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What To Do About an Asteroid That Has a 1 In 625 Chance of Hitting Us In 2040?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the ignore-it-until-2039-and-then-panic dept.

NASA 412

The Bad Astronomer writes "The asteroid 2011 AG5 is 140 meters across: football-stadium-sized. Its orbit isn't nailed down well enough to say yet, but using what's currently known, there's a 1 in 625 chance it will impact the Earth in 2040. It's behind the Sun until September 2013, and more observations taken then will probably reduce the odds of impact to something close to 0. But does it make sense to wait until then to start investigating a mission to deflect it away our planet? Astronomers are debating this right now, and what they conclude may pave the way for how we deal with an asteroid threat in the future."

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I will be doing one thing about it. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268333)

Praying it hits. That would be so awesome!

Re:I will be doing one thing about it. (2)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268505)

Amen brother. Let's get on the A ship and use the Earth as the B.

Who knows? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268629)

Who knows?

Maybe that big knock at 2040 will wake me up and I then can crawl out of my (future) coffin

Re:I will be doing one thing about it. (5, Informative)

Lotana (842533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268703)

140 meters diameter doesn't sound like much. Depends on the composition and speed, it will be reduced even further before making it to the ground. I immagine it shouldn't be much worse than a Tunguska event and seeing how majority of the planet is uninhabited, chances are good that no major number of lifes will be lost.

And if it occurs at a location where we can monitor/record, it will bring awareness that rocks in space do indeed end up on our planet in our lifetimes, thus worthwile to think about. Therefore having this pebble hit us might not be such a bad thing after all.

Re:I will be doing one thing about it. (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268803)

it shouldn't be much worse than a Tunguska event and seeing how majority of the planet is uninhabited, chances are good that no major number of lifes will be lost.

If it hits the ocean, which is the majority of the planet, you can revise that estimate up a bunch from tidal waves. But I agree that we should give this more attention that "Well, it's after my term is over, so not my problem."

Ignore it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268337)

Ignore it.

Re:Ignore it (4, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268519)

Ignore it.

Look I agree, only 1 in 625?! That hardly seems like a threat at all. Anyway, gotta run, I'm off to by a lottery ticket.

Re:Ignore it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268711)

flagging you for inappropriate use of probability

Re:Ignore it (2, Funny)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268783)

We drill. We send in the worlds best deep core driller.

Idiots! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268349)

The world ends in 2012 you idiots!

Re:Idiots! (2)

moozey (2437812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268627)

The Mayans didn't factor in the leap year, so by their calculations the world should have ended months ago.

Re:Idiots! (4, Interesting)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268681)

The Mayan calendar was more accurate... 365.2420 days, vs. Gregorians 365.2425, when the actual value was 365.2422.

Re:Idiots! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268767)

Truly, there are is no better source of factual information than Facebook memes.

Just... (4, Funny)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268351)

Just threaten to sue it out of existance.

Re:Just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268403)

Doesn't it violate the copyright of Armageddon?

Re:Just... (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268717)

Yep. Sounds like a job for a DMCA takedown letter addressed to the supreme entity by the film rights holder.

Re:Just... (5, Insightful)

Nikker (749551) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268755)

Maybe if we launch all the lawyers and rights holders at it they will just take it apart themselves? Just tell them there is a bunch of DVD's in the middle!

2040, you say? (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268353)

There is a 1 in 625 chance that I will be taking a long holiday and be unavailable for comment in 2040...

Set a reminder for 20 years from now (2)

Firehed (942385) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268377)

It's far too distant to deal with now. Let's re-evaluate the situation when it's a couple years out, and hope Bruce Willis hasn't retired if our odds haven't improved.

Re:Set a reminder for 20 years from now (5, Funny)

kat_skan (5219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268449)

In 2040 Bruce Willis will be 85. What's he gonna do? Tell the asteroid to get off his lawn?

I don't see the problem. (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268385)

If it hits, it wipes out the major cause of habitat destruction, global warming and talk radio. If it misses, the sales of tinfoil hats and doomsday billboards will restore the global economy.

Re:I don't see the problem. (5, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268501)

It's too small to be a civilization-killer. We're only talking a gigaton-range boom when it impacts.

Yeah, it would suck to be under it, or even within a couple hundred miles of it, but beyond that, it's mostly just a lightshow and something to keep the bookies busy.

Re:I don't see the problem. (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268667)

    That would depend on what it's made of. If it's a dirty snowball (mostly ice, with some small rock debris), it'd fall apart when it hit the atmosphere, and make for a pretty light show.

    We've identified what we believe to be other rarer objects. Say it was a chunk of something like BPM 37093. I suspect that would be dangerous on reentry. I'm not a geologist, so I won't attempt to guess what would happen to it. Would it shatter, melt, or remain one relatively solid mass the whole way down.

    If so, I don't think it would be an ELE. Tragic? Possibly, depending on where it hit. Catastrophic? probably not. Despite the way things look in population centers, there are vast areas of relatively uninhabited land around the world. If it hit the water, it may cause a tsunami wave. Depending on where that wave makes landfall, it could disrupt anywhere from dozens to millions of people.

Re:I don't see the problem. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268723)

Assume for a moment it does strike. Odds are that it will strike the ocean. If it does, I'd like to know what kind of tsunami that would create. The 2004 tsunami has a calculated yield of about 299 megatons. Though I'm not sure if that figure was calculated at the epicenter from the quake, or energy generated upon shore impact. There is a big discrepancy I'm sure with some KE being converted into some other form of energy as it was reaching out coast to coast.

If I recall, some impacts can be surface based while others an air-burst directly overhead. It all depends on mass, density, and incoming speed.

brown trouser time! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268387)

I'm shitting my pants!

Re:brown trouser time! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268539)

I'm shitting your pants!

Re:brown trouser time! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268657)

You're shitting my pants!

There is one thing we can do... (4, Funny)

OliWarner (1529079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268389)

We should definitely consider putting Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Aerosmith into cryo right now. Without them, we won't have a chance.

Re:There is one thing we can do... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268413)

We should definitely consider putting Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Aerosmith into cryo right now. Without them, we won't have a chance.

Okay, that's the beginnings of a plan anyway - but, in order for it to be effective, won't we need to get the asteroid to somehow make threats against Willis' family?

no just Jack O'Neill (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268455)

or who even is under him

Re:There is one thing we can do... (0)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268609)

We should put put the Federal government into cryo and store them in a satellite. They know so damned much about what we all "need" they should be stored for after the collision to come and save us all from our ignorance and post apocalyptic sensations of freedom.
I predict smooth runnings, till the next election, in that case.

Social security (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268391)

Isn't that around when social security is slated to go bankrupt? I say we deflect the asteroid towards the planet! I'll be 70 around that time.

Life is like a train .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268397)

"You know life is like a train. It's bearing down on you, and guess what? It's gonna hit you! So you can either start running when it's far off in the distance, or you can pull up a chair, crack open a beer, and just watch it come! "
- Eric to Kelso in That 70s Show

Re:Life is like a train .... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268763)

"You know life is like a train. It's bearing down on you, and guess what? It's gonna hit you! So you can either start running when it's far off in the distance, or you can pull up a chair, crack open a beer, and just watch it come! "

But if you're smart, you stop, turn to the side, and walk away from the tracks until you are a safe distance.

The republicans will destroy the earth sooner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268401)

The republicans will destroy the earth sooner, so problem solved.

18 months won't matter (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268411)

Yes it makes sense to wait. Why waste 18 months coming up with solutions to deflect it only to find out it won't strike 27 years from now? If September 2013 rolls around and it looks like it will hit in 2040, 27 years is practically as much time as 28 years to develop a solution.

It sure will! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268549)

No, if anything Hollywood has taught me is that every second counts. If we have to deflect that asteroid, the big red LED counter will by ticking away and the heroes that will be deflecting will be cursing that they really could have used that extra 18 months! And what will happen is that some poor bastard will have to sacrifice his life in order to save his family and the LED countdown timer will be down to '2' seconds instead of 18 months AND 2 seconds!

Re:It sure will! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268691)

Maybe if he hadn't wasted the time building that counter...

Re:18 months won't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268555)

More importantly, in the meantime there are many so far unknown asteroids that can wipe us out without enough warning to get anything ready. Until we get off this rock, we're sitting ducks. No "deflection" plan is going to save us from something that appears from behind the sun.

Re:18 months won't matter (2)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268685)

Now that's taking procrastination to a whole new level.

Why wait? (1)

l00sr (266426) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268693)

Is there any reason why NASA can't start working out a 'asteroid impact playbook' right now instead of scrambling to make one when the big one does come, even if it's not this one? I fail to see how that would be a worse use of taxpayer dollars than, say, the shuttle program was.

Re:18 months won't matter (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268775)

it only to find out it won't strike 27 years from now? If September 2013 rolls around and it looks like it will hit in 2040, 27 years is practically as much time as 28 years to develop a solution.

It might sound like that, until some time in 2013, when the Asterois is suddenly sighted that has a 70% chance of hitting earth in 2015.

Re:18 months won't matter (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268813)

There's no reason not to start thinking and talking about it now: at worst we get a head start on planning for the next one. BTW the 2023 pass might be the best time for a deflection effort. There is almost no chance that we could deflect it if we wait until the last few years before impact.

What else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268415)

What To Do About an Asteroid That Has a 1 In 625 Chance of Hitting Us In 2040?

Celebrate. Now we only need to keep killing ACTA for the next 28 years.

Beans and bullets (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268423)

Oh never mind that won't do anything.

Slow it down or speed it up just slightly (5, Interesting)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268431)

I always liked the plans that involved speeding the asteroid up, or slowing it down just slightly.

I saw a recent idea that involved painting it white in order to decrease absorptivity.

Re:Slow it down or speed it up just slightly (2)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268525)

Q's plan of changing the gravitational constant of the universe is my favorite. It has lots of potentially interesting side effects.

Re:Slow it down or speed it up just slightly (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268679)

I like the drop it on the Moon, or mars, solution.

2040 ... (1)

realitycheckplease (2487810) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268437)

I'll be 78 .... everything must end one day.

Easy answer (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268439)

Plan a party. Get wasted, and get laid.

Re:Easy answer (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268489)

I do that anyways. How about we be sure the asteroids doesn't impacts so we can continue do do so after it passes? and my kids, and their kids.

Re:Easy answer (5, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268551)

get laid

This is about an asteroid that has a 1 in 625 change of hitting earth, not about hell freezing over.

Duck. (0)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268447)

n/t

Well (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268451)

Given the size you would want to put a tracking and probe package on it and use it as a platform for further exploration and of course track it's ultimate course the next time around.
If we weren't so hopelessly political and ignorant as a species we might have been prepared to slow it to an Earthly orbit and make use of it as a habitat or some other purpose, as it is just drop the package on it and use it for furthering science.

Re:Well (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268515)

slow it to an Earthly orbit and make use of it as a habitat or some other purpose,

How about we anchor our space elevator to it? We've got 28 years to adjust it's flight path.

Re:Well (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268697)

Because we don't want it that close to the Earth.

Let's settle the argument... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268463)

Wherever it hits, those are the people that God hates most. End of debate.

Astrometrics ain't like quantum mechanics boy... (1, Troll)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268473)

Am I the only one that gets terribly frustrated by statements like "the asteroid has a 1 in X chance to hit earth"?

There's no probability here - the asteroid either will or will not hit. Why can't they say just say this is the measure of uncertainty in the curve fit rather than a "chance to hit"?

Re:Astrometrics ain't like quantum mechanics boy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268553)

You never know, SG1 might use the Tel'tak to make a short hyper jump to the other side of Earth to safely prevent it from hitting us.

I wonder what the probability of that happening is...

Re:Astrometrics ain't like quantum mechanics boy.. (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268575)

The bookies have a different opinion, i think there is already an open bet with very good odds at bwin.

Re:Astrometrics ain't like quantum mechanics boy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268583)

Construct a sentence that would be appropriate.

Re:Astrometrics ain't like quantum mechanics boy.. (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268621)

Am I the only one that gets terribly frustrated by statements like "the asteroid has a 1 in X chance to hit earth"?

Do statements like "The coin has a 1 in 2 chance of coming up heads" also bother you?

Re:Astrometrics ain't like quantum mechanics boy.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268641)

"the asteroid either will or will not hit"

It's like saying the chance to roll a 1 on a d6 is 50/50 it will or it won't; which is fail.

And the uncertainty are in the asteroids orbit. The more you remove those, the better you can define the probability.

reailty check? (3, Insightful)

powerspike (729889) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268485)

It's another year before we can get data, it'll be another 27 years before it'll hit if it does. Don't you think it'd be better to wait a year, see what the odds are. If they start coming closer to hitting us in a decade etc, then we should looking into it. At this point in time, it'd be a complete waste of time. Even if we waited 20 years before knowing it's going to hit us, our level of tech will be much greater then, then it is now and it'll basically obsolete any work we do on it before then - making it a waste of time and resources, isn't there better things we can be doing with our science dollars?

Anybody know any bookies? (2)

Godot143 (2587267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268497)

I'll take those odds. I bet my life savings we survive.

Re:Anybody know any bookies? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268643)

I'll hold the wagers til it's time. Bring your bets.

Re:Anybody know any bookies? (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268713)

Let's consider that from a purely mathematical perspective, shall we?

Given that the odds of it missing are currently calculated at 624/625... the maximum payout on winning that bet would be less than 1/6th of one percent of the amount you bet. Although this could still be an appreciable sum you bet a large amount, you're simply far better off putting it in a bank, and getting a far greater return.

If the chances were more like 5 or 6 percent, then it might be worth investing in. Of course, if the chances were that high, it would be getting taken much more seriously.

But can anything really be done? (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268545)

I have not done the calculations but I think deflecting a big asteroid is difficult considering energies required to change its trajectory. Hell, it takes a lot to simply move a spacecraft from one orbital plane to another. I know it's all great in the movies (and references to Bruce Willis) but almost all who have an opinion of asteroid deflection don't seem to be knowledgable of astrodynamics (Fundamentals of Astrodynamics (Bate, Mueller, White), http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Astrodynamics-Dover-Aeronautical-Engineering/dp/0486600610/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331078557&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

Re:But can anything really be done? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268649)

Bruce Willis and his pals didn't attempt to deflect the asteroid; they tried to break it up. How feasible would it be to break up a football stadium sized asteroid? Even if the remaining pieces are still going to hit earth, the damage would be considerable less (near zero, if the pieces are small enough).

Re:But can anything really be done? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268669)

"almost all who have an opinion of asteroid deflection don't seem to be knowledgable of astrodynamics"
well, that true with any field isn't it? that's not the problem. The problem is everyone seems to think their opinion should carry the same weight as the experts. Which is shouldn't.

Re:But can anything really be done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268707)

That's why starting early is important. Let's say we wait until September of 2013 and have an "oh shit" moment and find it is a likely hit instead of a likely miss. Then we spend 5 years developing a system to slowly accelerate the asteroid (maybe by putting a giant net around it and attaching a solar sail) - very tiny amount of delta-v. We spend another 4 years getting a deployment craft into appropriate orbit to approach the thing and deploy the net and sail. Now we only have 18 years of that small thrust to accelerate the asteroid and cause that likely hit to be a miss. The earlier we can begin deflection, the less the delta-v needs to be.

Re:But can anything really be done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268725)

I have formal training in orbital mechanics, astrophysics, engineering and worked at NASA writing gn&c software. Good enough?

Ok, a tiny mass placed in the right placed near the asteroid a few years can either pull or push it from the current trajectory enough over time to miss the Earth. A nuclear propulsion system is perfect for this. I haven't done the calulations, but 10+ yrs is a lot of time and a tiny delta v earlier becomes a much larger change later. We just need to speed it up or slow it down 3000 miles to miss the Earth. That's nothing considering we're working with 100million miles at least.

Attach a solar sail (4, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268557)

And let the solar wind push it out. You only need to alter its orbit by 5 minutes in the next 22 years to miss completely.

Re:Attach a solar sail (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268585)

Correction, 28 years.

Re:Attach a solar sail (4, Insightful)

Shandon (53512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268653)

Unless the math is wrong, or a solar storm changes the track or ... and you alter the path to make it hit dead center instead of a grazing shot. That's the problem with orbital mechanics - stuff changes over the years and depending on other gravitational interactions, what you thought was a deflection was a centering action. W00t.

But you *know* there's a rock out there with Humanity's name on it. This one. Another one. Doesn't really matter. If we can't get off this planet in serious numbers before it hits, the universe goes on without us.

Re:Attach a solar sail (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268777)

Solar sails use radiation pressure [wikipedia.org] , not solar wind.

Strange probability observation... (1)

RJBeery (956252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268561)

"The asteroid 2011 AG5 is 140 meters across: football-stadium-sized. Its orbit isn't nailed down well enough to say yet, but using what's currently known, there's a 1 in 625 chance it will impact the Earth in 2040. It's behind the Sun until September 2013, and more observations taken then will probably reduce the odds of impact to something close to 0. "

Let me guess...the odds of that happening are approximately 624/625?

I had a dream about this last night (2)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268571)

Whoa! I had a dream about something like this last night. In my dream, a meteor/asteroid hit the water and caused a flood and I thought I was going to die. However, I survived and the water receded. Due to the flood, all electrical/electronic stuff basically died and people basically had to survive without technology.

BET A MILLION... BILLION DOLLARS THAT IT WON'T !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268573)

Abd if it does, well, who cares !!

Slut (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268577)

Call it a "slut" so it can become famous and then apologize.

Ask Africans to save us? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268587)

After all, "We're all the same", and "Diversity is our strength", right? And if you don't agree, we'll sack you from your job, or even put you in prison. Sounds like 'freedom' to me!

Seriously, does anybody expect AFRICANS to save us if an asteroid is heading for Earth?

Do any of you expect Africans to be GRATEFUL to the other races who will save them? Of course not.

Your country is being destroyed by third world immigrants. Why don't you think white people have the right to have their own countries any more?

Relax Everyone (3, Funny)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268601)

I got this.

*shakes fist at sky*

Build a ship for the best and brightest! (3, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268625)

Build a spaceship and put in all the telephone sanitisers, hairdressers, advertising account executives, MPAA executives, RIAA executives, and politicians and send them into space.

Re:Build a ship for the best and brightest! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268793)

Build a spaceship and put in all the telephone sanitisers, hairdressers, advertising account executives, MPAA executives, RIAA executives, and politicians and send them into space.

They did that once already... All the middlemen crash-landed here.

Statistics failure (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268633)

"more observations taken then will probably reduce the odds" ... Either: you are speculating, and future observations MAY reduce the odds; or you have some data that isn't in the current calculation, and the odds won't probably be reduced in the future, they ARE reduced NOW.

Only one thing TO do. . . . (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268639)

. . . .run it for President !! Sweet Meteor of Death in 2040 !! After all, it couldn't be WORSE than a politician. . . . .

just dump some white paint on it (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268655)

At this point just over 25 years out, if the odds go up next year, then just send a spacecraft to splatter a few gallons of white paint on it and let the solar wind reflection push it an extra fraction of a percent and move it however many thousands/millions of miles in the next quarter century.

Have goatse guy catch it in his giant ass hole. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268661)

The velocity will propel them both to Venus.

I know. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268687)

Let's make a commission to study the possibilities and then claim there's no consensus.

Wrong Question (2)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268721)

The right question is: Who launched it at us?

What does football stadium sized entail? (1)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268741)

As a non-astronomer, can somebody explain to me roughly what we're talking about with a 140m asteroid?

I'm assuming (I could be way off) that a 1m "beach ball" asteroid probably just breaks up and burns in the atmosphere, with little appreciable hitting the ground/ocean.

How about a "car" sized asteroid? Does it burn up? Possibly take out a house? City Block?

How big do asteroids have to be before they could take out a whole city? How about to create a Tsunami (since they are most likely hitting ocean anyhow). How big to impact yearly weather patterns and destroy crops?

I know the Chicxulub one is supposed to have been 10km, so that's "extinct most species" territory -- What does 140m mean in comparison?

I'm not worried (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268747)

After all, Putin is back! He'll certainly deal with it - shoot it, wrestle it, somehow force it to submit to his iron will.

What If it Hits a Nike Stockpile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268773)

Or Fukushima? Or some country's biowar stash?

But, no need to go on a spending spree. Most of the tools are already there. See what's already laying around in the attic, the shed, basement ... wherever.

Anyway, just get the NERVA's DUMBOs and ORION (the elder, Dyson, one) out of mothballs. Unpack, patch. Etc. See what else is laying around "forgotten". A few PLUTOs, perhaps? Pick up the orbiting "star wars" laser and particle beam systems, on the way out. Park next to the asteroid and dump broadsides into it until reaction outgassing changes its orbit. There was a time when the USSR had the theoretical capacity to launch 200 Soyuz in a single year, should it have been called for.

Staff it with scientists and have it do a "Grand Tour" after diverting the asteroid. Better make the most of it.

Just a few NERVAS, if found, could send up a small WWII warship, if required :-^

Re:What If it Hits a Nike Stockpile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268845)

I meant "Nuke Stockpile". If it were a Nike Stockpile, the Olympics might have go barefoot. Sorry.

An idea whose time has come (1)

GPierce (123599) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268801)

What we need is to construct a collection of arcs to rescue important parts of the population.

The A Arc would be used to protect the president and a few important government officials. The B Arc would rescue essential civilian leaders and members of the .0001%.. The C Arcs when finally constructed, would rescue the rest of us.

It can be done.

Let's be honest about something (1)

PrinceBrightstar (757413) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268807)

Based on what we know about the asteroid, specifically the fact that it's 140m in size, we're not looking at the end of the world here. The impact crater will be about 2-3 km in size and major effects felt up to about 100-200 miles away. This is not an armageddon situation and even at the worst case that it's made of something really dense, it's not going to cause global damage. We won't have a chunk of the planet missing and the axis won't change. Once we know what the deal is we should have more than enough information that even if we miss our target, there will be plenty of time to evacuate whatever town is going to get flattened.

It'll Happen Eventually - Let's Prepare Now! (1)

kenwd0elq (985465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268825)

Large asteroids - far larger than this one! - have hit the Earth before, and it WILL happen again. Probably not in 2029, or in 2037, and probably not in 2040 - but why wait? Preparing now - or at least, starting to THINK about preparing now - will pay major dividends in the long run.

With any luck, by 2040 we'll be able to capture it into one of the lunar Trojan points, and that'll save money in the long run from paying to lift mass from the Earth or the Moon to build that habitat.

Here's a silly stats question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268827)

If we currently believe it is 1/625 chance that it will hit the earth, why is it "likely" additional observations will reduce this chance? Doesn't that imply that we secretly believe the _real_ probability distribution shows a lower likelihood and that we believe our current model or observation set is based on biased data?

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