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Asteroid Highlighted as Impact Threat

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the please-bring-your-seatbacks-and-traytables dept.

Space 297

Maggie McKee writes "The asteroid Apophis has been traversing the void of space for untold years; in just a few decades time it will make a very close pass to Earth, and could make an unwelcome stop on our planet's surface. Even still, it's nothing to get too worked up about. The 20-million-tonne object has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Pacific Ocean in early April of 2036. If it did hit, it could trigger a tsunami that would do an untold amount of damage to the California coastline and many other places on Earth. Despite the low level of the threat, it's still a real enough danger to prompt the United Nations to develop a protocol about the scenario. We'll get a closeup look at the object in 2029, and at that point we should have a better idea of what 2036 will bring us."

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Call Bruce Willis (5, Funny)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055544)

We have some drilling to do!

No Worries (5, Funny)

blantonl (784786) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055558)

untold amount of damage to the California coastline

Cancel that request... nothing to be worried about... nothing to see here. Move along folks..

Re:Call Bruce Willis (1)

lavid (1020121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055562)

Wrong movie. Corbin Dallas and Ruby Rod are on this one.

Re:Call Bruce Willis (5, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055576)

No, it's Apophis, so we call Jack O'Neill. Those darned Goa'uld!

More than qualified (2, Informative)

Swifti (801896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056408)

Jack O'Neill can do anything [gateworld.net] .

1 in 45,000 chance (1)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055588)

I like those odds!

Re:1 in 45,000 chance (5, Funny)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055608)

My wife plays the lottery, my bets are on total annihilation before she wins....

Call Dirty Harry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055806)

You gotta ask yourself a question; "Do I feel lucky?". Well, do ya punk?

Re:1 in 45,000 chance (2, Interesting)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056008)

These calculations sound like something of a black art. Originally, this asteroid was supposed to have a 1 in 5500 chance of hitting earth, then it was downgraded to 1 in 24,000, now it's 1 in 45,000... apparently the calculations are easily thrown off by tiny differences in the measured velocity http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn9203-risk- of-asteroid-smashing-into-earth-reduced.html%5D [newscientist.com] .


Even so, 1 in 45,000 sounds a bit high. I can't claim to know anything about orbital mechanics, but there are other ways to approach the problem. One of them is to look at history- written history, archaeology, and geology. There are no written accounts, as far as I know, of a meteorite causing significant numbers of human casualties, either through an impact or through a tsunami induced by impact. To put this in perspective, earthquakes have killed many hundreds of thousands of people in the past century in Mexico, China, Iran, Peru, San Francisco, Japan, Pakistan and so on; older earthquakes have killed massive numbers of people- often hundreds of thousands- in China, Iran, Portugal, Syria, Sicily, etc. Tsunamis have killed hundreds of thousands, recently in the Indian Ocean; Krakatoa killed a huge number of people when it blew up and created a tsunami. Explosive eruption in Crete seems to have wiped the Minoan civilization off the map. Floods kill people so routinely that it's hard to even keep all the flooding events around the world straight.


What this says is that throughout human history, in terms of natural disasters, the earthquakes, tsunamis (induced by earthquake or eruption), volcanic eruptions and floods have been far more deadly than asteroids and comets. The geological record suggests that at points, asteroid impacts have been devastating enough to destroy most of the existing ecosystem for periods of time (as indicated by the extinction of plankton, plants, and herbivores at the end of the Cretaceous) but that events of this magntitude are vanishingly rare- once every hundred million years or so. Smaller events are a more realistic worry, but even then they aren't that common. I've been to Meteor Crater, in Arizona and I'm sure it was a doozy, and it would have sucked to be within a few miles of it, but Meteor Crater is notable precisely because things like it are so rare. If meteors were that common, we would expect to see a lot more of them dotting the deserts than we do.

I don't mean to put down people who are (for a refreshing change) taking a long-term, big picture view, but I think that there are more commonplace disasters we need to worry about, like earthquakes and tsunamis, which involve more boring, mundane solutions, like good building codes, tsunami warning networks, tsunami evacuation sirens, and flood control.

Re:1 in 45,000 chance (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056116)

I don't mean to put down people who are (for a refreshing change) taking a long-term, big picture view, but I think that there are more commonplace disasters we need to worry about, like earthquakes and tsunamis, which involve more boring, mundane solutions, like good building codes, tsunami warning networks, tsunami evacuation sirens, and flood control.

This is a case where the law of the numerous small is a comfort. Back in the 90's on the Art Bell show there was a nutcase who kept talking about a mega-earthquake that was going to raise Atlantis and sink the Rocky Mountains at the same time, and he even sold post-earthquake maps. An earthquake big enough to do that would involve the release of enough energy to melt the crust of North America. It would be a spike in the probability distribution of shakers. Before we see a Magnitude 12 earthquake it stands to reason we'd see a dozen or so magnitude 11 ones, and hundreds of mag 10's. And before we get smacked by a 20 megaton asteroid we ought to get smacked by a dozen 2 megatonners, and hundreds of 200 kilotonners.

Re:Call Bruce Willis (5, Funny)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055614)

Talk about missing the point. In a few decades Bruce Willis might be DEAD ! Where does that leave us ?

Re:Call Bruce Willis (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055740)

You have no idea how much that comment made me laugh.... Mod this guy up Funny, okay?

Re:Call Bruce Willis (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055882)

He might still be around. If Keith Richards can live this long Willis could still be alive. He maybe a head in a fish bowl but there's still hope.

Re:Call Bruce Willis (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055886)

That's why they have remakes every 10 years or so...

There'll be a younger, more emo version of Willis. May be one of those boy band idols...

Re:Call Bruce Willis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055920)

Obviously we must freeze him cryogenically so that he may emerge later for humanity's sake.

Re:Call Bruce Willis (2, Funny)

twentynine (984768) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056440)

ben affleck was trained in the same field

Re:Call Bruce Willis (3, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055628)

I, for one, vote that we let the asteroid come, and destroy the planet in an effort prevent the potential catastrophe of a follow-up to that movie.

Anyway, with any luck, some smart intern has already pointed out that titling a movie 'armageddon' should, generally, rule out a sequel.

Call SG-1 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055650)

Not only did they kill Apophis [wikipedia.org] , they also stopped an asteroid [wikipedia.org] sent by Anubis.

great (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055546)

If we determined in 2029 that it was going to hit in 2036, our governments probably wouldn't be able to get their shit together quickly enough to do anything.

untold (1, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055566)

That's the great untold thing about this story. For untold years, slashdot editors have been writing untold dupes, while governments around the world have been avoiding getting their untold shit together for untold years. When will the untold story be told?

Re:great (5, Funny)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055574)

Look at the bright side: we won't need to fix the Unix date overflow [wikipedia.org] ;-)

Ah, Wikipedia's dry humor. (5, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055796)

By far the best part of that article:

Using a (signed) 64-bit value introduces a new wraparound date in about 290 billion years, on Sunday, December 4, 292,277,026,596. However, this problem is not widely regarded as a pressing issue.

Re:Ah, Wikipedia's dry humor. (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055846)

Thanks for the laugh man, I just linked to the article without reading it... That's gold comedy... Thanks!

Re:Ah, Wikipedia's dry humor. (4, Funny)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056364)

This will, however effect my plans of building a cryogenic chamber to freeze myself until they year 5,000,000,000,000. I would hate for the subtraction to overflow, and wake up in the year 707,722,973,404 BC. Actually, come to think of it, it would be interesting to see the universe before it was actually created.

Re:great (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055634)

it is 2004 mn4 [slashdot.org] . Near dupe article. Near earth asteroid. Eh.

Hasta la Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055654)

"If we determined in 2029 that it was going to hit in 2036, our governments probably wouldn't be able to get their shit together quickly enough to do anything."

That won't matter, because in 2029 we're busy fighting Skynet.

Re:great (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055702)

The first question they will ask: "Is the asteroid man-made" ... Since the answer is "no" there is nothing to worry about, and anyway the cost would be too much to bear for the global economy.

Re:great (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055726)

That would only be true if the likleyhood of fixing the problem would actualy hve results simular to what was intended.

Re:great (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055738)

If we determined in 2029 that it was going to hit in 2036, our governments probably wouldn't be able to get their shit together quickly enough to do anything.

Besides Congress passing a non-binding resolution condemning the asteroid, if it hits the Pacific, it's gonna throw a lot of water vapor into the stratosphere, and water vapor is a greenhouse gas. That means the Kyoto II countries are going to have to move their 2020 --> 2050 CO2 reduction benchmarks from 15% to maybe 20% or even 25%, and we might have to look at maybe somebody possibly broaching the subject with China that, golly, you're the world's lone economic superpower now, do you think maybe we could bump your status out of "developing nation" and let you join the big boys who don't need waivers?

Re:great (3, Insightful)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055802)

[doomsday thinking]
What, you think our governments would be able to get their shit together before 2036 knowing this now?
[/doomsday thinking]

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055972)

If we determined in 2029 that it was going to hit in 2036, our governments probably wouldn't be able to get their shit together quickly enough to do anything.
It obviously is a terrorist threat, we must invade!!

Re:great (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056462)

The US government was able to pull off Apollo in 8 years, and that was having to develop a lot of new technology instead of simply reimplementing them. I think that serious of a threat would allow even a single government to be able to devote the funds to be able to complete such a project in time.

leaving nothing but a cool, beautiful serenity... (4, Funny)

Rhesusmonkey (1028378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055582)

...called Arizona Bay

Re:leaving nothing but a cool, beautiful serenity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055630)

Cut california off the map and let it float away

Re:leaving nothing but a cool, beautiful serenity. (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055970)

I live in Phoenix. I'll have costal property to retire on without moving to Florida! The glass is way better than half full! Come on, baby needs a new beach!!!!!!

Re:leaving nothing but a cool, beautiful serenity. (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056038)

I live in Phoenix. I'll have costal property to retire on without moving to Florida! The glass is way better than half full! Come on, baby needs a new beach!!!!!!

Obviously Lex Luthor is driving this asteroid.

Re:leaving nothing but a cool, beautiful serenity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056034)

Oceanfront property in Arizona...and from my front porch you can see the sea....HAHAHAHA....George Strait WAS onto something.

who cares (0, Troll)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055594)

i'll just cruise my hover car over the tsunami. it'll be such awesome fun, i can't wait.

Re:who cares (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055620)

I think I'd rather surf it in my robotic exoskeleton.

Re:who cares (1)

robbiethefett (1047640) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055820)

i hope this wont fuck up my preorder of duke nukem forever!

Re:who cares (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056094)

It will be outsourced to Missouri by then.

Flynn's future history (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055596)

In science-fiction writer Michael Flynn's future history starting with the novel Firestar [amazon.com] , it's actually the fear of an asteroid that gets a corporate executive starting commercial space travel, jumping ahead of inefficient and bureacratic NASA. Well, it's been a few years now since the date Flynn suggested for the start of real orbital travel, not just the suborbital tourism we're seeing developed now. But nonetheless, I'd like to think that in the last couple of years we're showing enough progress that by 2039, we will have the technology. Even if the investment is motivated a little more by profit than by a desire to protect the human race.

Re:Flynn's future history (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055858)

1) Set up shop and charge maybe... one billion dollars for a spot on a martian/lunar/orbital station. Charge even more for the luxury suites where you don't need to perform grueling physical labor.
2) Convince the uber-wealthy that there is a chance (maybe 1% is enough?) that all life on earth will be wiped out, the only way to ensure survival is to move onto the off-world colony. 3) Profit! 4) ?????

Re:Flynn's future history (1)

robably (1044462) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055950)

Even if we do have it by 2039, it's unlikely that commercial space travel could save more than a few people from an asteroid collision, and even then there'd better be somewhere for them to go or they won't be "saved" for very long. Better get started on the self-sufficient moon-base, the generation ships, the terraforming projects, and the transhumanism as well.

Re:Flynn's future history (2)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056106)

Apophis is not a doomsday asteroid. It will cause a major disaster for a large area if it hits, but it should not be a threat to the survival of humanity to the extent that we need to build space colonies to avoid eradication.

solution follows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055616)

I am certain that the global warming effect is causing this. Time to pour money into the problem, then get out our bibles and pray!

Aw geez.... (0, Troll)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055626)

...not this shite again. How did we manage the millions of years prior to politicians protecting us from this? We'll be able to nuke them YEARS out, even with current technology.

Re:Aw geez.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055870)

1. Joy, so instead of one big rock hitting us we'll have half its mass hitting us as lots of slightly smaller rocks. That is for a large rock likely a much worse disatser than if it just hit us in one piece.
2. We've been lucky, granted since human ancestors have relatively recently had their population reduced down to thousands (genetic bottleneck) it may not have only been relative "luck".
2. There are now 6 billion people on Earth, the chances of hitting some part of the planet are much larger than hitting some small part of Africa.

Re:Aw geez.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056102)

2. There are now 6 billion people on Earth, the chances of hitting some part of the planet are much larger than hitting some small part of Africa.

However hard I try, I cannot parse this sentence. Are you trying to insinuate that there are no, or few, people in Africa? Or that Africa is not a part of the planet?

Re:Aw geez.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056272)

I think he's saying that an event that wouldn't result in total global human extinction but rather localized extinction would still be extremely bad for humans today, but chances are, unnoticed for humans when there were no people NOT in Africa.

Re:Aw geez.... (1)

Mipsalawishus (674206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056076)

We'll be able to nuke them YEARS out, even with current technology.

True, but what the asteroids?

Re:Aw geez.... (2, Insightful)

kramer (19951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056178)

Unless they get more precise knowledge of the orbit, intervention right now could be worse than doing nothing. You might, for example, accidentally turn what would have been a near miss into a direct hit. The most useful course of action right now would probably be to deposit some sort of radio beacon on the asteroid in order to increase the accuracy of the orbital measurements.

Strange write-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055656)

How can you know where it would hit (Pacific Ocean) but not the exact date (only "early April of 2036")?

At least the article says "13 April 2036" which is both shorter and more accurate, so why fsck it up?

Re:Strange write-up (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055774)

Statistically it's most likly to hit there because it's the largest named area? I don't know, I agree it sounds a bit fishy (npi) - maybe they figure if Google and MS are in the way of a potential tsunami, one or the other will figure out a solution. *shrug*

Re:Strange write-up (5, Funny)

skewer (978090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055824)

How can you know where it would hit (Pacific Ocean) but not the exact date (only "early April of 2036")?
It seems that the Heisenberg uncertainty principle applies to astronomy too.

On the upside... (2)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055662)

we wouldn't have to worry about the Y2.038K bug.

OK, note to self (0, Troll)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055676)

Don't vacation in LA during 2036.

You might have that backwards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055804)

I'm a native of southern California, and I must say, there's not much reason to visit LA now. Maybe if the asteroid really does hit, LA will at least be a good locale for deep sea fishing. ;-)

Re:OK, note to self (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056276)

Just stay in either the San Fernando or San Gabriel valleys. Lots of mountains between you and the ocean, and you're still in LA County.

Hmm. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055680)

I can sleep soundly now that I know the U.N. is on the case. /sarcasm

Damn (0, Redundant)

linumax (910946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055686)

He is so obsessed with destroying earth to send us an asteroid and name it after himself [wikipedia.org] ?

Thanks (5, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055688)

>We'll get a closeup look at the object in 2029, and at that point we should have a better idea of what 2036 will bring us."

I'll stick a reminder in outlook.

Re:Thanks (1)

mpoloks (1062844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055790)

don't have to... just keep reading /.

Re:Thanks (1)

ebonum (830686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056404)

Well, the odds of this thing hitting the earth in 2036 are 1 in 45,000. But the odds of a dupe on slashdot in 2036 are 1:1.

In other words... (2, Funny)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055720)

If it did hit, it could trigger a tsunami that would do an untold amount of damage to the California coastline and many other places on Earth.

DOOMSDAY PARTY IN CHICAGO! WHOOO! *plays Conga by Miami Sound Machine*

Guess we don't have to worry (0, Redundant)

VCAGuy (660954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055724)

...as much about the UNIX time epoch rolling over in 2038 now, do we?

The new protocol point by point.. (5, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055782)

1. set up an alert system:
  >>(green, no asteroid)
  >>(yellow, the asteroid MIGHT be near the earth)
  >>(orange, be careful when answering your door, IT MIGHT BE THE ASTEROID!)
  >>(red, we're already dead from the impact)

2. earmark government funds to buy swimsuits and surfboards for all californians

3. have congressional prayer sessions thanking the intelligent designer for wiping out the seat of all vice

4. only give recovery funds to predominently white areas.

5. Invade iraq in retaliation.

Re:The new protocol point by point.. (1)

Polarism (736984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055928)

Insert:

2. With the help of DARPA setup a stock market based on above alerts.

Re:The new protocol point by point.. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056060)

actually i'm hitting myself for not adding "time to run back to your corpses" to number 4 in the list ; )

Re:The new protocol point by point.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056452)

I dunno. Seems a waste of money to buy us swimsuits and surfboards when we already have 'em. Then again, since all of that money is actually going to wind up being pork, seems like a good investment to me!

Typical Humans... (0, Troll)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055818)

We'll wait until 3 weeks before it hits to do something about it!

Preparations (1)

oldmildog (533046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055840)

I'd better start stocking up on canned food and ice.

Sounds like a case of Astronomers wing to me... (1)

Micklewhite (1031232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055852)

This is a classic example of alarmist astronomers trying to make a name for themselves. It's a well known fact that astronomers are hailed as some of the most alarmist people in society. Most people don't know this but the earth has never in it's some 900 billion years of existance been hit by anything. The astronomers however would like you to think otherwise. The most famous thing they like to claim is that the dinosaurs were killed when an asteroid impacted the earth. This is a complete fabrication. First of all, the dinosaurs never existed. It's been recently proven that all the fossils they found were actually skeletons of elephants and giraffes, they were just put together wrong. There are also some other ludicrous claims astronomers like to make about black holes and that sort of mumbo jumbo. Modern physics have also proven most of those claims to be false. That has little to do with any specific doomsday scenarios. Though I have it on good authority that a black hole doomsday scenario was tabled at the latest United Astronomers Convention. Whether or not it'll be approved for further development has yet to be seen.

So I don't think we need to worry too much about an asteroid hitting the earth in in 63 years. If the astronomers community had their druthers they'd very likely start making claims about giant bat like monsters that live on the moon planning an invasion.

Get me a Rickenbacker guitar (4, Funny)

SamSim (630795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055862)

And a gigantic iron to stand on.

The Pacific (2, Interesting)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055888)

Just out of interest: if we don't know whether or not it's going to hit, how do we know that if it does it will land in the Pacific?

Re:The Pacific (4, Informative)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055954)

Figuring out the exact speed of an asteroid, relative to us, is apparently a tad easier than figuring out its exact course. According to the data we have, the possible path of the asteriod is a cone.... the earth is inside that cone currently. Earth takes up about 1/45,000th of that cone, specifically. We know when it will get here, if it does get here, with a good degree of accuracy. And we know what direction it would be coming from. So that rules out it landing in, say, Cuba - it would be coming from the wrong direction to hit there at the time of impact.

Re:The Pacific (1)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056150)

Ah, that makes sense - thank you for the excellent explanation!

Re:The Pacific (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056322)

To be honest I still don't get it. I get that we're in the cone of possible projected paths for this thing. But surely that's one whole side of the Earth that's in it. If we can calculate the precise time in which it would hit us then I can obviously see that maybe the Californian coastline might be smack in the centre of the Earth relative to the asteroid, but surely that still means there's only a tiny fraction of the 1/45000 chance that it will actually hit dead centre. No?

Re:The Pacific (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056374)

Nevermind. Just paid a bit more attention to TFA and realised they're talking about it hitting "the pacific ocean", not specifically the Californian coastline, in which case they probably can safely make that assumption if the timing were just right.

Re:The Pacific (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056390)

The target zone is apparently a path from Siberia leading ESE through North America around to the west coast of Africa. I don't understand it myself, since the uncertainty should be a conic region giving us a more-or-less circular target zone on the surface of the Earth (not linear).

So far as the report on New Scientist goes, I guess they just decided to say it would hit the Pacific off the coast of California. The artists' impression picture is also not to scale - an asteroid that big relative to Earth would be around 600km in diameter, not a mere 250 metres.

improbability (4, Funny)

mpoloks (1062844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055904)

The 20-million-tonne object has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Pacific Ocean...
which if you look at the numbers it's the area code of a small town where i met this incredible girl! how improbable...

You know what... (0, Flamebait)

Quzak (1047922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055906)

I for one welcome our new planet smashing overlords.

Morgan Freeman (1)

ryepnt (1064238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055932)

We now have twenty years to elect Morgan Freeman President and build the ark in the salt beds of Missouri.

Woot! (0, Offtopic)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18055942)

"Despite the low level of the threat, it's still a real enough danger to prompt the United Nations to develop a protocol about the scenario."

Will the UN protocol include raping [worldnetdaily.com] the meteor?

Re:Woot! (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056190)

Quoting WorldNetDaily is a bit like quoting Fox News... it's about as reliable as all of those "hot stock tips" you get in your email every day.

Re:Woot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056412)

Because US soldiers have a FAR better reputation and are much better behaved!

Hypes, hypes, hypes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18055980)

Just like SARS, the Y2K bug, or Duke Nukem Forever coming out, this is just going to hype shit up and cause unnecessary paranoia in the ignorant public. It's still rated 0 on the Torino scale [wikipedia.org] . Why not submit stories of the two current 1-rated asteroids, instead?

Pacific Ocean yeah right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056010)

"The 20-million-tonne object has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Pacific Ocean in early April of 2036"

And a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting probably just about anywhere else.
Good grief if they can't predict if its even going to hit the planet why
should we give any credance to WHERE they (oh the lovely mysterious 'they')
say it will impact?

By 2036 the patent will have run out on my nanofiber rebounding material
and I'll have to let them use it for free. Damn!

Yawn!

Palermo Technical Scale (4, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056032)

This asteroid has a Palermo Technical Scale [nasa.gov] risk assessment of -2.52.

The PTS relates the impact risk to the background risk in a logarithmic way -- that is, the probability of Apophis hitting us is 0.003 times the probability that we will be struck by some other asteroid of equal or larger size first. Or, put another way, yes we should be worried about asteroid impacts, and yes we should keep watching Apophis, but it's not (by our understanding) a big cause to go and panic.

That said, Apophis is the second highest ranked asteroid we know about by the PTS, behind 2007 CA19 at -0.91 (potential impact in 2012). And if it gets the people with the budgets to start considering the problem, that's a good thing. Right now, though, it would seem that our best use of money is to spend more effort looking for asteroids -- so far, the number we find appears to be fairly well correlated to how hard we look, suggesting that we have found a very, very small fraction of the NEOs out there.

Re:Palermo Technical Scale (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056334)

...suggesting that we have found a very, very small fraction of the NEOs out there.
...suggesting that we have found a very, very small fraction of the Agent Smiths out there.

There. Fixed that for ya.

DON'T PANIC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056074)

What does the guide tell us?

'nuff said (2, Funny)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056090)

Even still, it's nothing to get too worked up about... If it did hit, it could trigger a tsunami that would do an untold amount of damage to the California ... Despite the low level of the threat...

2007 CA19 (5, Informative)

crontabminusell (995652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056172)

The object 2007 CA19 [nasa.gov] has a better chance (as of right now) of hitting the Earth than 99942 Apophis (2004 MN4) [nasa.gov] does. The former is also about four times larger than the latter and would have more than double the velocity at impact if it were to hit.

Re:2007 CA19 (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056370)

The impact probability for 2007_CA19 is based on a bit over 5 days of observations. Further observations are more likely to decrease impact probability than to increase it. It is definitely worth keeping an eye on, but I wouldn't take impact probabilities too seriously until a few more weeks of observations have taken place.

Real blame (2, Insightful)

blahpony (1065454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056192)

The MPAA and RIAA will just blame the tsunami on piracy.

Ob. HHGTTG (3, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056260)

"So this is it. We're going to die."

So what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056320)

1 in 45,000 chances of hitting Earth.

So what ? I guess nobody can deny global warming has a greater chance than that. Neverthless we continue to increase our emissions, like theres no tomorrow.

Oooh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056340)

We should call the relief concert AsterAID.

Just Like Global Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18056372)

"Beginning in the next few months, Schweickart's group will host a series of meetings to provide the UN with a 'decision process' for assessing and acting on the hazard posed by Apophis and other near-Earth asteroids (NEAs). A draft document ready for consideration by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is expected by 2009." This sounds like anthropogenic global warming. That would be because its the same junk scientists playing to the neurotic and psychotic masses and their facilitators.

obliterate california? (1, Funny)

AIfa (907080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056456)

i fail to see the reason for concern
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