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UN Mounts Asteroid Defense Plan Following Chelyabinsk Meteor

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the bruce-willis-on-call dept.

Space 163

Philip Ross writes "Astronomers have warned that our planet is long overdue for a defense plan against catastrophic asteroid collisions. When it comes to deflecting Earth-obliterating celestial bodies, short of a superhero capable of punching the approaching rock back into outer space, there is no single force dedicated to stopping cosmic bullies from striking our little blue planet straight in the eye. That's why the United Nations said it will establish an International Asteroid Warning Group to intercept and divert dangerous asteroids."

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It begins (-1, Troll)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#45277907)

First pst!

Re:It begins (0, Troll)

siddesu (698447) | about a year ago | (#45278337)

Actually, this is the beginning of the end. If the UN will be in charge of the defense against the evil asteroids from space, I'd bet on the asteroids. Too bad I won't be able to claim my prize.

Re:It begins (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#45278413)

I was secretly referring to Carol Rosin's relaying of Werner von Braun's warning about the militarization of space. I felt I'll probably earn the Troll mod just for thinking about it... But both of these people are to be considered reliable non-cranks and respected scientists.

However, if we don't have any tactical ability in space it means we are relying on the presumed aliens for our safety. - That would be the same aliens which let 1000 people get hurt in Chelyabinsk. - If meteor-deflecting aliens did ever exist, perhaps this means they think we are ready to handle it ourselves?

Re:It begins (4, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45278587)

Thank you for your uninformed, knee-jerk anti-UN comment.

They did eradicate smallpox, you know.

Re:It begins (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278979)

Thank you for your uninformed, knee-jerk anti-UN comment.

They did eradicate smallpox, you know.

The UN did not eradicate smallpox. It was the WHO. No, not Pete Townshend. The World Health Organization. The WHO is not the UN.

Moron.

Re:It begins (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a year ago | (#45279099)

"They" didn't. They didn't even provide the money for it. The eradication of smallpox was a huge effort which spanned more than a century. The part that WHO played in it happened in the last two decades, and that was more than 50 years ago.

Re:It begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279181)

Hey ! As a taxpayer he *is* footing the bill for it so let him say what he wants.

Re:It begins (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278383)

This was ordained long ago by the elite. They make very long-term plans which is why they often get what they want. First it was Communism, now it is Terrorism, then Asteroids, and after that, Extraterrestrials. Long as the masses are scared shitless of something. Doesn't matter what that is. Fear -> power. They're lying cocksuckers, the media is bought and paid for, don't believe them.

Re: It begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278575)

Yes, asteroids are an invention of the elite. You're a real freethinker, you. Clearly you're onto something is sheeple cannot understand.

Re:It begins (1)

famebait (450028) | about a year ago | (#45278667)

That's what they want you to think.

Re:It begins (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#45279257)

Now I'm more worried that a huge UN committee will slam into the earth causing devastation!

Deflection (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45277917)

Because nothing is as effective at deflecting tons of rock coming towards Earth at extremely high speeds as... a committee.

Re:Deflection (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45277993)

Oooh, Anti-UN kneejerk. So brave.

Re:Deflection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278089)

release ... the ... minutes!!!!

(for great justice)

Re:Deflection (3, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45278405)

You jest, but a roof that opens to direct a massive blast of hot air at the asteroid is probably as effective as anything else we've got.

Re:Deflection (4, Funny)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#45278105)

Because nothing is as effective at deflecting tons of rock coming towards Earth at extremely high speeds as... a committee.

If you fire them out of a barrel fast enough, it might work..

Re:Deflection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278213)

Someone needs to do he calculations for this!

Re:Deflection (4, Funny)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#45278229)

Someone needs to do he calculations for this!

Or we could just use trial an error. It's not like we'll run out of committees

Re:Deflection (2)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#45278635)

Raiden: "You got enough?"

Snake: "Absolutely." *points to bandana* "Infinite ammo!"

Re:Deflection (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#45279201)

If you fire them out of a barrel fast enough, it might work..

Can we use a 3D printed cannon just for the added slash dot trolling action?

Re:Deflection (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#45278111)

if we could fire all committees on earth towards an oncoming meteor, the combined mass of all their fat asses might actually work

Re:Deflection (3, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45278269)

It doesn't work. I know because I tried that in Kerbal.

Re:Deflection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278245)

That depends on who's on the committee.

Re:Deflection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278377)

compared to... a bunch of tangentially related committees, all fighting for authority?

Re:Deflection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278471)

As opposed to American solution which would be what, invading Mars?

Re:Deflection (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about a year ago | (#45279091)

Well if we launch the UN in to the asteroid early enough, their bureaucracy may have enough mass to deflect it.

Fool me (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45277933)

Hit Earth with a massive asteroid once; shame on me.

Hit Earth with a massive asteroid twice; shame on the few surviving cockroaches.

Re:Fool me (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45278001)

Protip: You just called yourself a cockroach.

Re:Fool me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278341)

And a shameful one at that.

Re:Fool me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278437)

Protip: You just called yourself a cockroach.

I just called you a nigger. Yer point?

Put your hats on people (2)

crimson tsunami (3395179) | about a year ago | (#45277963)

Cue American sovereignty tinfoilers in 3...2...

Re:Put your hats on people (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45277981)

... Because...the UN has it's HQ in NY?

I don't see the link here. The tinfoil must be weak in me.

Re:Put your hats on people (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278059)

Everybody knows that there are -secret- UN death camps in the US... you know, for the true patriots who pay top dime for all sorts of survival gear and training just so they can evade the Great Global Taxation Plan of 2020.

Re:Put your hats on people (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#45278257)

It would be funny if this bullshit was not coming from the most powerful organisation on the planet, the US government. Recently the majority of republicans voted against ratifying this treaty [wikipedia.org] . A treaty that takes poppa Bush's (bipartisan) disability act of the early 90's and promotes it as a global minimum standard with 150+ countries on board. The bat-shit crazy faction of the republicans wouldn't sign it, those miserable cunts knocked it back because of an ideological aversion to international cooperation and rationalised their actions as protecting US sovereignty - WTF the entire treaty is founded on spreading Poppa Bush's good idea to the rest of the world.

To an non-American all this is just too fucking bizzare to be real, it's just as bat-shit crazy and "mean spirited" as the nutty General in Burma who suddenly decided the entire economy should be based on the number '3', unsurprisingly the Burmese economy fell into an open sewer and drowned at that very same moment.

Re:Put your hats on people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278397)

with any luck the disabled will not get a chance to reproduce and the species will be much stronger as a result.

Re:Put your hats on people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278757)

Are you offering to take one for the team ?

Re:Put your hats on people (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45278617)

To an non-American all this is just too fucking bizzare to be real, it's just as bat-shit crazy and "mean spirited" as the nutty General in Burma who suddenly decided the entire economy should be based on the number '3', unsurprisingly the Burmese economy fell into an open sewer and drowned at that very same moment.

We have this problem with billionaire right wingers who managed to pack the Supreme Court with judges who think it's OK for billionaires to pay politicians to do their bidding.

It seems that if you spend enough money on TV attack ads, you can win elections. At least in America.

Re:Put your hats on people (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#45279495)

It seems that if you spend enough money on TV attack ads, you can win elections. At least in America.

We're not that far behind in OZ, we just elected the Mad Monk as PM, one of the first things he did was symbolic, he abolished the cabinet position of Science Minister and put it under the Industry portfolio.

Re:Put your hats on people (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#45279789)

We have this problem with billionaire right wingers who managed to pack the Supreme Court with judges who think it's OK for billionaires to pay politicians to do their bidding.

Odd; it is billionaires who are more likely to be "disabled" as they usually only acquire that money later in life.

Re:Put your hats on people (3, Interesting)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#45279765)

Tape Cutter wrote :-

Recently the majority of republicans voted against .... ratifying ... A treaty that takes poppa Bush's (bipartisan) disability act of the early 90's and promotes it as a global minimum standard .... To an non-American all this is just too fucking bizzare to be real

As a non-American (UK) it is the lengths gone to here in favour of the "disabled" that I find bizzare. For example, the fee for some toll bridges is waived for them (why??? they don't even to leave the car), they get reserved parking spaces even if their disability is nothing to do with their mobility (like a missing finger), and I have known small companies give up their business because they cannot afford the changes to their premises required just in case someone who cannot get up a step wants a job there. The railways here have had to spend millions on disability features - they add something like 10% to the cost of a railway carriage.

The treaty (according to Wikipedia) requires "Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment". ALL forms? What about roofing? It's bullshit. One of those things that politicos sign because it is good PR (to some) without thinking through the implications.

Re:Put your hats on people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278103)

He's one of them, he's wearing that UN approved tinfoil

As an American, I refuse to wear UN sanctioned tinfoil.

Also that there asteroid aint gunna take my guns

pew... pew

Re:Put your hats on people (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#45278537)

"... Because...the UN has it's HQ in NY?

I don't see the link here. The tinfoil must be weak in me."

No, because Ted Turner will have to pay for your part.
Again.

If it works as well as the security council... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45277971)

then we will be hit a hundred times before they stop bickering and vetoing each other's plans.

It may still work though, if the asteroid decides to stand back and watch us slowly implode on our own.

I also wonder what technology they hope to use to deflect dangerous asteroids. We can send some celebrities on one-way trips with nuclear warheads, but aside from the cathartic effect I doubt it will help.

Re:If it works as well as the security council... (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | about a year ago | (#45278093)

- Nuke it -- not ideal, as we'll probably lose a few satellites, however the smaller pieces won't cause nearly so much damage. Most of the fragments will burn up in the atmosphere. Many will miss the earth entirely.

- Send a probe out to it when it's still far away. Position the probe close to the asteroid for a long time (months) -- the pull of gravity exerted by the probe will nudge the asteroid off its collision course.

- Wrap it in a giant piece of plastic, and mount some engines on it, so we can capture it into a nearby orbit. That much mass *in orbit* would be immensely valuable, even if it's just rock. (this one is probably unworkable due to the sheer quantity of fuel that would be required)

A manned mission is laughable, and only fit for the movies.

Re:If it works as well as the security council... (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#45278255)

You don't have to put the nuke right next to it as to smash it. With a reasonable distance you should be able to sublimate the meteor's dark and dust-covered surface surface, which creates quite a bit of pressure which can be further increased with additional detonations.

The risk to satellites is very real though. Just like the gravity probe you have to have an early detection and launch. A nuke in space too close to Earth will over-excite the van Allen Belt, which then damages satellites over a period of many months.

It may be an alternative to give the meteor a slight spin with a simple collision. The sun will heat up the surface and as the surface spins it creates a thrust to one side as it cools. You basically turn it into a solar-powered curveball.
This is also why predicting meteor paths is difficult; it's hard to tell if it's spinning unless one side is naturally brighter.

I wonder if there are any junior positions job openings for this...

Re:If it works as well as the security council... (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#45278261)

A manned mission is laughable, and only fit for the movies.

Actually, going from past experience, not even that.

Re:If it works as well as the security council... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45279253)

That "pull of gravity" thing is so fucking ridiculous. You're going to have a probe being pulled toward a massive rock much more than the rock is being pulled toward the probe. The only reason it doesn't get laughed out of science entirely is you can't just land the probe on a pile of loosely coherent gravel and fire boosters [youtube.com] , so you need to gravity-drag it. Otherwise, you're going to expend a ton of fuel keeping a distance that should be close, but not too close that expending fuel will create thrust against the rock and push it away.

Or... you could just couple to it and fire boosters. Enough boosters to move a 400 ton rock.

Also sometimes movies are right: Lunking a nuke at the surface of a giant rock won't do much.

Re:If it works as well as the security council... (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#45279391)

Also sometimes movies are right: Lunking a nuke at the surface of a giant rock won't do much.

We have thousands of them and they aren't much good for anything else. Most of us would be happy just to get them off the face of the planet and somehow imagine the nuclear arms race wasn't just an economic holocaust.

Re:If it works as well as the security council... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45279969)

It's like saying Cambodian children aren't much good for anything else, so we should use them for sex tourism and somehow imagine that at least they won't all starve when they've got all that semen to swallow.

The only thing you'll end up with is a bunch of starving, exploited eight year olds. Just like you'll end up with a heated ball of nickle-iron instead of a cold one. It might weigh slightly less. If you want to use that nuke power to move the thing, you're going to need to produce thrust; you'll need to redo the nukes to produce cigar-shaped blasts and turn the surface of the meteor... into... an... orion drive that's brilliant! The first nuke will blast away any surface protrusions and set a general shape--like a demolition blast used for sculpting a rock face (Mt Rushmore was carved with explosives)--while the following will provide thrust!

Re:If it works as well as the security council... (2)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45278641)

The New Scientist had an article about this. If it's just big enough to destroy a city, but not to destroy the planet, the most practical solution would be to evacuate the city.

Priorities? (0)

ArturoBandini77 (2610501) | about a year ago | (#45278027)

What's the point of not being killed by an asteroid, when you get killed by hunger?
UN should focus on basic / REAL people problems, not playing star wars.

Re:Priorities? (5, Insightful)

palemantle (1007299) | about a year ago | (#45278083)

And here's the same tired old argument that we see when a third world country plans a satellite launch. Oh noes ... they don't have enough toilets ... and while they are sorting that, they should just sit around for the next couple of hundred years doing nothing else!

The UN does have specific hunger and poverty eradication goals and organizations that look into those issues. See these:
http://www.unicef.org/mdg/poverty.html [unicef.org]
http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/poverty.shtml [un.org]

That doesn't mean the UN shouldn't have unrelated committees/arms investigating other issues and see if something can be done to address those.

Re:Priorities? (1)

Koby77 (992785) | about a year ago | (#45278091)

This program sounds like a good excuse for the UN to waste tons of money on another boondoggle slush fund. It's especially awesome for them because if noone dies they can take credit, and if everyone dies then there won't be anyone around to complain.

Re:Priorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278139)

Because the US refuses to allow free trade in food, and subsidises all its farmers.

If the UN tried to get them to stop, it would be game over for UN.

Americans are paranoid enough about the UN coming for their guns, but coming for their food as well is just too much.

They would have more chance deflecting the asteroid with a Chicken McNugget than they would solving the food problem.

Re:Priorities? (3, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45278195)

UN should focus on basic / REAL people problems, not playing star wars.

1 - Being well fed doesn't stop meteorites.

2 - The UN's objective is to defend against basic/REAL threats against humanity (which essentially boils down to assuring world peace to avoid a third world war). Millions of people dying of hunger, sad as it may be, doesn't threaten the humanity unless those people also have an army with nuclear power.

3 - (the most important one) The UN is perfectly capable of doing several things at the same time.

as Anonymous Coward (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278029)

First pst! - game hanh dong [taigamehanhdong.biz]

Hang911 (-1, Troll)

Lê Hằng (3415129) | about a year ago | (#45278067)

Hit Earth with a massive asteroid once - game hanh dong [taigamehanhdong.biz]

You've got to spot them first (3, Insightful)

stiggle (649614) | about a year ago | (#45278077)

The main issue we've got is the lack of warning we have. Even a year is too late if you want to divert large lumps of rock.
Once you're going to divert something then you have to work out where its going to end up - no point diverting it from the earth this year, to have it end up crashing into something else which ends up sending 100 rocks at us.

Re:You've got to spot them first (3, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#45278115)

The main issue we've got is the lack of warning we have. Even a year is too late if you want to divert large lumps of rock.
Once you're going to divert something then you have to work out where its going to end up - no point diverting it from the earth this year, to have it end up crashing into something else which ends up sending 100 rocks at us.

Depends on the size, if diverting an extinction causing asteroid now means we have to divert 4 in 100 years, I'll take that.

Re:You've got to spot them first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278165)

four smaller ones is still probably preferable. a larger proportion of them will burn up on entry

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#45279991)

Anything bigger than your fist doesn't burn up on reentry. Bigger than your head and it doesn't even have time to warm up: if the angle is steep, it crosses the entire atmosphere in less than a second.

Re:You've got to spot them first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278225)

There have been many documentary movies about how a few space cowboys can do it in just few months/weeks/days!

Re:You've got to spot them first (4, Interesting)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#45278317)

Reliable, visual-range detection of meteors is doubtful since they get covered by dust which can be very dark.

What's needed is a type of active radar with Doppler shift detection. You might be able to put an existing one of those on the ISS to start with, say from tech developed for fighter airplanes. Better not sink money into developing them all over again unless that is actually needed.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278513)

Doesn't work. Radar works by illuminating the target with your own beam. You might get 99% reflectivity versus 1% for optical frequencies, but you won't get anywhere near 1% of the sun's output in the visible range. A better technique is checking in the IR. Doesn't work from the ground (IR is strongly scattered and absorbed by water vapor), but a visibly black object near the sun will be a *lot* warmer than the 4 Kelvin cosmic background. Comets would be in the 100K-200K range. The biggest challenge would be that you'd want to put the observatory in deep space (sun orbit) to prevent the earth's heat from interfering with the observations.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#45278613)

That's for the info. I didn't know it was that high and I'm not aware of any cooling effect aside from the easily detected, sublimated comet's tail which would act as an IR stealth-mode.

I don't think 90% is good enough though, simply because of Murphy's Law.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#45279043)

Doesn't work from the ground (IR is strongly scattered and absorbed by water vapor),

Now you've done it, all the "skeptics" will be mad at you.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year ago | (#45278371)

With smaller pieces, you have more surface area to burn up as they go through the atmosphere. This gets better the more, smaller pieces there are. Not sure how powerful the explosive would have to be to break a sizable asteroid (say 1km diameter) though.

Re:You've got to spot them first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278531)

We're talking about objects moving at several kilometers per second, though. That's crossing the atmosphere in a few seconds. You have a heat transfer problem to the core; that just doesn't happen in seconds even if the object is a few meters across.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year ago | (#45278603)

Are you sure? Oh that's interesting.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278475)

What a strange sense of orbital ballistics you have. The ability to play Velikovsky and play planetary pinball is... amusing. A big strike on Luna could, *maybe*, spray rock towards Earth, but it would have to be an awfully big rock and the Luna strikes would still be vastly, vastly less of an issue. And the odds are like those of throwing an axe at a tree, shooting the axe blade with a bullet, spliting the bullet, and hitting another target. They actually did that on MythBusters, the split bullets can't be aimed.

That said, the earlier the detection, the *much*, *much*, *much* easier the deflection of the incoming meteor. Even remote lasers or solar reflectors, aimed at one side of an icy or even rocky object, can cause warming and outgassing early in its trajectory that can deflect its trajectory by millions of miles by the time it gets to Earth's distance from the Sun. But it has to be started very, very early in the object's trajectory. Doing this versus trying to deflect a dinosaur killer late in its trajectory is like blowing in a sniper's ear to mess up their aim versus trying to wear enough armor to stop the bullet.

Re:You've got to spot them first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278601)

Exactly. We should work on our observation an prediction first, it's impossible to deflect what we don't understand yet.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

geekymachoman (1261484) | about a year ago | (#45278681)

No idea about asteroids meteorites and stuff like that, but if "diverting it to something that will send 100 rocks at us back" is a problem, then divert it towards the sun.
Or am I missing something ?

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#45278939)

No idea about asteroids meteorites and stuff like that, but if "diverting it to something that will send 100 rocks at us back" is a problem, then divert it towards the sun.
Or am I missing something ?

Given a year's warning, a 1m/s deltaV applied to the rock should be enough to make it miss. This time.

Given the same year's warning, it would take around 30000 m/s deltaV to make the rock impact the Sun.

Re:You've got to spot them first (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45279339)

Since you're so apt to analyze the risk plane, why don't you do that for us, Captain Genius? Plot out the various risks for us and show what's likely and what we should worry about. Those kinds of super-star powers would be amazing, since humans have no clue how to assess risk [wikimedia.org] .

The UN? (4, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | about a year ago | (#45278101)

I don't think a strongly worded protest/condemnation and/or sanctions will be noticed by an incoming asteroid. ;-)

Re:The UN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278479)

Dear U.N.,

As I was aiming at your location in N.Y.C., I was diverted by your comittee's strongly worded resolution. You win (this time). - signed, The Asteroid

Re:The UN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278709)

Did the resolution weigh 50 tons when printed and hit the asteroid at 50 miles per second?

Just like in horror movies... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#45278273)

You never see the one that gets you. While we'll be feeling safe and secure and oh so smart that we saved ourselves from the scary space rocks... BLAM!!! A big one comes out from behind the Sun and smashes into us. Game over.

At least we'll have some time to try and divert asteroids coming from where we can see them. It's the ones we don't see that keep me awake at night.

Re:Just like in horror movies... (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year ago | (#45278687)

An asteroid that comes from behind the sun has gotten there short before, or it isn't going to hit us. That's because asteroids are in orbits around the sun. A useful early warning system would warn us years in advance, thus the asteroid would be behind the sun several times before it hits.
The first step is detecting them. At this point it is not feasible to get funding for an asteroid deflection program. Once we have detected a killer we can get the funding to try and deflect it. I just hope we'll be able to do it in time by then.

Re:Just like in horror movies... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45279393)

If you need funding to deflect a planet-killing asteroid, your planet deserves to die. Seriously do you live on a planet full of Arabs?

Re:Just like in horror movies... (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year ago | (#45279533)

Why shouldn't such a project need funding? Granted, funding it shouldn't be a problem once one is detected, but that doesn't mean it's not required. Stuff costs money, get over it.

Re:Just like in horror movies... (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#45279623)

Supposedly the holy Free Market will provide the one true solution.

Re:Just like in horror movies... (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year ago | (#45279767)

Free markets seem to be as real as any God. People pray to it, but what they point to is a political tool abused until it doesn't resemble the original intention. The real thing doesn't exist.

thats great (2)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year ago | (#45278315)

the UN can send a diplomat in to space to negotiate with the asteroid

You Fires The Missile ... (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about a year ago | (#45278451)

UN Official #1: "Sir! An asteroid on a direct collision course has been spotted! Impact in 5 days!"

UN Official #2: "Plenty of time. We've fired the missiles, each loaded with a STERNLY-WORDED letter ..."

Re:You Fires The Missile ... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#45278999)

You've been reading your Retief again, haven't you?

Weeell .... Priorities? (1)

giorgist (1208992) | about a year ago | (#45278493)

We need some real numbers. If there is only a 50% chance of being hit by a city shattering meteorite in the next 10,000 I don't think it is worth bothering. I know it will suck if it landed in my backyard or even my front porch, but it is not worth it. There are other things we should spend money on like super volcanoes or massive earth splitting earthquakes or even rogue killer bees that spread zombie viruses.

Re:Weeell .... Priorities? (4, Informative)

confused one (671304) | about a year ago | (#45279113)

we have preliminary numbers. Russia has been hit by potential city shattering meteorites twice in a hundred years. If the Tunguska event happened over a populated area it would no longer have been populated. If Chelyabinsk had entered at a slightly steeper angle, it would have been significantly worse. As it is, it entered at a shallow enough angle that it broke up high in the atmosphere and reducing the effect of the shock wave. We have a reasonable handle on the larger nation killing, and extinction causing, world ending variety. What we don't have is sufficient tracking data on the smaller city killers.

Re:Weeell .... Priorities? (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45279415)

Why do we care about city killers then? The severity seems low, and the probability is only twice in a hundred years?

Re:Weeell .... Priorities? (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a year ago | (#45279573)

"and the probability is only twice in a hundred years"

Which is clearly wrong, because we've had cities for about 5000 years and exactly zero such kill events.

Real defense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45278703)

IMHO, real defense should not only consider avoiding the asteroid, but measures to warrant our survival in the worst case (underground cities or whatever), too.

Also, we must protect what we need to survive -- not only humans. We should go beyond avoiding doing environment damage -- we should be working to make it more resilient.

The way I see it, that's a matter of (inter) national security.

Just picture two countries at war and both are hit by a tsunami. That may be of advantage to one of them; OTOH, winning in such scenario may amount to a Pyrrhic victory (i.e., a defeat in truth).

Unfeasible (1)

aglider (2435074) | about a year ago | (#45278705)

We would need:
1. A system to track "anything larger than a certain size"(tm) moving within out solar system and within "a certain maximum amount of time"(tm)
2. A reliable way to deflect/destroy "anything larger than a certain size"
3. A system to implement that way within "a certain maximum amount of time"(tm) available 24x7
4. The same as above multiplied by 2 or maybe 3, just in case.

It would take not less than 100 or 200 years, just to reach the agreement about who is going to look into it.

Impossible technology. (2)

confused one (671304) | about a year ago | (#45279255)

Then we shouldn't do it. While your at it, please turn over all technology in your possession that didn't exist 200 years ago and, at the time, would have been considered impractical or impossible. Cell phones, automobiles, computers, implanted medical devices, plastics and synthetic fibers, electric lighting and refrigeration... to name a few items.

Re:Unfeasible (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#45279697)

A few countries were able to work together to put a science station in orbit for the sake of scientific experiments, I think protecting the future of mankind is important enough that even more countries would help in any way they can to support this ADP.

NASA looks for funding from UN? (2)

mrthoughtful (466814) | about a year ago | (#45278761)

To me this looks like an agreement by the UN to help fund NASA's existing NEO program ( http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov] ).

The UN acts in Asteroid Deflection Scenerio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279211)

As soon as the asteroid is spotted and confirmed to be on it's way, the UN will get together to discuss the economic, political, social and Military impact for aobout 2 years and a month before Impact, they'll come begging to the US, Russia and China to do something!

Bah. (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a year ago | (#45279551)

"Astronomers have warned that our planet is long overdue for a defense plan against catastrophic asteroid collisions"

Meanwhile, we do nothing about all those earthquakes, which actually kill people.

Man against Nature! On to Victory!

Klendathu is going to attack us! (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#45279675)

Want to know more? [slashdot.org]

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