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Neil deGrasse Tyson Outlines a Plan For Saving Earth From Asteroids

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the why-on-earth-would-you-want-to-oh-yeah dept.

Space 241

dsinc contributes a link to Neil deGrasse Tyson's short piece in Wired on how we could deal with the very real threat of killer asteroids, writing "In 2029 we'll be able to know whether, seven years later, Apophis will miss Earth or slam into the Pacific and create a tsunami that will devastate all the coastlines of the Pacific Rim." From the article: "Saving the planet requires commitment. First we have to catalogue every object whose orbit intersects Earth’s, then task our computers with carrying out the calculations necessary to predict a catastrophic collision hundreds or thousands of orbits into the future. Meanwhile, space missions would have to determine in great detail the structure and chemical composition of killer comets and asteroids."

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Then a butterfly flaps its wings (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561701)

Changing the wind patterns just slightly, enough to disturb the Earth's orbit and resulting in us being hit be an asteroid.

Re:Then a butterfly flaps its wings (0, Redundant)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562149)

This is no joke. We can't even solve the three body problem. Who thinks we can solve the three hundred thousand body problem?

Re:Then a butterfly flaps its wings (3, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562293)

Approximations :-)

Hey, it worked for the Voyager probes.

Re:Then a butterfly flaps its wings (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562369)

So an exact solution does not exist, big deal. There are plenty of things we can calculate numerically with precision which is high in practice and arbitrary in theory.

Re:Then a butterfly flaps its wings (4, Insightful)

hemo_jr (1122113) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562443)

With the computing power, the n-body problem can be solved with sufficient precision for the purposes of detecting this particular threat. And it will give us enough fore-warning to do something to prevent it. Whether we can come to a consensus and actually do it is another issue.

Re:Then a butterfly flaps its wings (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562727)

Whether we can come to a consensus and actually do it is another issue.

Obligatory [theonion.com]

Saving Earth is good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561721)

But we're going to need another basket if we want to survive as a species.

Re:Saving Earth is good... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562013)

Well, you're a basket case if you think anything resembling the "species" will still be around in cosmic time scales. There were no humans around a million years ago, what makes you think there will in a million?
And what makes you think we have the energy to sustain anything close to what we have enjoyed for the past 150 years ????
We'll all be right here, on this "basket".
Idiot.

Re:Saving Earth is good... (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562221)

There are 100 planets within 30 light years of us. That is an achievable goal. We are getting close to figuring out fusion technology. Then we'll have the energy to travel to the stars. A lot of barriers to entry still exist, but if we really want to, we can overcome them.

Re:Saving Earth is good... (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562333)

There were no humans around a million years ago, what makes you think there will in a million?

Sentience.

And what makes you think we have the energy to sustain anything close to what we have enjoyed for the past 150 years ????

E = mc^2

Idiot.

Defeatist.

Re:Saving Earth is good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562797)

With eight billion or so people going through the earth's resources (i.e. mineral and fossil, not to mention trees, fresh water, topsoil) it's not clear what civilization will look like 50, 100, or a thosand years from now. A space program might be lower on the priority for future generations.

E = mc**2 is nice, but it doesn't mean the energy is easy to get to. Sort of like there is a lot of hydrogen locked up in water but unfortunately we can't put water in our gas tanks.

Re:Saving Earth is good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562811)

You're a totally delusional fruitcake.

Re:Saving Earth is good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562611)

The rest of us will happily let your particular branch of our species die off. You have neither the will, nor the fore-sight to meaningfully contribute to long term survival.

Re:Saving Earth is good... (2)

hemo_jr (1122113) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562543)

You are thinking Mars, the Moon, L-5 habitats as additional baskets? They will never be a robust a place for survival as the Earth, but I agree. Species survival is an imperative. And neither our Earth, nor solar system should be the sole home of H Sap.

Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561747)

Do we need to waste precious energy we don't have on this sort of dribble?

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561767)

If it was possible for an asteroid impact to cause a mass extinction, wouldn't it have happened already?

Re:Why? (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561881)

Didn't it?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561915)

The dinosaurs say hello...

Oh wait, an asteroid impact caused their mass extinction.

Evidence Suggests... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562621)

T.Rex's last words were "What's that wooshing sound?"

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562007)

How's the earth staying up in space right? Why doesn't it fall down!

Yes, it did, 12,900 years ago (4, Informative)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562137)

Evidence for Younger Dryas impact: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/03/01/1110614109.abstract [pnas.org]

Note that the YD debris layer covers 10% of the Earth. It is hypothesized it was caused by a comet which broke up some time before hitting Earth, so created a large number of smaller craters rather than one big one.

Re:Why? (1)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561851)

hear, hear, lets spend all of our precious energy inventing news ways of offing ourselves, that way when the killer asteroid does impact at some point in the future it will put a nice layer of dust over our dribble.

Future Tech won't handle it (-1, Flamebait)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561749)

Aside from the fact that it has a miniscule chance of hitting us, I think many people in the US (I can't speak for other nations) are thinking that even if there was a high danger, that space technology will have advanced enough by then for us to easily deal with it. "Kick it down the road to the next administration," goes the unofficial position of the politicians. "We've got socialism to implement & votes to buy." That attitude will ensure no advances occur.

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561827)

Everyone else is busy working on future tech to ensure it hits America and only squishes Americans.

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561865)

No, that would be Americans themselves...

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561895)

wake me up when they actually implement some of that socialism your referring to.

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562161)

Wake UP!

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562407)

I know, right? Most disappointing "socialist takeover" ever. Where's Eugene Debs when you need him?

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562325)

Jupiter has been doing a good job vacuuming these rocks, if not, kiss your ass goodby, because there is no chance in hell we are going to avoid an extinction event.

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (1)

companydroid (2498456) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562701)

Sweet! I can tell my banker to kiss off when he asks about making a mortgage or car payment. Awesome news!

Re:Future Tech won't handle it (5, Insightful)

SeximusMaximus (1207526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562499)

Let me get this straight, in the same post you complain that we won't work together and fix the problem and then also chastise "socialism" - Do you think there is a private company who would be doing this save for the chains of government?

Southern guy with three names (5, Funny)

Latent Heat (558884) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561763)

We need this Southern guy with three names to come up with a plan to drill into the asteroid . . . never mind!

Re:Southern guy with three names (0)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561909)

Someone call Tommy Lee Jones! He was in Space Cowboys, he'll know what to do.

Re:Southern guy with three names (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562651)

I thought the solution was to send up Bruce Willis with a nuke.

Dont Nuke 'em. Was Re:Southern guy with three name (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562771)

That ain't gonna cut it. Even if the nuke blows up the asteroid, its center of mass will continue on the original trajectory. All the chunks that were displaced in the tangential (to the trajectory at the moment of explosion) will hit the earth. Only the chunks displaced in the normal direction has some chance of missing the earth. Again given the size of the Earth's gravitational well, it would only delay the impact by a few thousand years. So nuking the asteroid is likely to nip in the bud any nascent life form emerging after the apocalyptic impact.

When exactly (2, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561783)

When exactly did Neil deGrasse Tyson become the world's official representative on all things astronomical? Was it the the pluto thing? It's just really weird that every media outlet seems to go to him for everything these days. He's really articulate and informed, but so are a lot of people. I don't get it.

Re:When exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561829)

"When exactly did Neil deGrasse Tyson become the world's official representative on all things astronomical?"

What makes you think that he did?

NdGT has a lot to answer for (1, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561875)

Ever notice how the news makes sure to refer to any psychopathic killer by three names?

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a lowdown sidewinder that shot Pluto in the back just to watch it die.

Re:NdGT has a lot to answer for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562157)

Ever notice how the news makes sure to refer to any psychopathic killer by three names?

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a lowdown sidewinder that shot Pluto in the back just to watch it die.

he made Pluto his bitch

Re:When exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562659)

Because he isn't quite good enough as a scientist to do the heavy lifting, so he plays the pretty face that explains things to the public.

Re:When exactly (5, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561857)

" He's really articulate and informed, but so are a lot of people."

Not scientists.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is articulate, charismatic, reasonably good looking, and interviews very well. He is relatable. Anyone who can talk about accurately talk about science and still seem relatable to the average person is perfect to interview.

For example: He was asked why he was able to get is point across so clearly on the colbart report. He said he timed the jokes from previous epsode and ew a bout how much time he had before the next joke. Then boiled his points down to fit into the times between the jokes.

Not a lot of people think about interviews that way, and certainly not scientists.

Now he has the rep to be the guy to go to, the media goes to him.

Re:When exactly (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562125)

The Colbert interview was awesome. He apparently gave a hard time to James Cameron because the night sky in Titanic was historically inaccurate and when Cameron did the director's cut a while later he asked Tyson to provide the sky.. and he did.

Re:When exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561889)

I suspect that it has to do with public popularity/awareness since he appeared on "The Big Bang Theory."

Re:When exactly (2)

liamevo (1358257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562067)

What are you on about? Neil deGrasse Tyson has been in the public eye and a popular communicator of science long before "The Big Bang Theory" even existed. Wouldn't have been much of a cameo if no one knew who he was until that episode.

Re:When exactly (4, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561935)

When exactly did Neil deGrasse Tyson become the world's official representative on all things astronomical?

It happened exactly when he stepped up and started talking about science and advocating the rare attitude of giving-a-shit.

"80% of life|success is showing up." -- Woody Allen

Re:When exactly (5, Funny)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562229)

"80% of life|success is showing up."

That's what the asteroid said.

Re:When exactly (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562011)

His enthusiasm.

There are lots of other astronomers, last I checked the US graduates about 200 PhD's in astronomy and astrophysics a year, but the vast majority of them don't get excited at the mere notion of talking about science the way Dr Tyson does. Which is why he ended up doing science outreach at planetarium, which is why they put him on TV etc.

He is by no means the only, and probably not the best scientist in the world. But his enthusiasm and energy are infectious, most of the other scientists you talk to are more concerned with publishing their next paper or making sure they have enough money to pay their graduate students. If you look at his CV he hasn't published anything academic since 2008 (nor did I immediately find anything on google scholar that would indicate he's just lazy about updating his webpage, but admittedly I don't normally search for astrophysics), and the work he's published recently seems to more be him as part of the planetarium or american museum of natural history than personal research, and he doesn't appear to take on grad students. That sets him apart from probably 90% of the practicing astronomers, in that he is actually focused full time on science communication rather than doing science. That makes him rare in the field, he's reasonably good at it, and he happens to have been in the right place at the right time with proximity to TV shows to go from a good career as a directory and writer to a particularly good one as TV personality.

My undergrad is in theoretical physics, with most of that on optics and semiconductors, optics is largely 'laboratory astrophysics'. I find now several years after having finished my undergrad that I have a lot of trouble following most astrophysicists giving talks, because they're talking at a 4th year level, and seeing as how I'm a game developer and computer scientist these days that's far removed from understanding astrophysics. Dr. Tyson when he talks is able to mostly limit himself to first year intro to astronomy level, where people can actually understand what the hell he's talking about most of the time, finding people who can do that is unfortunately rather difficult.

Re:When exactly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562199)

When exactly did Neil deGrasse Tyson become the world's official representative on all things astronomical? Was it the the pluto thing? It's just really weird that every media outlet seems to go to him for everything these days. He's really articulate and informed, but so are a lot of people. I don't get it.

Watch out, we're dealing with a badass over here! [kym-cdn.com]

Re:When exactly (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562245)

HE IS AN ASTROPHYSICIST. That's a good start. Second, he's not the only, he's only the most celebrated on the Internet. Hence all the "We've got a badass here..." memes.

Re:When exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562425)

I like how everyone avoided the obvious reason why he's the media representative "on all things astronomical."

Re:When exactly (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562623)

I don't know what the obvious answer is. Really. Please tell me.

Re:When exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562753)

Better him than Michio Kaku...that guy is an annoying liar.

Re:When exactly (-1, Troll)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562821)

And of course, some idiotic fanboy modded you down as "troll". I wish to meet that moron who modded you down face to face and polish his numbface.

deGrasse is an overblown mediocrity who ponders to scientifically ignorant but neverless enthusiastic audience.

Let me guess... (5, Funny)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561785)

Let me guess, he wants to reclassify Earth as a "Non-Asteroid-Attracting Planetoid" in the hopes of fooling the asteroids.

Re:Let me guess... (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561867)

You're an ignorant ass.

Re:Let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562203)

Did you get hit in the head with a large rock as a kid?

Prediction Ability is UNFORTUNATELY Limited (3, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561813)

An asteroid calculated to miss for 1000 orbits can have its orbit gravitationally altered by a close pass with another small but significant mass object in the Kuiper Belt.

At that point, the next pass by Earth may not be "by Earth"...

Re:Prediction Ability is UNFORTUNATELY Limited (2)

ferar (64373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561949)

I agree. It will be much better to train the earth to evade the asteroidsâ¦

Re:Prediction Ability is UNFORTUNATELY Limited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562191)

Eh, what? Do you know where the Earth is, and where the Kuiper Belt is? Any "asteroid" that is making passes by Earth and making close passes with objects in the Kuiper Belt is not an asteroid, it's a freaking short-period comet, and it's quite unlikely we have enough data to predict the next 100 passes considering the influence of the sun and planets.

Re:Prediction Ability is UNFORTUNATELY Limited (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562795)

It's also not really necessary. Unless we expected it to drastically change speeds, then it's good enough to know the previous orbit, predict the next orbit, and put it on a list of things to keep an eye on when their on their Earth approach again.

Why not monetize it? (2, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561891)

1 - catalogue all the asteroids likely to pass by earth
2 - analyse their composition
3 - determine which can have their orbit modified so as to be placed in orbit around earth for an energy effort low enough that one will come out ahead either using the asteroid for material in orbit (to construct space stations / satellites, the probe to explore the next asteroid &c.) or have ore valuable enough to be worth returning to earth
4 - profit!

Alternate scenario (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562403)

3 - determine which can have their orbit modified so as to be placed in orbit around earth

4 - Oops!

Where will the funding come from? (0)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561911)

If the US takes this on, I would surmise it would fall under NASA's umbrella. With their funding being cut, though (total of $17.7 Billion for 2012*) I don't see a lot of excess to whittle off for exploring options. Most likely the military will absorb the cost, but don't expect to see "kinder and gentler" on their option list.

[*] - http://io9.com/5885042/how-will-the-white-houses-brutal-budget-cuts-affect-nasa [io9.com]

We need more brains (0)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561913)

This is why you should have children. We need more brains, more people thinking about big problems and they need lots of people supporting them to think about these big problems like how to protect this rock and how to get some of our populace off this rock to other rocks. Without this we face near certain extinction. Breed. Read to your children. Teach them to love learning. Teach them to work hard. The rest will follow.

Re:We need more brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562209)

The hell? Someone who thinks a slashdotter is failing to get laid because it's their own choice?

Re:We need more brains (0)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562301)

Please tell me you're trolling..

Hundreds or thousands of orbits in the future ... (2)

lew2048 (2571805) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561921)

3-body problem --> non-linear feedback --> mathematical chaos --> must simulate, but very sensitive to initial conditions. There is a lot of matter in our solar system for which the orbits are not known. ==> I don't believe 'hundreds of orbits in the future'.

I propose.... (4, Funny)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561925)

A triangular space ship with vector blasters!!! It worked in the 20th century and it should work in the 21st century!!!

Move us all (4, Funny)

RagManX (258563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561941)

Couldn't Tyson just move all of us to his home planet prior to the asteroid hitting earth? Or is the environment of his home planet inhospitable to earthlings?

Re:Move us all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562703)

Unfortunately, the standard Earthling is deficient in Awesomers.

This lack of Awesomers would, in fact, be fatal to any Earthling relocated to his home planet.

15 Minutes (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39561955)

I've seen this guy's face and name pop up so much this last month, its reminding me of Andy Worhol's most famous quote.

He's a cool guy and all, but it now feels like he's a William Morris client.

Re:15 Minutes (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562635)

If by 15 years you mean more then a decade, then yes.

Damnit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39561957)

I was hoping for 3 robots piloted by young cute girls in skin tight outfits...

Dwarf Astronomer (-1, Troll)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562015)

I really don't care what Neil deGrasse Tyson advocates. Is this really about saving the Earth or just about getting him more publicity? He is the only "astronomer" to be credited with the discovery of negative one planets. Join the campaign to get deGrasse Tyson demoted from "astronomer" to "dwarf astronomer".

Ridiculous paranoia! (1, Insightful)

santosh.k83 (2442182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562017)

Yes this is indeed the need of the hour! Save Earth from asteroids! How about we stop this paranoia and focus on matters closer to home, or what will be left in a few short decades will not only not be worth saving, it would well deserve obliteration by an asteroid or two!

Re:Ridiculous paranoia! (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562491)

You realize of course that big rocks really do hit the earth from time to time. I'm not just talking about dinosaur killers and cataclismic events, but 'smaller' impacts too. In fact, there's a rather famous one [wikipedia.org] that happened barely a hundred years ago. There aren't many places on left on dry land that an impact like that can occur without it causing massive devastation. And that's even ignoring the damage that could be done if an impact occurred in a large body of water; cartoonishly large tsunami's are a real, actual possibility.

But hey, keep worrying about the latest doom and gloom predictions. Not that there isn't anything to them, but people have been making them for hundreds of years and human civilization keeps ticking over somehow. I'm not even sure what you mean by "matters closer to home", the only thing I can think of is the kind of catastrophic climate change that no one really takes seriously anymore (and I don't mean a 2 meter rise in sea level, yes that would be devastating but not cataclysmic.)

Re:Ridiculous paranoia! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562833)

Have you ever looked out of the window while flying somewhere? Most of the Earth is still not inhabited, so the odds of a Tunguska-style impact hitting a major urban area are small. Sure, if it was to land on your farm that would suck, but the cost of moving you and your neighbors somewhere else would be small compared to the cost of trying to stop every asteroid or comet fragment of that size.

With current spaceflight technology the cost of stopping a significant asteroid impact is substantially larger than the expected cost of not stopping it. There are also major legal issues. Project Icarus, for example, would have required about half a dozen nukes to divert the incoming asteroid. That means that if your asteroid was going to hit America and you launched the first nuke, now perhaps you've just diverted it so that it will hit Mexico instead. Do you think the Mexicans would be happy with that? What if the first five nukes work but the last doesn't, so now instead of hitting America it's going to hit Moscow?

Re:Ridiculous paranoia! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562657)

Fact: An extinction event sized body will hit the earth.
Unknown: When.

I'm not sure why you think detecting and deflecting an object that will wipe us clean from the planet isn't a matter close to home.

Oh, right, you're a short sighted ass.

It's not saving "Earth," it's saving "humans" (1)

RugRat (323562) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562033)

Headline is hyperbolic. Astroid sized impacts aren't going to destroy Earth. It'll be fine. It's the humans for which we need to be concerned.

Re:It's not saving "Earth," it's saving "humans" (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562671)

Which we all know that's what we mean. Only an ass would take it to a stupid extreme to make them selves look clever.

That said, there are object large enough to destroy the earth.

Re:It's not saving "Earth," it's saving "humans" (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562725)

There are other threatened species on the planet than humans.

Why bother? (0, Troll)

drdread66 (1063396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562061)

The republicans will scorn the theory, deny the evidence, publicly attack the scientists who produced it, and insist on doing nothing.

Re:Why bother? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562775)

We should see if we can quickly deplete their list of denial options until they no longer deny the problem and say they simply refuse to act and will bury themselves in deep-underground suspended animation chambers...then I'll find a way to get myself onto the list of people to be preserved, and as an expert dune buggy driver, decent marksman, and could-be-worse boomerang thrower, the cute post-apocalyptic future-women will be mine! :D MUAHAHAHAHA, a flawless plan!

We're gonna trust this guy to save Earth? (0)

wbhauck (629723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562101)

Isn't he the one that killed the planet Pluto?

Re:We're gonna trust this guy to save Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562111)

Isn't he the one that killed the planet Pluto?

He can save us from the killer asteroid by redefining it to be a fluffy kitten.

Can't we just fire something at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562121)

I thought even the smallest nudge can totally change the trajectory of crap in space.
Can't we just fire off something to nudge it slightly at a different angle?

Not happening (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562153)

Given the way the past generations have treated the future ones, there won't be enough time between figuring out the threat and putting together an adequate response in time.

Past performances prove that any previous generation has no qualms at all about making the future generations pay for their own spending and not the other way around, all this is done while paying plenty of lip service to the proverbial 'children'.

Wait a minute... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562361)

He does seem to be going on about this issue a bit lately.

What are you not telling us, Neil?

Know your enemy (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562393)

He is right, we know too little about asteroids today to be able to predict a collision, let alone think of deflection. Before trying to come up with a plan to deflect one, we need to study them much more.

Here's his plan... (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562509)

His plan... [wikipedia.org]

Lucifer's Hammer, anyone? (1)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562535)

Anyone that read Lucifer's Hammer knows that asterioids and comets bounce around in their orbit too much to make anything other than a reasonable guess till they are too close to do anything other than hide The Way Things Work in your septic tank. For those unaware - it's written by Larry Niven and David Pournelle [slashdot.org]

Re:Lucifer's Hammer, anyone? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562693)

yes, lets go to a fiction book based on decades old information to base science on.

Great book, but we do get better at this stuff as time goes on.

No wonder... (1)

bingbong (115802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562595)

No wonder they named a Jr High School after this guy.

what? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562601)

The earth doesn't need saving from asteroids, it's survived asteroid impacts for 4 billion years. Humans are what we need to save from asteroid impacts and the simplest solution to this problem seems to me to be to move off of objects that routinely get struck by asteroids (the earth) and onto something a tad bit more maneuverable (like an asteroid)

Iranian Nuclear Factory Bunker Busting Bomb (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562705)

The USAF is looking around for a new bomb big enough to bust those wacky Iranian Nuclear Factory Bunkers. Maybe an Asteroid might be up to the job.

You would just need to catch it, and toss it in the right direction. This shouldn't be a problem for the current state of technology.

Probably.

Is it very persuasive? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562713)

I mean, come on, after the Earth has collided with an errant asteroid and all life on it has been fried, would you really care that the space aliens are laughing at you? If people are not moved by "You are all going to die!" they are not likely to be persuaded by, "Space aliens would laugh at you!".

this guys defines the term "media overexposure" (-1, Flamebait)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562765)

I am tired of hearing about this guy. He is on reddit and on slashdot brought by legion of moronic fanboys.

All he says are generalities pondering to the crowd of scientific diletants and irrational atheists.

Early detection and warning system.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39562793)

System alert: Watch out, we've got a bad asteroid over here!

All this catalogueing (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39562839)

And the outcome will be? We will know the precise hour when we die.
How do we stop an asteroid anyway? I've heard proposals of nuking the asteroids, but I don't see how we will intercept an asteroid with enough nukes early enough to deflect the asteroid. I don't suppose a nuke would be much better than simply hitting the asteroid with a high momentum slug and hope to change the trajectory sufficiently. How will we accelerate such a slug and set it on an intercept course with the asteroid?

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