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First Dedicated Asteroid-Tracking Satellite Will Be Canadian

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the nobody-expects-the-asteroid-inquisition dept.

Canada 49

cylonlover writes "In the wake of the meteor blast over Russia and the close-quarter flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 last week, many people's thoughts have turned to potential dangers from above. It is timely then that the Canadian Space Agency will next week launch NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), the world's first space telescope for detecting and tracking asteroids, satellites and space debris." The meteor incident in Russia has spurred interested in asteroid defense across the globe; donations are pouring in for asteroid-related projects, government officials are making a show of seeming interested, and researchers are stepping up their efforts. Unfortunately, as a related article at Wired notes, we're still a long, long way from having anything more than early warning systems. Quoting: "A new endeavor coming online in 2015 named the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System Project (ATLAS) will provide an early warning system that could provide one week’s notice for city-destroying 45-meter asteroids and three week’s notice for potentially devastating 140-meter objects. ... A more targeted effort comes from the B612 Foundation, which plans to launch the Sentinel telescope in late 2016. This spacecraft would sit inside the orbit of Venus and constantly be on the lookout for killer asteroids, whichever direction they come from. Sentinel will spot nearly all asteroids 150 meters or larger and identify a significant portion of those down to 30 meters in diameter."

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Canadian? (3, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978749)

Canadian, eh?

Re:Canadian? (1)

zandeez (1917156) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978773)

They missed the 'a', it'll be a Canadian. On a chair watching the sky wearing a bright orange bomber jacket.

Re:Canadian? (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985843)

Ya canna put enough beer into space to make it worth the while... but man: you could play caps weightless! That would be cool!

Re:Canadian? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979145)

They're going to need a really big hockey stick.

Not Quite (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978767)

It is timely then that the Canadian Space Agency will next week launch NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), ....

I think it should be that the CSA will have someone else launch NEOSSat.

Are they also looking for a ``Little Prince''? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978777)

Great to see a reference to one of my favourite author's writings, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry --- though I much preferred his _Wind, Sand and Stars_.


Misplaced priorities (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978787)

Humanity survives 100,000 years without being annihilated by meteors, but now a meteor has struck in Russia and we need to panic and have a meteor defense system up in 10 years? Sorry, but the probabilities have not changed. If you want to save humanity, focus on eliminating bio-weapons and nuclear weapons. Those are the threats that could eliminate humanity in 50 years. Meteors--probably not*.

* And I know that I'm going to be flamed by those who say "what if". The same argument has been used to sink nuclear power and support anti-terrorism policies. Risk management means evaluating even catastrophic risks in deterministic terms--i.e. there is no absolute values (yes/no).

Re:Misplaced priorities (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978887)

Based on your message, I wonder how they were able to pull this type of project together in 10 days!

Obviously someone up there has been interested in this problem since well before the Russia incident.

Well done mods (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42980711)

Based on your message, I wonder how they were able to pull this type of project together in 10 days!

Obviously someone up there has been interested in this problem since well before the Russia incident.

Vague reference to a threat...check
Reference to authority...check
Analysis of actual risk or response to any of the points discussed by the GP based on the poster's knowledge or experience...[this space reserved]

+3 Insightful

Here is a tip for moderators: mod up posts that facilitate a discussion and mod down posts that don't. But never moderate posts based on what you agree or disagree with. I'm standing by for this post to be modded -1, "I disagree".

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978935)

If we can't stop the meteor, then what is the point? I mean - it is like being told you'll be shot in the face the second before it happens.

Re:Misplaced priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979061)

It is worse than that. It is like being told someone in a certain hemisphere is going to be shot. If they really are able to do 1 week notice on a 45 meter asteroid - you won't be evacuating because the margin of error will basically be a continent. It isn't like they will be sure of exactly where the heck it will hit.

Re:Misplaced priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979227)

If we can't stop the meteor, then what is the point? I mean - it is like being told you'll be shot in the face the second before it happens.

A global orgy? I mean, it is the end of the world. Every geek has been waiting to use that pickup line!

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980173)

If we can't stop the meteor, then what is the point? I mean - it is like being told you'll be shot in the face the second before it happens.

Because all of the money being poured into defense contractors by the government that is being forced to cut defense spending can now be poured into the same companies to protect us from meteors. Since there is no longer a geo-political threat to sustain cold war spending, we now need a new threat.

Re:Misplaced priorities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983515)

This needs to be modded a 5. I wish I could find a quote which talks about the various threats. Something like fascism, communism, terrorism, and space threats (asteroids or aliens).

Re:Misplaced priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023417)

I'm the other poster who replied. I don't know why I got modded down, and why you haven't been modded up. It should be quite obvious that this false threat is a cash grab. Just one example of this happening in the past would be the war on terrorism and all the weapons manufacturers who profited from it.

Re:Misplaced priorities (2)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#42986875)

If you can narrow down a geographical region and a time, you can at least tell people to get away from windows. There were a lot of people hurt in the Russian event because of flying glass. If the meteor is too big then it won't matter a lot, but if it's not huge or if one isn't directly in its path then it may help a few.

It's similar to nuclear "duck and cover" responses. Obviously, ducking and covering won't help you if you're in the fireball. But, if you're five miles from the fireball, ducking and covering may help you avoid flying debris and being badly hurt or killed by being physically cut up, and you won't need emergency medical services, so less people overwhelm the few remaining medical facilities.

Re:Misplaced priorities (4, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978979)

We already have a lot of resources going to dealing with nuclear weapons and bioweapons. Meanwhile, after the fall of the USSR, the chance of a full scale nuclear war went down a lot. And there may even be benefits from many countries having nukes- there's the notion of "nuclear peace" [] - once a few countries have nukes, they are less likely to go to war with each other. In contrast, we have very little going to deal with asteroids and other existential risk threats from space, so we might as well put some resources into it, especially given that asteroid tracking telescopes will also give us interesting scientific data.

Your basic point does however have some validity. There's the serious problem of the Great Filter [] . That is, something apparently makes advanced civilizations very rare. It is possible that most of the filtration stopping civilizations occurs before they reach our tech level (e.g. need for life to arise, need for complex life to arise, need for intelligent life to arise, need for civilization to arise, etc.) However, there's a definite possibility that much of the Filter is in front of us and not behind us. If that's the case, Filtration likely needs to occur very soon (next few centuries) since once we're spread out a bit in space, destroying or severely setting back our whole civilization will be much tougher. This narrow window suggests that most of the civilization destroying events we need to worry about are ones that will be created by us, and not natural ones, since natural ones are just so rare. So while we're clearly not putting enough resources into investigating and preventing existential risks, it is possible that almost all the resources we put in should focus on the tech-based ones.

Re:Misplaced priorities (2)

Arker (91948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979361)

"Nuclear peace" or as it was called a few decades back, MAD, works fairly well. It's sort of an extension of the old dictum that a well-armed people are a polite people. The problem is that nuclear weapons are so powerful and indiscriminate in effect that it only needs to fail once to have catastrophic effects planet-wide. This makes it very dangerous.

However the rest of the world is hardly going to give up on their nukes when the US wont. And the US pays lip-service to disarmament and the NPL but goes no further toward any real disarmament; it demonizes Iran, one of the few countries with nuclear technology that is actually a signatory to, and in compliance with, the NPL, while treating Israel, Pakistan, and India who declined to sign and went ahead and produced their own nuclear weapons instead, much better. This policy obviously makes some sense in terms of domestic politics, and that's why it's not likely to change anytime soon, but it's making the world a much more dangerous place.

The problem here isnt resources. It's will. There is no political will to change the situation in the political classes inside the worlds most heavily armed nation, and therefore everyone else, inside that nation and outside, is left to pray that MAD continues to be 100% effective. 99.9% just isnt good enough in this case.

Re:Misplaced priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978983)

For someone who understands risk management, I am surprised that you think that this is not worth the effort. The costs - when spread out across the world - are very small. But I guess a lack of data means this is a rather subjective matter.

Re:Misplaced priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979115)

A very high risk that has a very low frequency may not be worth the effort to counteract. There is a calculable probability that every nuclear power plant in the world will suffer a critical malfunction that will cause a simultaneous release of radioactive plumes. There is also a calculable probability that a nuclear weapons control system will fail causing a launch of an ICBM or SLBM which triggers a nuclear war. Personally, I'm worried about the later more than the former. And I'm worried about the later a hell of a lot more than I'm worried about civilization destroying meteor. There are a lot of ways for our civilization to end. I think our problem isn't finding known threats that have low probabilities, but finding the threats we don't know about that we are able to invent. I've been practicing my bowing for when our insect (or robot) overlords arrive.

Re:Misplaced priorities (2)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979873)

As far as probabilities are concerned, meteor and asteroid impacts are actually quite common. A large asteroid or commet hit Siberia just 100 years ago and caused devastation for hundreds of square miles. Such an impact in a densely populated region would wipe out thousands or millions of people. As far as odds are concerned we are due for another large collision. As a society we have already committed ourselves to exploring space and making use of satellites for practical needs, why not this as well? We have Tsunami advanced detection and warning systems, so why not have the same for asteroids? Back when the first Tsunami warning systems were installed your argument could have been just as valid then, since Tsunamis don't happen every day, and warning systems can't always guarantee people can get to safe heights in time (ie the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami). And of all the known Tsunamis that have wiped out entire cities and coastlines and tens of thousands of people throughout human history, how many of these might have been caused by a large meteor hitting the ocean?

Now, suppose this satellite is just the beginning of a permanent program that monitors near earth space for signs of approaching objects. Say it continues for 200 years from now with no potential collisions detected, but then it catches one, gives enough warning to either take action on the object or evacuate the area that will be affected by the collision. Suppose hundreds of thousands of lives are saved? Is it then worth the cost? And I would point out that if the money isn't going into this program it would go to some other program, like the effect of low gravity on milk production in goats, or some other nonsense. Even with a meteor warning system scientists would still use the satellite to study and learn, which may become very useful down the road. It's certainly no worse than the money being thrown at the CERN program.

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979975)

As far as odds are concerned we are due for another large collision.

No!!!! You fail probability 101. We are never "due" for any independent probabilistic event!

Re:Misplaced priorities (2)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985699)

All I said was "due". There is a difference beween stating we are due for a probabilistic event and saying that any one day the odds are greater than the previous (ie observing that after getting three tails in a row we are "due" for a heads in a coin toss, though it is known that the odds for each toss are always 50% and you could have 50 turns and still have tails, though having 50 tails in a row would be an unlikely occurrence). You may be guilty of the reverse gambler's fallacy if you think that we are safe just because it's been thousands of years since the last major event.

The threshold for an impact that causes widespread global mortality and threatens civilization almost certainly lies between about 0.5 and 5 km diameter, perhaps near 2 km. The energy released by an impactor depends on diameter, density, velocity, and angle. Impacts of objects this large occur from one to several times per million years, but the last known climate changing collision was believed to have hit Argentina 3.3 million years ago. So the last known incidence of this magnitude was 3.3 million years ago, but statistically we should have been hit two or three times since then. Either we just haven't uncovered the evidence of these past impacts or they haven't happened yet. If they haven't happened yet, then we are due for a collision - pure and simple. It doesn't mean it will happen this decade, our lifetime, or even in the next 3 million years. But for all of humanity to proceed as though there were no risk from asteroids would be arrogant.

Objects with a diameter of roughly 50 m (164 ft) strike Earth approximately once every thousand years, producing explosions comparable to the one known to have detonated roughly 8.5 kilometers (28,000 ft) above Tunguska in 1908. Even when we predict that a near earth asteroid will pass close but not hit us we are not out of danger. In 1490 about 10,000 people died from meteors in the Chinese city of Ch'ing-yang when an asteroid broke overhead.

But consider this: In 2000 a computer analysis of asteroid impacts showed an annual risk of a fatal impact at one in 90, and concluded that an average of 120,000 people died per event. A small section of my property lies on a 100 year flood plain. Even though there is only 1% chance in any year that the area will flood, and theoretical the area could flood several times within 100 years or not at all in 200 years, insurance companies and mortgage companies won't talk to me about financing and insuring a structure on that area, even though the structure itself will have been paid off in less than 10 years and will likely depreciate to scrap value over the course of several decades. If the odds of flooding on my property are great enough of a concern to scare off finance companies that can diversify their portfolio, then why aren't we more concerned about asteroids that can obliterate the only asset humans can call home? If you lose all your property in a flood but survive, you can declare bankruptcy and start over. Not so easy if you lose a whole metropolitan region and their populations from a single meteor.

And while we may hate to base our decisions on a computer projection -- especially one done by a newcomer to the field of impact studies -- when it comes to asteroidal impact, there's little else to go on. Only about 3 percent of impacts leave a crater, and even when a crater does form, it is eventually buried by sediment, as happened to the Yucatan crater, or by the shifting of tectonic plates. On Earth, crater-counting can cause a false sense of security.

Actually, some 100 bodies have already been discovered on orbits which take them so close to the Earth's orbit, that they could hit in the far distant future. This is because the orbits of these bodies change slowly with time. Although their orbits do not intersect Earth's orbit at present, they could hit in a few thousand years or more. I would like to think that it is possible that the level of development our civilization has achieved will continue without any collapse or dark ages. If it does, then the process we began today to track, monitor, and prepare for dangerous asteroids will pay off one day for our future descendants. Or we could just say "to hell with it", forget about asteroids or reducing carbon emissions or controlling chemicals in our ground water or anything else that matters to prosperity just to line our pockets today for the most elaborate funeral once we're dead of old age and greed.

At least one asteroid with a diameter of over 1 km (0.62 mi), (29075) 1950 DA, has already been identified as having a possibility of colliding with Earth on March 16, 2880. Sure, that gives us over 800 years to prepare, but have you noticed that most governments wait until the 11th hour to act on anything important, such as national debt, changing a debt ceiling, approving a budget, or extending laws set to expire. The possibility of an asteroid scheduled to hit us before the next 800 years is real and significant - the sooner we know where and when we will be hit the better prepared we can be, maybe even to take action to divert its orbit. But if we can't even agree that now is the time to monitor asteroids - because now we have the technology - then how are we going to expect our descendents to prepare for what we alread know is heading their direction?

Because the risk of such an impact happening in the near future is very low, the nature of the impact hazard is unique in our experience. Nearly all hazards we face in life actually happen to someone we know, or we learn about them from the media, whereas no large impact has taken place within the total span of human history... It is this juxtaposition of the small probability of occurrence balanced against the enormous consequences if it does happen that makes the impact hazard such a difficult and controversial topic. I think of it like this - imagine you shot an arrow at a target marked with 1,000 squares on a grid. The odds of hitting one specific square are slim. But when you pull your arrow from the board you see that one of the squares WAS hit. To that square it didn't matter whether it's odds were high or low, because that square definitely and absolutely was hit by an arrow. With an earth-ending asteroid odds don't matter quite as much as they do for an isolated event like losing a finger, getting car jacked, or being forced into bankruptcy. In each of these examples there is a way to go on, a way to recover. As humans we are practically destined to die within the next 100 years, most of use sooner, many of us much sooner. So the odds of getting killed really aren't as significant compared to an earth destroying event that ends everything you, your parents, and your ancestors have worked torwards. Some people care about the world we leave for our descendants, even if not direct offspring. Some people don't give a crap. But most people aren't going to be swayed by the tax-me-not, self-serving money grabbers to believe that preventing such collisions aren't worth the money, effort, and taxes.

Re:Misplaced priorities (3, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979321)

Dinosaurs survived 135 million years without being annihilated. Their last words were "Damn, I wish we'd done something".

Re:Misplaced priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979569)

They did do something. They evolved into birds.

Again, let me repeat: you can't evaluate this as an absolute "it could happen" scenario. The Earth "could" quantum tunnel itself several light years away into the core of another star. The probability of that happening isn't high. You might respond by saying that we can do something about meteors, but not about absurd probabilities. My response is simply that we need to make a threshold for acting on an civilization ending probability. We need to define what probability we are comfortable with. For probabilities above the threshold for civilization ending events we should take action. Below that we ignore. If a gamma ray burst from X star is too low of a probability, we don't do anything. But if a gamma ray burst from Y star is above that probability, we act. In the meantime, we do what every lifeform on our planet has done to ensure its survival: we explore and colonize. A meteor that destroys life on Earth will not be as significant if there is a self-sustaining colony on Mars. And in fact, exploration and colonization may be more cost beneficial to ensuring the survival of humanity than building an impenetrable fortress on Earth.

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42982393)

1. Last time a 'city-killer' struck was 100 years ago, it just happened to be in an empty place.

2. This isn't a panicked response -- you can't build a satellite in a week, and this has been on the books for years. The Russian meteor is a nice reminder, but this has been a focus of many for decades.

3. My background is in astrodynamics and spacecraft design. I can do a lot better work on protecting against asteroid impacts than I could focusing on nuclear weapons. The best man from my wedding is a nuclear engineer, who does in fact work on non-proliferation. Beyond the two problems you mention, we (humanity) face a huge number of troubles, as individuals, nations, and as a whole. We don't tackle them one at a time though, and we shouldn't -- assuming we should is basically the fallacy of 'The Mythical Man-Month' writ large. The amount of time and money spent on detecting asteroid threats (and considering options to disrupt a threat) is appropriately minuscule next to that spent on other problems.

4. Developing satellites to better detect small asteroids is far different from fear-mongering against nuclear power or for anti-terrorism policies, because you have to consider side effects. Nuclear power is the most reliable way to provide non-carbon-emitting 'renewable' base power, and limiting it based on fear is thus disastrous, while reasonable fear leads us to build safer plants. Anti-terrorism policies at their core aren't bad, its only that they tend to have the nasty side effects of damaging civil liberties -- radiation detectors at ports (for instance) are fairly inexpensive and unobtrusive and thus a reasonable response to a real but overblown threat. The side effects of launching satellites to help detect city-killer sized asteroids (which is also inexpensive in the grand scheme of things) are to learn more about small bodies and the evolution of the solar system, and to develop and improve spaceflight technology. This is hardly the same kind of bargain as the fear-mongering examples.

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#42986879)

True enough, but I don't see this as needfully being either - or. Do you?

Meteor detected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978789)

Lookout eh!

right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978871)

Of course! The Canadians are Marxist, Socialist, Fascist, Totalitarian Hippies that actually care about their citizens.

This project is of use to no known corporate entity, so it is therefore a waste of money. No gun manufacturers will be involved, either.

Re:right (1)

moj0joj0 (1119977) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979473)

No gun manufacturers will be involved, either.


Re:right (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42981525)

Hey if can be argued that guns would be needed in a fight against a military with supersonic stealth fighters, cruise missiles and ICBMs, is it such a stretch to argue that they could be used for asteroid defense?

Gogo Canada! (4, Informative)

AikonMGB (1013995) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978883)

Also on the PSLV-C20 launch are the Canadian military satellite SAPPHIRE [] , and the twin spacecraft BRITE-Austria and UniBRITE [] , developed in Canada [] for TU Graz and University of Vienna respectively. ISRO put out a pretty good brochure [] describing the launch.

You can find some good photos of the stacking and launch vehicle integration here [] , here [] , and here [] . You can watch the launch live on Monday morning here [] .

Needless to say, we're all pretty stoked around here ^__^

Re:Gogo Canada! (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978925)

I should clarify my first sentence: the prime contractor for SAPPHIRE is MDA, the customer being the Department of National Defense. It is the BRITEs that were developed for Austria by SFL.

Re:Gogo Canada! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978995)

yes, fitting. canada doing something else that
nobody cares about. ;-)

Oh Canada... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978977)

...we stand on guard for thee! ;)

Re:Oh Canada... (2)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979021)

it's TEA, not thee.

Praise Canada! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979017)

It brings a tear to my eye that the country that gave us Rush, The McKenzie Brothers, Molson and Tom Hortons is now giving us this great gift too.
Oh, Canada!

30 Meters? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979049)

So it will detect "significant portion of those down to 30 meters in diameter." The one that hit Russia was believed to be 15 meters in diameter.

Sounds useful.

Re:30 Meters? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979091)

The one that hit Russia blew out a few windows, but that's all. The kinetic energy is proportional to mass though, and thus scales with diameter cubed: One just a little bit larger would do a great deal more damage. Double the size to 30 meters, eight times the bang.

Re:30 Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979159)

It's proportionally more unlikely. So this is just for the once every 500 years event?

Re:30 Meters? (2)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979497)

You're underestimating the scaling. The destruction caused by a meteor blowing up in the atmosphere also depends on the altitude. A meteor of twice the size will last longer and blow up much closer to the ground. (Especially when it doesn't strike at such a shallow angle.) Half the distance means four times the pressure (at least for a small area near the "explosion"). At about 100m size it won't break up before hitting the ground ... the only good news is that after this, energy does indeed scale with velocity and mass.

The Russians got incredibly lucky with that one. A 25m asteroid (or a 20m asteroid at a steep angle) would have caused a ten times stronger blast - that would have destroyed brickwalls instead of just windows.

So if we get hit without warning . . . (1)

grapes911 (646574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979079)

. . . should we blame the government? Or blame society? Or should we blame the images on TV? No, blame Canada! Blame Canada! With all their beady little eyes and flapping heads so full of lies. Blame Canada! Blame Canada!

YouTube is going to oppose this (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979089)

All these efforts will kill their business.


Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979485)

For those who have not come across Arthur C. Clarke's novel "Rendezvous with Rama", published in 1973, he wrote there about a fictional organisation called 'Spaceguard' whose task it was to search the sky for incoming celestial bodies. See also e.g.

I wonder if anyone knows of any earlier suggestion, fictional or practical, of the need for such watchfulness?

Doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979603)

Even if we are able to detect it, we are pretty much fucked since Michael Clarke Duncam is dead and he won't be available to jump Ben Affleck from one part of a meteor to another to blow it up with Bruce Willis. So I really don't see any point in trying to track them.

I though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979621)

Aerosmith were American?

Living in Canada, I can totally see why... (2)

tandr (108948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980013)

Because we don't need even more ice falling from the heavens! Even if this is a piece of ice from half-way across the Solar system! /me looking outside and quietly cursing about the weather and the snow and shoveling it again...

Keep your temper! (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980827)

I want to start out by saying that I'm not dismissing the danger of a meteor impact per se, but I think things should be put into perspective here:

The media has reported upwards of 1200 people injured _most by flying glass_ produced by the shockwave. In every video I've seen, the glass we are talking about is single pane and has NOT been tempered. It seems to me, that the problem here isn't small, hard-to-detect meteors so much as it is shoddy workmanship and 300 year old technology. Rather than building quick-response rockets to deflect these smallish type impacts, maybe Russia should spend that cash on improving buildings (as well as building code compliance) and see how far that gets ya. I'm all for detecting and deflecting the big global killers, but working to defend against another event like this one is like trying to shew flies away before they hit the windshield of a moving bus.

A tangential thought: People LOVE to panic... how do you think they are going to react when our detection technology gets so good that we can spot these guys weeks in advance and predict exactly where they are going to come down... The intelligent half of our society has reached a level of sophistication sufficient to keep the unintelligent half in a state of perpetual panic.

We should be ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985215)

I would not like imagine if that would crash on a town or a big city.


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