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ATLAS Meteor Tracking System Gets $5M NASA Funding

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the eye-on-the-sky dept.

Space 104

An anonymous reader writes "After a huge meteor recently exploded over Chelyabinsk (population 1,130,132), Russia, NASA has approved $5 million for funding for ATLAS project (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System). From the article: '"There are excellent ongoing surveys for asteroids that are capable of seeing such a rock with one to two days' warning, but they do not cover the whole sky each night, so there's a good chance that any given rock can slip by them for days to weeks. This one obviously did," astronomer John Tonry of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii told NBC News Friday.'"

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GNOME 3 sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931857)

Hows this article related zo GNOME 3 being a big suckage ?

there the fat cat scientists go again... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931861)

sucking tax paying hard working man dry!

NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931871)

They applied for a grant in 2011 and it was approved then. This summary implies that NASA has been scrambling this weekend to fund something in the wake of the Russian meteor explosion. The project has been in the works for YEARS.

http://www.fallingstar.com/nasa_funding.php

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932075)

This summary implies that NASA has been scrambling this weekend to fund something in the wake of the Russian meteor explosion. The project has been in the works for YEARS.

So you're saying that the timing is just a coincidence?

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932351)

Are you suggesting nasa launched the meteor to get funding?

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932557)

NASA: Need Another Scary Asteroid

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932685)

aw someone should mod this up :o)
Implying this story isn't a coincidence is like saying that the recent event in Russia was tied to 2014DA, which it wasn't

Coincidences DO happen...correlation is not causation, but it seems the average IQ on /. is pretty low.

The only non-coincidence could be that after the Russian event (which WAS spectacular) meteorite related stories now get more coverage. Blame the idiot journos for that.

captcha = hazards ;o)

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (2)

tqk (413719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932849)

The only non-coincidence could be that after the Russian event (which WAS spectacular) meteorite related stories now get more coverage.

Or, the one percenters' short and curlies bunched up and knotted. "Yeow!"

"Huh. Maybe we ought to have been funding that kind of !@#$ years ago. Who knew?!?"

fsckin' a$$holes!!!111

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932885)

You know, I agree with you that NASA needs to be funded better, but your snarky "one percenters" comment just makes me think you're a troll. What in the hell does that have to do with its funding? The manned space program was shut down under the leftist Obama, after being neglected by the Republican GWB, and before him, the Democrat Clinton & the Republican GHWB. The last president to really support NASA was Reagan. This isn't (or shouldn't be) a left/right thing.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933557)

the leftist Obama [sic]

Then you are the troll here.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

jadv (1437949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42935875)

You realize that GP hurled political slurs on just about everyone, don't you? But the only one you noticed was your Beloved Leader Obama.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934575)

Sorry folks, you have to realize the "bible Belters" are part of your 1%'ers. Here in the bible belt, we see all science "learning" as against the will of god. Why else would you cut spending to education, promote pedoophiles, and denegrade all other ideas. You have t realize that (hate that sticky o), only the few, get the gold here. that those few control the many thru "better living" american ideal, and lie like deamns t portect their image of what they want. I call it sciopathic, idolic, and plain crazy, not what we founded upon, we may have started learning from the bible, but education counted, and critical thinking counted even more for the survival of the people. The belters denegrade critical thinking, same with the 1%'ers. They see it as antithical to their lifestyle. I don't blame god for giving us a firework every noow and then, just to shw them up.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (2)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936711)

Obama? Leftist?
Errr...no.

On the world's political stage, the US Democrats are moderately right wing.
The Republicans are batshit-insane extreme right wing.
As far as world politics go, I'm somewhat conservative. The US Democrat party is slightly outside of my comfort zone to the right on a lot of things.
There *is* no left wing party in th US.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934117)

The only non-coincidence could be that after the Russian event (which WAS spectacular) meteorite related stories now get more coverage.

Spetacular? Spetacular cause it was not your windows that blown up.

It is almost like you said that September, 11 was Spetacular because there was a huge fireball from a plane crashing in WTC.

Yor Fucking Bastard Asshole.

Spetacular... I simply cannot believe in such assholes that appears in slashdot these days.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (2)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936885)

"Spectacular" does not necessarily imply good or bad.
It's just something that's sensational or eye-catching.
I think this qualifies.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934273)

>Coincidences DO happen...correlation is not causation, but it seems the average IQ on /. is pretty low.

In politics (of a public institution), no they don't. They approved the funding because of recent events, both in order to influence the public and in order to have good PR.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936685)

NASA: Need Another Scary Asteroid

It's been "Need Another Seven Astronauts" for years now, sorry.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934507)

NASA launch something?

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (5, Interesting)

Alex Pennace (27488) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932361)

So you're saying that the timing is just a coincidence?

It passes the sniff test. Consider the possible scenarios:

1. As per http://www.fallingstar.com/nasa_funding.php [fallingstar.com] , this has been in the works since 2011, grant money was released in January 2013, and only now is the mainstream media reporting on it.
2. An American bureaucracy approves a $5 million grant within three days, two of which are Saturday and Sunday.
3. There was already a fully-working secret skunkworks detection system that knew months ahead of time that Chelyabinsk Oblast would be grazed by a meteor, and they kept it a secret knowing there would be a lot of grant money headed their way; the only person they told was cousin Igor back in Russia who was ideally positioned to do brisk business in underwear and trouser sales

Which scenario is the most plausible?

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

kdemetter (965669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932907)

(1) Seems most plausible. It's newsworthy today and so it's worth ( money ) mentioning it.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933105)

Which is most plausible in 21st century US?

Give me a clue!

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933691)

"There was already a fully-working secret Illuminati skunkworks detection system"

FTFY. Now the most plausible option is clear.

EDIT: Hahaha captcha is fascism. Got to love RNG sometimes.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42936457)

I detect sarcasm. It's almost as if you think you know everything there is to know and you believe everything your government tells you.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932371)

The article he indicated said that the funding was to be 5mil beginning Jan 2013. They just got a wake up call
that January 1 was past

What percentage of this will the Russians fund do you suppose?

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (2)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932551)

"So you're saying that the timing is just a coincidence?"

It that's not a joke then I will add that nothing, NOTHING happens in NASA that fast.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933733)

And we absolutely cannot confirm or deny the giant slingshot spotted in the Baltic.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933947)

So is tha's what the Helsinki-Tallinn ferries have been reeling out behind them these last few months?

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936733)

So is tha's what the Helsinki-Tallinn ferries have been reeling out behind them these last few months?

There's no reason to start slinging slurs. The sexual orientation of the Helsinki-Tallinn is irrelevant.

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933259)

I misplaced my tinfoil hat, so i assume someone controlled that asteroid so there will be no problem with the funding :D

Re:NASA didn't just hand over the $5 million (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933725)

The events don't coincide at all, the project was funded in 2011. The press talking about it now is absolutely not merely a coincidence, they always do this sort of thing when they get reminded that NASA exists by something space related happening.

NASA Money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931883)

Since when does NASA have money?

Re:NASA Money? (4, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931927)

Since when does NASA have money?

Maybe they dedicated some cores to bitcoin mining? (I mean, if the congress approval is unreliable, they'd need to find other ways to survive)

Re:NASA Money? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932295)

The Department of Energy [llnl.gov] is the one with the extra cycles.

Re:NASA Money? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932379)

NASA's Pleiades [nasa.gov] is 14th [top500.org] in top500 (at the level of Oct 2012)... I guess it still qualifies to "plenty of computation power".

Re:NASA Money? (1)

tloh (451585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932437)

I would have suggested they mine the asteroid.

Re:NASA Money? (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932575)

I would have suggested they mine the asteroid.

I'm sure they could... if only the congress would approve some budget to get Bruce Willis and the others on it.

Re:NASA Money? (1)

tloh (451585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933173)

There ya go! Perfect reason to bring the shuttle fleet out of mothballs and tricked out with cinematic, ostentacious, techno-bling. Except this time, Willy's young hot-headed buddy Ben Affleck is actually going along totally undercover in order to exfiltrate Sidney Bristow, the spy hottie with whom he has been two-timing Willy's half-elven daughter, Arwen.

Re:NASA Money? (4, Informative)

ThePeices (635180) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932495)

Since when does NASA have money?

Maybe they dedicated some cores to bitcoin mining? (I mean, if the congress approval is unreliable, they'd need to find other ways to survive)

Its a shame though. NASA would be beside themselves if they got 10Bil a year. Meanwhile, the US Army spends 20bil a year on air conditioning alone...

A right shame. You would think with all the inventions and innovations that have come out of NASA throughout its history, Americans would be proud of what they have with NASA. Instead they seem to see it as a pointless financial burden.

Re:NASA Money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933437)

I don't think typical Americans see it like that, hell, I don't even think politicians (cursed be they) see it like that. I do think the military-industrial complex are good at lobbying for money.

Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (5, Insightful)

relikx (1266746) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931889)

The ATLAS system's funding is a step in the right direction but as the article mentions the southern pole would remain a blind spot. Still, having one to two day's notice for an affected area would go a long way. We seem to have most of the >150m asteroids located through current efforts but that still leaves thousands or millions of undetected objects capable of wiping out a city and causing further catastrophe for nuclear facilities. The cost vs. benefit seems evident, better late than never.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931923)

Not sure how precise they can be for objects which hit the atmosphere from 19 degrees above the horizon. You might get more deaths from the resulting evacuation than we saw from this impact.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (5, Informative)

Burdell (228580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931999)

For something like this (where nobody died), you wouldn't attempt an evacuation. I believe that most of the injuries were from broken glass and other falling debris; it would be enough to warn people to either get outside (away from buildings, trees, and other objects that could be blown around by a shock wave) or to stay inside away from windows.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932097)

What if an airplane was flying near this at the time? At least you could shutdown the airspace.

I live in Manhattan and I know the odds of something like this hitting any area but the shits scary to think about.
What it the same even could have done in the wrong place.

Money well spent either way.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (1)

TCPhotography (1245814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932459)

Duck and Cover might have prevented a lot of the injuries.

But we can't have that, because it can be made to look silly by the people opposed to real Civil Defense.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933731)

That is what we know NOW.
Do you think that, when the mass and impact area of this object had been known 2 days before, there would be ANY scientist who would have stated that it "would only shatter some windows and you are safe when you stay away from those"???
I don't think that anyone would have taken the responsibility for such an advise.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932357)

Cost vs. benefit? You have to be kidding me. The probability of hitting a city or a nuclear plant with a decent size asteroid is so incredibly small that there is really is no benefit for this survey at all. Just because there was a recent meteor blast doesn't make them more likely.

Meteor defense is another name for security theater. An overreaction to a big and scary threat (like terrorism) that when you actually calculate the risk turns out to be very small.

This reminds me of a Bruce Schneier essay on tagging newborns with RFID tags [schneier.com] .

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932425)

The ATLAS system's funding is a step in the right direction but as the article mentions the southern pole would remain a blind spot. Still, having one to two day's notice for an affected area would go a long way. We seem to have most of the >150m asteroids located through current efforts but that still leaves thousands or millions of undetected objects capable of wiping out a city and causing further catastrophe for nuclear facilities. The cost vs. benefit seems evident, better late than never.

Further catastrophe for nuclear facilities?

Come on, playing the nuclear card when the chances of a nuclear plant being hit by a meteor is vanishingly small seems to be a bit over the top, don't you think?. Maybe throw in your local school, so we can "think of the children" while you are at it...

Also, meteors are far less likely to approach us from the poles. Like most things, their orbits tend to generally align with the plane of the major planets. Slightly tilted with regard to our orbit, but polar approach seem very unlikely.

Right off the top, you can write off 3/4 of meteors as they will statistically land in the ocean. (And no they won't cause a tsunami).
Then you can write off another large percentage that will hit farm land or forests.
Finally you get down to about 1% of the earths surface that is occupied by people [answers.com] .

Then lets measure the damage? 1908 = nill. 2013, several million to replace broken glass, and patch up cuts and scrapes. (Lesson: Don't watch meteors thru windows).

Seriously, this is statistically a huge waste of money.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933153)

Modded -1, I Don't Like Your Opinion, So I'm Going to Mod You Down For It.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (1)

tloh (451585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932467)

24-48 hr advance warning isn't nearly enough. come on guys! we have to be on schedule to have something in place by 2130 capable of detecting a big-ass cylinder from out beyond Jupiter's orbit.

Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933261)

I do have to wonder why you selected nuclear plants. The Earth has a surface area of 510 million square kilometers. The Tunguska impact leveled an area of 2150 square kilometers. This is 0.0004% of the surface of the Earth for an event that happens on average once every 1000 years or so. Let's assume that there are 500 nuclear reactors on Earth each geographically isolated from each other and within a 2150 square kilometer blast radius. This give us 0.2% of the Earth surface. In the next 50 years, combining probabilities, we have a 4E-10 probability of a meteor destroying a nuclear plant. Compare this with a typical nuclear plants core damage frequency that is on the order of 50,000 years. Nuclear plants are 25 million times more likely to melt down due to design an operational issues than due to being hit by a Tunguska type meteor. This doesn't mean nuclear plants are unsafe--they aren't. It just means that fears of asteroids hitting them are unfounded, statistically.

"Huge"?? (0)

Lisias (447563) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931929)

That meteorite was only 15 to 17 meters long.

The size of its blast was due to its tremendous energy (a.k.a. speed) when it penetrates our atmosphere....

Reference. [space.com]

Re:"Huge"?? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931941)

Well yeah its kinetic energy was huge. If it was one metre across and hit at 100km/s that would be huge too.

Re:"Huge"?? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932165)

Really? Wouldn't it just heat up and explode sooner, higher up in the atmosphere?

Re:"Huge"?? (2)

meglon (1001833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932393)

At very high rates of speed, which 100km/sec would be a flat out damn fast as the normal/average speed is more in the line of 12-20km/sec, it would be possible for it to simply punch a hole through the atmosphere without ever ablating anything.... think of it as a bow shock, if you will. There's a number of variables though... composition (iron a better choice than stony), and entry angle (steep entry more likely), but it's possible. That would definitely make a dent in anything it landed on.

Re:"Huge"?? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932969)

Even at a steep entry angle it would be in the atmosphere for 2 seconds before impact.

A 15m shpere has around 3000x the volume of a 1m one. You'd need the 1m diameter one to go over 50x faster to equal the kinetic energy of the 15m diameter one. Say over 500km/sec.

Re:"Huge"?? (1)

meglon (1001833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933051)

I think you wanted to respond to MichaelSmith. I was responding to your question on whether it would simple explode in the atmosphere or not. I think it was Dyson that first suggested that not terribly large object entering the atmosphere at a very high rate of speed could actually impact the oceans floor without even touching water due to bowshock. (my caveat: it's been over 35 years since i read much on the subject, and my memory is not remotely close to what it was then. It may have been someone else's writings that were published at that time, and somehow got attributed to Dyson in my grey matter.)

As for your point: yes, volume increases isn't linear with size, and volume decrease would necessitate a significant increase in velocity to compensate. There's a lot of variables to take into account other than simply size and speed in the overall picture, though. Actual damage would also change depending on the terrain, height of the air burst, and impact or air burst. I think MichealSmith's point isn't a strict comparison of exactly the same amount of energy released, but more along the lines of "it doesn't have to be big size wise to cause a lot of damage."

This one in Russia would have caused significantly more damage had the burst been lower in the atmosphere, or in a more populated area, where one larger than this would have caused little to no damage somewhere out in the middle of the ocean.

Re:"Huge"?? (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932265)

I'm sorry, are your statements by chance a euphemism for something?

So when ATLAS shrugs (4, Funny)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932001)

no alerts are deemed necessary?

Peanuts? (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932041)

5 million seems a bit like peanut change for something like this, I can't imagin that it will go far.

Re:Peanuts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932091)

WTF is "peanut change"? You mean shells?

Re:Peanuts? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932133)

He muddled two idioms together - "peanuts" and "small change" I guess.

Re:Peanuts? (4, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932249)

Or mangled one: "pocket change".

And yes, by government standards, it is pocket change. But astronomers have been so thoroughly beaten up in the budget battles for so many years that they've learned to get by on pocket change. Really, it doesn't take much more than that. A handful of decent telescopes at decent sites can do complete sky surveys nightly, aimed by machine, and the data fed into software that looks for lights that weren't there last night (which is code that already exists for a task absolutely ideal for a computer). The results are reviewed by the local astronomer as a sanity check, who then pushes the appropriate button to categorize the results (Good, clear night, Bad, cloudy night, Bad, bug on the telescope, etc.). The results are forwarded to a central database, washed against meteorology reports as an additional sanity check, and a report is generated and emailed to a selected bureaucrat. We don't even need to invent a new bureaucrat. It's a glance it over report, if all the software people and the astronomers have done their jobs right.

Most of the software already exists. The $5 million pays for piecing it together, adding the few bits that are missing, like an interface for the astronomers and the report generator, plus one lonely machine in a rack in a NASA data center somewhere that acts as the clearinghouse. A competent programmer could put it all together alone in a few months. Spread around the leftover cash to buy a little more hard drive space for the participating observatories and to prop up the budget of whatever department hosts the lucky bureaucrat (because the bureaucrat's manager will whine if you don't).

Done.

Of course, what will actually happen is too depressing to think about, and involves assinine turf wars, cowardly non-decision-making decision makers, industry lobbyists (choose OUR con$ulting company for the software!), intellectual property arguments, random bungling and assorted stupidity.

Meh.

Re:Peanuts? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933965)

But this isn't $5m of governmental budget going to a NASA program, it's $5m of NASA budget going to just one of their projects. That makes it 200 times larger (as NASA's budget is .5% of the governmental budget).

Re:Peanuts? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936593)

Or mangled one: "pocket change".

I am FROSTY PISS, I break the rules.

Mixed idiums? NO PROBLEM!

I'm on the cutting ledge.

Follow me and be cool.

Thank very much, email me and I'll tell you where to send the beer and weed.

=/= Frosty P.

5 million? (0)

Bomb Carter (2843741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932137)

I doubt if theres anything to worry about ------ www.themotorclubofamerica-mca.com

Pardon me sir ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932167)

"Pardon me sir, but it's a BIG ASS sky"!

The sad fact of meteor discovery, is that there is a threshold on size that we will not be able to identify. We knew the 150ft meteor, DA14, was going to pass within 17K+ miles of Earth because of a previous swing. The meteor that came in over Russia came out of no where. At 7000 tons, it was a pretty damn small object considering the damage it caused.

There's no easy answer solution to the 'meteor problem'. Would scanning spherically, at Lagrange points make a difference? No doubt more money will have 'some' impact, but this is a probing measure only. It does nothing in the event that we find one on an impact trajectory. I guess, one thing at a time, right?

Re:Pardon me sir ... (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932211)

So far the objects which we missed have been mostly harmless. The longer we search, the more we find, and down to smaller sizes as well. So this situation will not go on for ever. In 50 years or so most objects above ten metres or so will have been catalogued and their trajectories modelled.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932421)

There's no easy answer solution to the 'meteor problem'.

Do nothing. Seriously, that's the easy solution. Spending a relatively small amount of money to catalog asteroids down to a certain size has some value beyond that default strategy.

It does nothing in the event that we find one on an impact trajectory.

Being able to predict a significant disaster even mere hours ahead of time doesn't have value? You can call off nuclear wars or preposition disaster relief supplies and teams ahead of time, even if you can't evacuate many people.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932515)

Even if you can only say "Put an adhesive-tape X across the windows to attempt to mitigate the shards of flying glass, and do stay away from the windows during the 2:30p-2:40p time frame", that's quite helpful.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (1)

Max_W (812974) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933403)

Why not invest into research on more resilient buildings in the first place? It is not only meteors, but also hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes.

Say, include into the glass sort of nylon net by regulations and forget about millions of broken glass injuries every year.

The same about walls. If falling stones hurt people regularly, by scores, perhaps, more graceful disintegration could be engineered as part of the original building design. But not pretend that a building is to stand forever.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (1)

GWRedDragon (1340961) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933513)

Why not invest into research on more resilient buildings in the first place? It is not only meteors, but also hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes. Say, include into the glass sort of nylon net by regulations and forget about millions of broken glass injuries every year.

That would cost way more than $5 million, or even $5 billion. It would just be harder to see the cost because it would be forced on to people building a new home or whatever (as if that industry needs more costs right now).

Re:Pardon me sir ... (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933807)

That's only likely to help with new construction.

Duck & Cover warnings just need a way of informing the populace, not making everyone rebuild their homes on a proactive whim.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42935029)

Why not invest into research on more resilient buildings in the first place? It is not only meteors, but also hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes. /quote>

Lots of the world doesn't have any of those. They are not going to build more expensive houses just because a meteor might strike might break some glass - sometime in the next ten million years.

You build for frequently occurring events, like rain and storms. You hide for a little while if something incredibly unusual like a meteor or tornado is due to happen in the next few hours. Such events are violent but affect a small area - and rarely.

You don't prepare "too much". Some cities don't have snowplows, because snow doesn't happen every year or at all. And some have hundreds of them, to avoid closing the road network for half the year.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932753)

You can call off nuclear wars or preposition disaster relief supplies and teams ahead of time, even if you can't evacuate many people.

most idiotic statement ever...are you still living in the 1980's? Grow the fuck up already

Re:Pardon me sir ... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42935189)

You can call off nuclear wars or preposition disaster relief supplies and teams ahead of time, even if you can't evacuate many people.

most idiotic statement ever...are you still living in the 1980's? Grow the fuck up already

You mean we can no longer evacuate people or preposition disaster relief supplies like we could in the 80s? We no longer have nuclear weapons or wars like we did in the 80s?

Re:Pardon me sir ... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42935541)

As an aside, I consider a small scale nuclear war involving a few bombs of small size to be more likely in the next decade than in the 80s.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42937657)

Well, yeah; in the 80s, there was no plausible scenario where a small nuclear war wouldn't turn into a large one.

Re:Pardon me sir ... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42940343)

And there weren't as many countries with nuclear weapons. People seem to forget that nuclear proliferation is still going on.

Maybe useful for other things, but... (4, Insightful)

trims (10010) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932273)

OK, first off, tracking such objects is a useful exercise, for many reasons, not just for the OMG, WE'RE GONNA GET HIT, crowd.

Unfortunately, it's practically useless for the purpose it's being touted for. That is, to give short notice warning of an impending impact.

Firstly, given the design criteria, we're looking at 48 hours notice, maximum, before an impact. Note that at the outer edge of this prediction envelope, it's a predicted impact - that is, one with a significant change of impact, but not a certainty of one. Now, hopefully, people would take this as seriously as we now do Tsunami Warnings. But think about it one more step:

Secondly, the impact area simply can't be computed until relatively shortly before impact. That is, if we detect the incoming meteor 48 hours ahead of time, it will take a couple of hours to compute a rough impact zone (meaning, just which part of the GLOBE it will hit), and likely you won't have a decent small error probability zone (meaning, something less than 100 miles across) until 12 hours or less before impact.

Does anyone think that a 12 hour warning of an impact can have any actual damage mitigation effect? Sure, if the area being hit has (a) a relatively low population, AND (b) a very good transportation system. But virtually all places on the Earth fail at one of those. There's simply no way to effectively evacuate even a mid-size city in time, and it's not like you can put everyone into blast shelters like the old Nuclear War scenarios wanted us to do.

So, spend the money on ATLAS, and get ourselves some great astrometric data for future use. It just won't be any sort of useful in terms of damage avoidance.

-Erik

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932323)

The data is also useful to decrease international tensions. Imagine a scenario where one or the other of the various nuclear equipped countries are being extra naughty and the tensions are high. It may well be worth a couple of million dollars to tell everyone "expect something that looks like, but isn't a nuclear airburst in the near future".

Priceless.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933211)

Until in a kill the messenger mood they blame it on the people giving them the warning saying it's a ruse to cover up an attack on them.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

physburn (1095481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934811)

yes we were very lucky, that russian didn't mistake the meteor impact, for a us attack, that could have been world war three right there.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932395)

Does anyone think that a 12 hour warning of an impact can have any actual damage mitigation effect?

Sure. As the other replier noted, you can prevent nuclear wars with that much advanced warning. 12 hours is also plenty of time to evacuate most places on the planet, if you're speaking of relatively small air bursts. And you can move a lot of supplies and disaster relief around in that time frame.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932397)

Does anyone think that a 12 hour warning of an impact can have any actual damage mitigation effect?

Anyone with a clue. Twelve hours is more than adequate time to move away from breakable glass and furniture that might topple.

This - like all mitigation efforts - isn't some binary LOLDAMAGE/LOLNODAMAGE nonsense. It's mitigation - reduction of damage.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (3, Insightful)

meglon (1001833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932419)

Yes, and no. If we can track these things, we may have years, or even centuries, of data to pinpoint where they're going to hit. If we happen to find something that's not going to hit us in 48 hours, that doesn't mean we're simply going to ignore it... we're going to remember it, and the more we learn about it, the more we'll have an idea if it's going to hit in the future, and where.

On the other side of that is, most of these objects won't need an evacuation. The one that came in over Russia didn't, but, the vast majority of those injuries could have been avoided if people would have known something was coming, and to stay away from their windows around a certain time of the day just to be safe. In that sense, those 12 hours of warning would have eliminated 95% or more of the injuries this one caused.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932569)

Secondly, the impact area simply can't be computed until relatively shortly before impact. That is, if we detect the incoming meteor 48 hours ahead of time, it will take a couple of hours to compute a rough impact zone (meaning, just which part of the GLOBE it will hit), and likely you won't have a decent small error probability zone (meaning, something less than 100 miles across) until 12 hours or less before impact.

And even that's of limited use (at best), or completely useless (at worst). This weekend's event is a prime example of that... The effects were felt along the ground track and below the point where it exploded - miles from it's "impact point' (had it survived to impact intact).

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

codegen (103601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932645)

Most of the injuries in Russia were from flying glass because of the explosion. For the larger more dangerous asteroids, a longer detection is possible. For the smaller ones like the recent one in Russia, 12 hours warning to get everyone to stay away form glass might be reasonable.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932681)

You do realize that a 48-24 hour window is better then nothing (even for a multiple hiroshima level blast, you could have enough time to get out of the way via land vehicle...assuming your making some good miles). Also, information gathered is cumulative. It might be a near miss that may very well turn into a strike within the next few year(s)....how did this short sighted argument ever get modded insightful...

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934233)

Most of the people hurt in the recent events in Russia were hit by falling glass. 12 hours warning is more than enough to put some tape on your windows and stay away from them.

You also have to think of this as a step along the road to building something that can detect things further out. You don't start by flying to the moon, first you build some model rockets and build up to it.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42935113)

12 hours warning for the russian meteorite would be nice. Think of all the cameras we could rig up! Think of the tourism opportunities!

The risk was low out in the open. The impact crater was small. The city was not a dangerous place to be, just make sure people don't form dense crowds.

Re:Maybe useful for other things, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42935811)

Why avoidance? There would be a large population of reporters/bloggers showing up at the predicted event site!

Ah ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932343)

Well. That is a nice sum and a 'Thank You' should be in order. BUT, There are 'COMPLICATIONS' !

OH YEAH !

We will not see anything ... ever ... just wrong ... all wrong.

Last chance ... no chance.

Windows open or closed? (3, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932461)

This doesn't exactly fit the topic, but I don't know of a good place to even ask this question. At one time the official advice was to open windows during a tornado, so that pressure inside the building could equalize with the atmosphere, thus reducing destruction. I think that advice has been thrown out, because if a tornado does hit your house it's toast, and at least having your windows closed gives a little protection from flying debris and hail.

However, the opening windows advice does sound good for massive shock waves, like from a meteor. If you'll notice in the videos showing windows in apartment buildings blowing out, it was pretty evenly distributed across the building. It might have affected 1 in 5 windows or so, which to me appears to have been the necessary amount to equalize pressure in the building. My point is if if that number of windows had been opened on purpose, then I bet none would have had to have blown out.

Anyone know anything specific about this kind of thing?

Re:Windows open or closed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933473)

I know I don't want to be opening a window in a building when it gets blown out in my face by a shockwave. I'd rather just go the a central room with no windows, like a stairwell, or head outside.http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/02/17/2156234/atlas-meteor-tracking-system-gets-5m-nasa-funding#

Re:Windows open or closed? (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42939057)

... and at least having your windows closed gives a little protection from flying debris and hail.

No. Ground zero in a hurricane is going to be swarming with flying cars, trees, bricks, two-by-fours, & etc. Glass shards would be the least of your worries. Just stay away from any openings and hope the building stays where it is, preferably in as few pieces possible.

So the moral of this story.. (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932479)

.. is that the more damage done by near earth objects, the more we'll spend trying to save ourselves from them.

Is it just me or does that seem like the wrong way of approaching this issue?

Re:So the moral of this story.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933649)

No worries! Our ghosts will set up massive interstellar colonies a few years after a meteor kills us all in one hit.

America was in no danger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932929)

They don't need scan the entire sky evey night, only the part that might contain objects that put American lives at risk. Foreign nationals' lives should be none of our concern. Why should we be reponsible for the entire world? What matters most is The safety of America and her people.

NORAD (1)

Tannasgh (2835771) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936189)

I have a feeling NORAD knew about that meteoroid before the Russians saw it become a meteor and finally plunged into the lake and turned into a meteorite. I would also go so far as to say the Russian Military saw it coming in as well. The cold war may be "over", but both nations are nervous about North Korean and Iran and I would gather that they have been and will continue to closely monitor their own airspace for quite some time.
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