all gonna Die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050744)

...Oh, wait... 'almost' hit the Earth... Nevermind... Move Along, Nothing To See Here...

Space is getting OLD (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050902)

Pssh. 7 meters? Come on outer space, for all your terrifying voidsomeness you sure aren't flinging much in the way of horror our way. What's this I heard apparently Apophis now isn't even a threat. And the Tunguska incident? Hate to break it to your outer space, but nobody was living int he area you hit. Yeah and you'll probably point out the dinosaurs. Sure sure. Let's see you land a decent hit a little more often then every few million years.
What's wrong outer space? Having trouble hitting a mote of dust floating in a sunbeam?

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