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New Asteroid Becomes Earth's Biggest Threat

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the doooooommm dept.

232

inexion wrote to mention a story on PhysOrg stating that we're all doomed. "A space rock capable of sub-continent scale devastation has about a one in 1,000 risk of colliding with Earth early next century, the highest of any known asteroid, watchers said on Thursday. The rock, 2004 VD17, is about 500 metres (yards) long and has a mass of nearly a billion tonnes, which -- if it were to impact -- would deliver 10,000 megatonnes of energy, equivalent to all the world's nuclear weapons. Spotted on November 27 2004, VD 17 was swiftly identified as rock that potentially crossed Earth's orbit, with a 1 in 3,000 risk of collision on May 4 2102."

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Numbers And Pictures (4, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835510)


For anyone interested in the hard numbers, here's NASA's impact risk summary of 2004 VD17 [nasa.gov] .

For those like myself who prefer pretty pictures, here's the 3D orbit diagram of 2004 VD17 [nasa.gov] (Java required).

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

el borak (263323) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835552)

Odd. When I plug May 4, 2102 into the orbital calculator it shows the asteroid well outside the orbit of Mars at that point...

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835610)

Perhaps they're expecting a change in the orbit of the Earth as well. Can anyone say "conspiracy theory". :-)

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

kek. kek. (958438) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835662)

Try Nov 8, 2014

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

kek. kek. (958438) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835750)

*Nov 8, 2104 It seems to be 0.0256 AU from Earth (about 3'829'705.5 km). But yes, it is still a long time projectory and so it's not to be taken seriously.

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835783)

That's... disturbing. Orbits way, way far apart, and then too damn close together.

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

justinmikehunt (872382) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835673)

Indeed.

May 4 is one of the times that Earth crosses the orbit each year, and looking at May 4, 2032, Odds seem much better!

Re:Numbers And Pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835801)

May 3, 2032 @ 0.0064 AU
Nov 10, 2154 @ 0.0081 AU

Good nights to be on a telescope!

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835940)

Isn't that when any program written in C is supposed to expire like the Y2K bug?

Re:Numbers And Pictures (3, Informative)

qeveren (318805) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835717)

I guess you missed the part where it said:

"This applet is provided as a 3D orbit visualization tool. The applet was implemented using only 2-body methods, and hence should not be used for determining accurate long-term trajectories (over several years or decades) or planetary encounter circumstances."

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1)

Denney (947351) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835767)

Even though this tool is not supposed to be accurate over long-term, try May 3, 2032. Both May 3, 2032 and May 4, 2032 has the two objects superimposed (colliding).

Re:Numbers And Pictures (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835866)

It's OK. I put in the year 2200 and it was still there. If it had hit the Earth in 2100s, it wouldn't still have an orbit, right?

Re:Numbers And Pictures (2, Interesting)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835742)

Best to watch the whole thing with Mercury as the center, not the Sun. Much more entertaining.

And the only fact that matters... (1)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836107)

Torino scale (maximum): 2

A two is the bottom of the category "Meriting Attention from Astronomers", above "Normal" but below "Threatening". From the site [nasa.gov] , about a two on the Torino scale:

A discovery, which may become routine with expanded searches, of an object making a somewhat close but not highly unusual pass near the Earth. While meriting attention by astronomers, there is no cause for public attention or public concern as an actual collision is very unlikely. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to re-assignment to Level 0.

If there's a clearer way to say "stop panicking everytime we see something", I'm not sure what it is.

So what do we do about this? (2, Funny)

Kasracer (865931) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835542)

I'm sure everyone has seen the movie Armageddon. Is drilling even an option in real life? Should we fire some nuclear warheads at it to try and change it's path?

I don't know much about the science of this but I have always been very interested in what we would do about this. I saw on the Discovery channel a long time ago that we could do something like shooting a laser at it to try and break it apart as well as some solar sails. They also mentioned placing some rockets on an astroid and moving it.

Now I'll be dead by the time this thing gets close enough. Should we just assume we'll have better technology then and fire some photon torpedos at it?

Re:So what do we do about this? (2, Informative)

wpanderson (67273) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835621)

I'm sure many people avoided Armageddon as much as they could; unfortunately I was one of those suckered in by the trailers full of blinkenlights and Liv Tyler shots. Damn you, Bruckheimer and Bay, damn you all to hell!

As for the "science bit", Phil 'Bad Astronomy' Plait rips the movie to shreds quite succinctly, putting paid to the notion that it includes usable science. Read his review with spoilers [badastronomy.com] , or if you're one of the lucky few never to have seen it, read the spoiler free summary [badastronomy.com] . What would be "easier" would be to catch the object early and gradually change the orbit using electric ion engines or similar to nudge it out of our way.

Re:So what do we do about this? (2, Interesting)

qeveren (318805) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835892)

Just paint half of it white. The difference in light pressure from the Sun would change its orbit usefully over this length of time.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

raider_red (156642) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835624)

In that ammount of time, I don't see why we can't fly a big ion thruster up there. We could then land it on the asteroid and, over the course of several years, nudge it off its current vector.

This would give us the dual advantage of not having to rely on nuclear weapons or Bruce Willis to save us at the last minute.

It might be good to start this program today, since getting it through appropriations could take the first thirty years, and development of a suitable thruster another twenty.

Re:So what do we do about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835710)

Who knows what will be possible by then? An equivalent amount of time in the past Bleriot had only just flown from France to England.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

srock2588 (827871) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835751)

I don't like this 1 in 3000 estimation. I think we need some harder evidence of the trajectory before going and changing anything. The last thing we want to do it push it INTO earth orbit by accident. I am far more concerned with the asteriod with a 1 in 3000 chance of hitting us tomorow that we didn't find 100 years ago. SHIT tomorow if Friday too.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

Mursk (928595) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835798)

You just know that instead of 'nudging it off its current vector' we're going to change its course just enough to slam directly into earth.

It's like when you're at the grocery store, and you get out of the checkout line you've been in for 10 minutes to go to the 'faster' line, which then suddendly becomes the slow line.

Until we're more sure where this thing is going, I say we leave it alone.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

Cujo (19106) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835868)

We're nowhere near being able to do that reliably. Ion thrusters aren't big. Let's say it's a small asteroid with a mass of only 10 million metric tons, or 10^10 kg. Then going with the most optimistic numebrs tossed around for an ion engine (ejection velocities of 200,000 mps), then you need about 10^10/(2e5) or 5e4 kg of ion propellant just to budge it one meter per second. That's a couple of orders of magnitude more than we can do now, and we're talking about a small nudge to a small asteroid. A more typical asteroid would be 10^13 - 10^15 kg in mass by my back of the envelope calcs (about 10^2 km^3 with one metric ton per cubic meter, or the density of water.)

The amount of nudge you need to move it's probablity ellipsoid off the Earth depends on how much time you have, and you'd probably be constrained to thrusting about its spin axis, but I would say it's on the order of 1 meter per second or greater. SO, if the potential impact is 100 years away, the first thing you do is track it really well for a few years to get the ellipsoid smaller. If the Earth still passes through it, then you can develop something to give it a nudge.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

jtorkbob (885054) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835981)

What about using the gravitational influence of a large object? I've read about that before, I'm no physicist but it seemed feasable at the time.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836099)

A meter a second? For how much time? Where did you pull that magic number from?

If the thing is a year away from hitting earth, you've got 31,556,926 seconds to play with.

The earth is a ~12,756,300 meter wide target. Add on another 1,000,000 meters on either end so that you don't have it torching atmosphere. That's a ~15,000,000 meter diameter so moving something aimed for dead center at least ~7,500,000 meters off course.

The change you need to make to it's course is only (7,500,000/31,556,926 = ) 0.2377 meters/second.

That's with starting your thrust one year before impact. If you've got more than half a century before impact, you only need to move it on the order of a centimeter/second.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835776)

In general, the earlier the better on these things. A percisely flung screwdriver from the ISS right now would lessen the probablities significatly. (Though working out exactly what velocity and timing need to be imparted on that screwdriver would be a supercomputer-level job.)

Here's an idea: Send a scientific probe there, to study asteroid composition. Again, if you were to land it on the right vector, you could achive a noticible difference in the orbit. Deploy it with some long term thruster (ion, solar, that level) and we could make a major orbit change.

Breaking it apart doesn't help, if all the pieces still hit us. (All it does is mean more of the energy is dissipated in the atmosphere, which is actually worse...) A high powered laser could do something: Basically that's building a low-power thruster. Solar sails are the same. (See above.) Nueclear missiles is like trying to drive in a screw with a hammer: it can be done, but it's not really the right tool, and are likely to cause more problems then you solve. (You could break it up, but not change it's vector, for instance.) What is needed is thrust, applied correctly.

Of course, you have to determine if the cost is worth it...

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835961)

Nuclear missiles from a distance have been proposed as a way to move it: you use radiation pressure to push it. It's a fairly complicated issue, however, as you also heat one side of the asteroid at the same time, thus increasing its blackbody radiation, which will affect its orbit.

Speaking of that, that's another proposal to move an asteroid: paint part of it, and use the change in solar radiation pressure to alter its orbit.

Landing on an asteroid is tricky (it can, and has, been done, but they have irregular gravitational fields and it's hard to stay in place; I'd think it would be especially hard if you're trying to thrust, even a little bit). Another proposal is a gravitational tug, in which you have a probe with splayed thrusters keep itself just ahead of the asteroid, slowly pulling the asteroid toward it.

Re:So what do we do about this? (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836019)

Earlier is better, generally.

It's about a hundred years out, and, if it's aimed dead-on, then it needs moved about 10000Km, to be 'safe'.

80 years (say a 20 year lead time), that's about 120Km/year, or 4mm/s.

It has a mass of 3*10^11Kg, so would need an impulse of 1.2GN m/s.

Or, a thrust of about 40N (4Kg) over 1 year.

At an ISP of 10000 (typical of some ion engines), that's around 15 tons of propellant, and power use of some 40Kw.

Assuming an average radius of 2 AU, that's under 5 tons of solar panels.

This can be done with todays technology.

The alternative is not to drill into it and nuke it, which won't really work, but to detonate large nuclear weapons at some 600m from the surface.

The intense x-ray radiation from the bomb is absorbed in the top few centimeters of the body. This heats it to beyond its boiling point, and it explodes outwards, pushing the rock the other way.

(round numbers, I haven't checked very thouroughly)

Proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835554)

Let's drill out every bit of oil and dig up every bit of coal and force feed the economy into olympic level steriod consumption. We'll revoke all the anti-pollution laws. We'll ignore global warming, planing to use the newly generated riches to get off the planet just before the asteriod wipes this shithole out.

What do you think ?

Government defines 15 months as "swift"? (3, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835578)

"Spotted on November 27 2004, VD 17 was swiftly identified as rock that potentially crossed Earth's orbit, with a 1 in 3,000 risk of collision on May 4 2102"

Today is March 2, 2006. Our government defines 15 months as "swift"?

Re:Government defines 15 months as "swift"? (1)

oojah (113006) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835656)

It's old news. I've known about it since before september 2005 and it's not as though I keep up to date with these things.

Re:Government defines 15 months as "swift"? (1)

portwojc (201398) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835904)

Honestly what are you going to do differently today because you learned an asteriod might hit the Earth in 2102?

Re:Government defines 15 months as "swift"? (2, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836021)

Post a comment to slashdot.

Re:Government defines 15 months as "swift"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835912)

Hey, remember, this IS rocket science, after all.

perspective (1)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835944)

A 15 month delay in notification for an extremely unlikely event which might happen (if at all) 1176 months from now is not a big deal.

This is roughly equivalent to your wife finding out yesterday (March 1, 2006) that there is a 1 in 3000 chance that she might blow $900 on a spa trip with her mother for Mother's Day (May 14, 2006) and waiting one day to tell you about it.

Potentially catastrophic? Sure. Something to be worried about? No, because the overwhelming likelihood is that as the date approaches, the probability of the event actually taking place will drop to zero, just like all the other "near misses" that never happened, like the proposed mother/daughter cruise to Turkey, or that "girl's night out" to Las Vegas they keep talking about.

Re:Government defines 15 months as "swift"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835955)

"Heckuva job, Griffie!"

What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835586)


They should be able to calculate the exact spot on earth and the exact time it's going to hit. They're NASA for Christs sake

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

sobeks_eye (637390) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835680)

They should be able to calculate the exact spot on earth and the exact time it's going to hit. They're NASA for Christs sake

Right, because NASA has already solved the 10,000 body equation that was needed to precisely pinpoint where the asteroid will be in roughly 100 years.

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835741)

Not to mention that they still haven't figured out why our probes are slowing down while trying to escape the solar system. (Unless I'm really out of date and just haven't heard that they finally did.)

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (0, Troll)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835837)


Actually, they did [newscientist.com] ...or at least they think so...

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

Wilk4 (632760) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835817)

plus we obviously haven't discovered every rock that's out there in orbit, so we don't know what other masses might come close enough to it to perturb its orbit enough to make it miss - or hit...

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

DrFrob (568991) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835769)

Sure, as long as they get their unit conversions correct.

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835793)

As usual with a new discovery, theorbit of the asteroid isn't well-known. I mean, they probably have a handful of observations over a short period, accurate to a few arcminutes and from this, they should be able to pinpoint it's position 100 years from now? (when you add in the gravity of the planets, it becomes even harder). The only reason NASA can pinpoint the positions of their probes to within a few kilometers is because they're equipped with radio transmitters which can give very precise velocities and positions. An asteroid has no radio transmitter, leading to much higher inaccuracy.

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

Jon Luckey (7563) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835882)

They should be able to calculate the exact spot on earth and the exact time it's going to hit. They're NASA for Christs sake

Maybe that's what NASA really stands for:

Needs Another Succesive Approximation.

Re:What's this 1 in 1000 crap? (1)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835927)

Perhaps you hold NASA in too high regards like most of America. Just because it's NASA doesn't mean they can predict an asteroid colision precisely. Sure, they are talented people (at least the one's I've met) and they generally know what they are doing. It's unfortunate that when they make mistakes, they cost hundreds of millions. There are few jobs with that high level of risk.

It's complicated problem that will have number of unforeseen occurences between now and when they predict it will hit. The fact is they have spotted it and will continue to monitor the situation and update their predictions.

That same thinking could be applied to any organization presented with a complex problem. How could any terrorists operate within our country? They are the CIA and FBI for Christ's sake.

500 Meters = 500 Yards?? (1)

justinmikehunt (872382) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835587)

"The rock, 2004 VD17, is about 500 metres (yards) long" Since when are Meters and Yards same?!?! 500 Meters is more like 550 Yards!

Re:500 Meters = 500 Yards?? (4, Funny)

cbelt3 (741637) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835664)

And so NOW how do you feel about our ability to calculate probability ?

"NASA Scientists reveal same computer used for ill-fated Mars Orbiter now used to compute asteroid orbits. Announces probability of collision with Earth to be 'like, maybe, we dunno. Kilometers, miles, who the hell understands all this metric crap anyway ? Please just increase our budget and we'll stop trying to scare you !"

Oh No!!! (2, Funny)

Jumbo Jimbo (828571) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835590)

The rock, 2004 VD17, is about 500 metres (yards)

Oh no!! Earth is going to be destroyed by VD!! Blame the damn liberals!!

Re:Oh No!!! (1)

LightningBolt! (664763) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835760)

Oh no!! Earth is going to be destroyed by VD!! Blame the damn liberals!!

I, for one, welcome our VD-infested liberal overlords from space.

Re:Oh No!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835970)

All your VD are belong to us.

In a few years it will be like this. (1)

Escogido (884359) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835596)

BREAKING NEWS! A newly found asteroid does not present a threat to Earth!

The piece of space rock that has no chance of colliding with Earth any time soon has been prompty dubbed Benevolent by astonomers and journalists everywhere. In an interview a well-known scientist states that Benevolent is the first astral body found in the last decade that doesn't pose a threat to our mother planet, and hopes that more funds will be raised to learn the secret of this 'space phenomena'.

In other news, there are 723 remaining asteroids of different sizes on a collision course with Earth that still have a less than one-in-million chance of causing the death of all life on the planet until the end of the year.

Film, of course, at 11.

Good odds (1)

smvp6459 (896580) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835606)

I'll go for the 1 in 3000 chance. I don't like the 1 in a 1000 chance. WTF? It's one or the other, right? Great editing Zonk.

Re:Good odds (1)

LordSkippy (140884) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835732)

From TFA:

Spotted on November 27 2004, VD 17 was swiftly identified as rock that potentially crossed Earth's orbit, with a 1 in 3,000 risk of collision on May 4 2102.

Further observations and calculations have prompted the risk on that day to be upgraded to "a bit less than 1 in 1,000," said NASA Near-Earth Object (NEO) expert David Morrison in an emailed circular.

Its odds of striking the Earth were "upgraded".

1) Is that really an "upgrade" for us?
2) Zonk still could have been more clear in his editing.

Re:Good odds (1)

Erioll (229536) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836075)

1) Is that really an "upgrade" for us?
hehe. No kidding. Saying "up" for raising the probability is correct, but an "upgrade" for us? Ya, I'd choose different words myself.
 
;)

Re:Good odds (1)

im_mac (927998) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835749)

It was originally 1:3000 but "further observations and calculations have prompted the risk on that day to be upgraded to 'a bit less than 1 in 1,000.'"
Great reading of TFA

Re:Good odds (1)

allanc (25681) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835770)

In 2004, when they first spotted it, they gave it a 1 in 3000 chance of hitting us. Now they've upped that to a 1 in 1000 chance.

It was clear to me.

Survival Options? (1)

Rhoon (785258) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835632)

Anyone have the number for a team of the world's best deep core oil drillers?

Another One? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835654)

By now we have what, 30? 40? Asteroids about to destroy us.

DOOOOM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835666)

Doom Doom Doooooom

Re:DOOOOM (1)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835836)

Deekin? Is that you?

Wow (1)

thesnarky1 (846799) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835674)

Yesterday it was mind control sharks, and today its collision course astroids. THis is getting to be a who's who of bad movie plots. What's next? A small group of hackers take down The Man? A government copmputer becomes hell bent on Global Thermonuclear War?

A clever plot (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835718)

Yesterday it was mind control sharks, and today its collision course astroids.

I think it's a clever plot by the mind control sharks to draw off attention from them and make us pay attention to the killer asteroids while they usurp control of our world leaders.

Anyone notice that the entire staff of the white house is wearing I Love Sharks pins today?

Re:A clever plot (1)

Daravon (848487) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836052)

What we need is a video game that'll teach kids to violently beat sharks to death, mind powers or not. Only then will our future be safe!

Re:A clever plot (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836135)

What we need is a video game that'll teach kids to violently beat sharks to death, mind powers or not. Only then will our future be safe!

But they may need training in dodging lasers first. Some of those sharks have frickin' lasers on their foreheads, and may be ill-tempered.

E = mc ... WHAT??? (1)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835689)

"10,000 megatonnes of energy"

I'm pretty sure they mean the energy equivalent of 10,000 megatonnes on TNT, which is only 465 kg of energy in terms of E = mc^2. Still, that'll hurt more than a snowball...

Re:E = mc ... WHAT??? (1)

qeveren (318805) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835907)

It's pretty standard (layman's) usage that 'megatonnes', when talking about energy, is referring to 'megatonnes of TNT'. Silly. :)

HURRY! (2, Funny)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835693)

We only have 96 years to save ourselves!

Problem with hitting it away (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835695)

There's just one big problem with hitting it away: if we guess wrong on the mass of the asteroid, there is a good chance that we could actually hit it into a more direct collision course with Earth. We're better off letting it swing past us. Knocking it off course might work this time, but since its orbit is left to question, the next time around it may hit us for sure, with nothing we can do about it.

Of course, there's also the option that we just split it into more targets, that we either have to nuke or will hit us and also do damage. So basically, if it's gonna hit, then we're screwed.

At more risk from Yellowstone Park erupting (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835697)

and spewing dust and rock into our atmosphere.

Heck, the effects of global warming are probably bigger.

Unless the asteroid hits a densely populated area of the earth, like China, or India. If it hits Australia, well, not much impact on earth population.

Besides, in 2102 I'll be dead. My head will be in a jar, recounting how our civilization failed to aliens from another planet.

Re:At more risk from Yellowstone Park erupting (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835803)

It wouldn't really matter where it hit, it would cause global devastation in the form of massive dust clouds, huge tsunamis, etc; etc. That size, that hot from entering the atmosphere, with the kinds of speeds it would have, I doubt it would make a difference where on earth it impacted.

Re:At more risk from Yellowstone Park erupting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835838)

Heck, the effects of global warming are probably bigger.

Nope, global warming doesn't exist. When weather guessers can tell me the exact temperature, cloud cover and rain probability 10 days from now I'll start listening to what might maybe happen in 100 years.

Composition? Blessing in disguise? (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835699)

This could be a blessing in disguise, if the composition of the rock is largely metals rather than being just stone - it could force us to intercept it and mine it for the resources to avert it, forcing us to develop the technology and skills needed to mine other asteroids.

Also - a large impact would lower temperatures a lot....

More likely to be hit by an unknown object (1)

delete (514365) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835714)

There's a slightly less alarming article on New Scientist [newscientistspace.com] , where the manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program suggests that this risk posed by this asteroid is likely to be significantly less than 1/1000:
"The most likely situation, by far, is that additional observations will bring it back down to a zero."

Slightly more disturbing is his second comment:
"We're more likely to be hit between now and then by an object that we don't know about."

Not to worry (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835726)

These asteroids have a way of correcting their course once NASA gets more funding.

Why stop it, why not bring it into orbit (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835737)

Seriously wouldn't manipulating the orbit of the asteroid into one around earth or in one of our L points make a lot of sense in the creation of orbiting settlements. Rather than simply blowing the sucker up.

Worked for Gundam. And I would think by that point we would have gotten our collective heads out of our asses to be making a legitimate play at space settlements.

Re:Why stop it, why not bring it into orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835889)

You need to take a physics class. The energy required to put that much delta-V on an asteroid is more than all the energy ever produced by all the power stations on earth AND every nuclear bomb ever made.

There is a huge difference between changing an orbit a little and changing it by the amount you're talking about.

Not to worry (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835755)

We'll just preserve Harrison Ford and Aerosmith in cryostasis until 2100, and I'm sure they'll be able to take care of that asteroid no problem.

Re:Not to worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14835815)

Grin

Crap (0, Redundant)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835765)

Crap! Well...someone better go ahead and notify Bruce Willis. And Aerosmith for that matter...so they can start writing a new song for this.

FSP! (2, Funny)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835768)

Forty seventh post!

How is this a "new" asteriod? (2, Funny)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835774)

I thought these asteroid things had been roaming the glaxaly for thousands of years? Even if they meant to say "newly discovered", that still isn't quite right. The thing has been being tracked for over a year now.

Anyway, it says the impact wouldn't happen till 2102. I plan to be quite dead by that date from normal causes so it's not my problem:P

According to Homer Simpson (1)

srock2588 (827871) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835804)

It will burn up in the atmosphere. Only those huddled in the bomb shelter will be killed when the small ball strikes the shelter directly.

And the largest piece... (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835822)

...will be no bigger than a chihuahua's head.

It's just a 2 on the Torino scale (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835806)

This is a 2 on the Torino scale [nasa.gov] :

A discovery, which may become routine with expanded searches, of an object making a somewhat close but not highly unusual pass near the Earth. While meriting attention by astronomers, there is no cause for public attention or public concern as an actual collision is very unlikely. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to re-assignment to Level 0.

Re:It's just a 2 on the Torino scale (1)

sbowles (602816) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836007)

New government funding for telescopic observations very likely will lead to re-assignment to Level 0.

Re:It's just a 2 on the Torino scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14836084)

Just for comparison, Bode Miller was a 5 on the Torino scale and he missed every time.

dont be scared again and again (1)

cycledance (812080) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835811)

its so simple...just let something explode next to it and alter its flying curve. even a veeery minimal change leads to a drastic alteration in the end. no asteroid can match the size of the problems we have on earth.

Why??? (1)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835829)

Why do they even bother releasing this to the public. All it does is lead to mainstream journalists disasterbating. I mean, yeah, it's interesting to NEO experts and various nerds, but the general public, which has almost no functional science education, either gives 1/1000 of a rat's ass or panics unneccessarily. I know I harp on this every time, but please, give it a rest. Wake me when you find something that has at least a 1% chance of hitting sometime in the next century.

May I be the first to wish everyone... (3, Funny)

spot35 (644375) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835844)

...around on the day it hits -
"May the 4th be with you"

Re:May I be the first to wish everyone... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836013)

Who is the bigger dork here? Me for laughing at it, or you for writing it?

My favorite is the "500 metres (yards)" comment (2, Informative)

pbrammer (526214) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835857)

I think someone forgot the conversion number to put inside the parenthesis as yards does not equal meters at a factor of 1:1 ... Should've been, 580 metres (638 yards). Also, 500 is not correct as according to the JPL [nasa.gov] , the diameter is 580 meters.

Re:My favorite is the "500 metres (yards)" comment (1)

jjon (555854) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836103)

I think someone forgot the conversion number to put inside the parenthesis as yards does not equal meters at a factor of 1:1 ... Should've been, 580 metres (638 yards). Also, 500 is not correct as according to the JPL, the diameter is 580 meters.

From the JPL page you linked to:

the diameter estimate should be considered only approximate, but in most cases will be accurate to within a factor of two. [emphasis added]

When you're talking about errors that great, whether it's "around 500 feet" or "around 500 meters" or "around 580 meters" doesn't really matter. In fact, saying "638 feet" implies a lot more accuracy than you really have. See "False precision" on wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Damn, I just finished reading Lucifers Hammer (1)

IMightB (533307) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835919)

OK this is a little freakish...

"Sub-continental" only puts an upper limit, (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835964)

doesn't it?

Fellow space brothers! (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835993)

Time to quickly put on our fancy suits and power up our rockets. We have a mission to complete! We have a world to save!

My reading of about (1)

Senior Frac (110715) | more than 7 years ago | (#14835998)

How did "1 in 3,000" get to be "about one in 1,000" in the first sentence? I don't think those are in the about range.

According to my calculations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14836005)

11-08-2104

Plenty of time... (1)

Xaroth (67516) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836045)

Bah. By "early next century", I plan to already be dead.

The only real downside for everyone else is that they won't be able to bring Bruce Willis out of retirement to save the planet.

Woohoo! (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836049)

I'm not gonna be alive when it hits, so I'll just let my children handle this one.

where will it land? (2, Funny)

davez0r (717539) | more than 7 years ago | (#14836111)

if it crashes into the ocean, we already have trained sharks that can cut it up with laser beams. and the earth's surface is like 70% water, so i think we're safe.
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