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Nukes Against Earth-Impacting Asteroids

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the armageddon-outta-here dept.

NASA 491

TopSpin writes "Flight International reports that scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center have developed designs for an array of asteroid interceptors wielding 1.2-megaton B83 nuclear warheads. The hypothetical mission for these designs is based on an Apophis-sized Earth impactor 2 to 5 years out. According to NASA, 'Nuclear standoff explosions are assessed to be 10-100 times more effective [at deflection] than the non-nuclear alternatives analyzed in this study." On April 13, 2029, Apophis will pass closer to earth than geosynchronous satellites orbit.

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491 comments

I, for one, welcome our... (5, Funny)

Will the Chill (78436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137127)

extinction-level-event nuke-shielded overlords!

-WtC

*please insert sig*

Re:I, for one, welcome our... (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137155)

For once, I really do welcome our overlords.

S.T.U.P.I.D. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137555)

This is the wrong day for this newsstory.

This is the worst day for such a joke.

Never forget! ... because there is no way to erase that -- not even with a bomb.

Come to think, maybe that's why I despise nuclear energy...

Oh, well, what do I know.... I'm human, too. 8-/

Re:I, for one, welcome our... (-1, Redundant)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137641)

But those will just be like blowing up a firecracker on the palm of your hand.

I, for one, then welcome our Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck oil-drilling astronaut overlords.

Re:I, for one, welcome our... (5, Funny)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137733)

I, for one, welcome our... extinction-level-event nuke-shielded overlords!
Kree Hol Mel.... Apophis!

Re:I, for one, welcome our... (5, Funny)

boaworm (180781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137739)

Dont worry, TFA clearly states:

According to the WSS, there are no known safety issues associated with the B83.

what if they miss hteir shot (0, Troll)

old and new again (985238) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137149)

and kill everyone with atmospheric radiations?

Re:what if they miss hteir shot (2, Informative)

JeremyBanks (1036532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137179)

I think I'd be pretty hard for them to miss so badly that they somehow manage to hit the earth, since they'd be trying to hit it in space.

Re:what if they miss hteir shot (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137625)

Well... In theory, at least, there is a point in time the nuke will again intersect with Earth orbit. It's only a matter of time until it comes back.

On the other hand, it could take a good couple million years.

Re:what if they miss hteir shot (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137187)

What if they don't try, and many people die because of it?

Worse yet, it might hit a main tube from me to the intarblags! GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY INTARBLAGS!!!

Re:what if they miss hteir shot (4, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137297)

I have to wonder if you where just kidding or are don't know anything about nuclear weapons.
From the 40s up through I think the 70s many nuclear weapons where detonated in the atmosphere. While it was a really bad plan life pretty much kept on living. A miss would probably not hit the earth and a launch accident wouldn't cause a nuclear detonation. A common method of safeing a nuclear weapon involves filling the pit with a neutron absorbing wire. Once the weapon leaves the atmosphere a motor will pull the wire out of the core and only then the weapon will be capable of nuclear detonation. Not only that most modern weapons are much cleaner then the bombs of the 50s.
So I wouldn't to see them launching them daily I think risk to benefit ratio is pretty good.

Re:what if they miss hteir shot (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137359)

OK, think how far that damn warhead will be after 2-5 years worth of travel? that asteroid will be moving a helluva lot faster than that warhead, so the distance they are thinking of is extreme. You probably wouldn't be able to see the explosion with a terrestrial telescope.

Add to that distance the fact that the radiation, well... radiates in all directions, and the very small peice of that radiation that would reach the earth is going to be, in whole, less than that coming out from the diode in your TV remote.

The thing will be so large and so fast, and so far away, even knocking it slightly off course will likely steer it farther away!

Space is really, really, really big, and things move really, really, really fast.

Re:what if they miss hteir shot (3, Insightful)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137377)

You won't have time to die of radiation...if they miss the asteroid, it's gonna get you first.

rj

Re:what if they miss hteir shot (4, Insightful)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137613)

Even assuming that you are joking, this is a non-issue. The atmosphere and magnetosphere shield us from a metric butt-ton of solar radiation. Space is not pristine, and at risk of being damaged. Space is trying to kill us all, whether by pulling us atom from atom (vacuum), freezing us solid, radiating us 'til we're crispy, or throwing large rocks at us. Just offa the top of my head, my guess is that you could probably fly through the location of a thermonuclear blast in space minutes after the event.

A near-miss in 2029? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137159)

If it's not going to hit Earth, will Skynet or the terminators even care?

Uh oh... (1)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137165)

Is that a Friday?

Re:Uh oh... (3, Informative)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137257)

April 13, 2029 is indeed a Friday. Look it up yourselves if you don't believe me. Luckily, we'll all be dead in December 2012, so this asteroid's simply to finish off the rest of the life on the planet.

Re:Uh oh... (5, Informative)

onemorechip (816444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137643)

Or, you can use the Doomsday Algorithm [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137361)

Actually, yes, it is. Creepy.

Re:Uh oh... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137595)

It'll be the day that the Earth stood still and Jason X [wikipedia.org] comes home.

Apophis should be able to be destroyed... (5, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137171)

with an alternate reality gateway, and a crack commando team consisting of a linguist with allergies, a wise cracking Colonel, a brilliant astrophysicist, and someone with a horrible gastronomical infection. Also some grenades.

Re:Apophis should be able to be destroyed... (0, Flamebait)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137327)

and a black guy who'll volunteer to do the most dangerous part.

Re:Apophis should be able to be destroyed... (2, Funny)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137431)

Depends on what it's made of. . .it would be much safer to just open a hyperspace window and have it pass through the Earth. No grenades necessary. ;-)

Re:Apophis should be able to be destroyed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137665)

What's this from? Up until "astrophysicist" I thought this was from Lucasarts' awesome 1995 game "The Dig" [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Apophis should be able to be destroyed... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137689)

The main enemy in Stargate SG-1 was Apophis.

APOP-Whut? (4, Informative)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137175)

In case you were wondering, Apophis is the Greek form of the name for the Egyptian Demon Apep [wikipedia.org] .

Otherwise known as the personification of all that is evil.

Re:APOP-Whut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137681)

What, "Cheney" isn't good enough anymore?

(And the captcha: buckshot :-)

Re:APOP-Whut? (5, Funny)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137735)

"In case you were wondering, Apophis is the Greek form of the name for the Egyptian Demon Apep."

Thanks. Because if there's one thing that you can be sure about the average Slashdot reader it's that none of us has ever seen an episode of Stargate SG-1, and thus the name Apophis, and associating that name with evil personified, would be totally new to us all.

oh noez! (1)

thibbledorf (1076171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137185)

Would an explosion in space would function in the same manner?

Yes (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137261)

The theoretical pressure wave from an atomic explosion in "theory" would probably generate enough energy to nudge one by a few degrees, which if exploded far away, should do the trick. The only problem I see, is that the "theory" is by scientist and engineers....the same engineers that say a bumblebee can't fly...in theory LOL.

Re:Yes (2, Informative)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137355)

Engineers say a bee can't flap its wings and fly; and it cannot. A bee (and for that matter, flies) remain airborne because their wings trace an s-like path through the air, allowing them to move through the air in much the same way as a shark.

Think of it like a ceiling fan that goes back and forth. If it didn't have the ability to turn back on itself, it wouldn't do much to the air. However, if the blades bent in different directions for each direction, it would be able to produce a downdraft.

The best magazine in the universe. [discovermagazine.com]

Re:Yes (0, Troll)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137539)

Can you please explain to me what similarities there are between the hydrodynamic motion of a shark and the beating wings of a bumblebee? I am intrigued by your ideas, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Yes (4, Funny)

onemorechip (816444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137663)

I'd also like to know how the shark moves through the air.

re (2, Interesting)

thibbledorf (1076171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137277)

edit: Would an explosion in space even function in the same manner?

Re:oh noez! (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137289)

somewhat, a nuclear explosion in space would largely be radiation which also has momentum/kinetic energy and that in its self would do damage. on Earth, the radiation heats up air which expands rapidly adding to the explosion's effect. because the air is lighter [heat expands air which becomes less dense] it rises resulting in a mushroom cloud. But overall, there should be less bang and more heat/EM radiation getting to you if you were unfortunate enough to be close.

Re:oh noez! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137307)

Wow, good question! Im sure legions of engineers and rocket scientists never paused to think about that. You beter get on the phone and inform them that there is no air in space before they make a huge mistake!

Re:oh noez! (5, Informative)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137345)

It would go off but would look nothing like an atmospheric burst. It would be a really bright spherical event that mostly produced an incredibly intense flux of gamma rays, with some neutrons as well. The only actual matter to heat up would be the bomb itself, so the size of the visible explosion would be small, but unbelivably bright. The idea is to cause this really intense light and gamma ray burst to heat the surface of the asteroid enough to cause vaporization and ablation. That would cause a small thrust that changes the direction of the asteroid enough to miss the Earth.

Re:oh noez! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137557)

Well, i know they tested nukes in space. so probably it's of some use.

Re:oh noez! (4, Informative)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137717)

It would be completely different.

The first destructive effect is caused by the radiated energy itself, but most of the destructive power of an atmospheric nuclear detonation comes from the quick heating and displacement of huge quantities of air that creates the explosive shock-wave.

In space, only the radiated energy of the detonation remains. While it would be sufficient to deflect an asteroid, a nuke is nowhere near as destructive in deep space than it is on Earth.

Green Announces Opposition to Nuking Asteroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137189)

Wait for it....

Re:Green Announces Opposition to Nuking Asteroids (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137645)

If they want to strap themselves to a asteroid, let them.

Quick ! (3, Funny)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137195)

Get Ben Affleck's spacesuit ready.

Re:Quick ! (1)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137333)

Don't you realize she'll just smile at you and keep on coming!

I meant the asteroid, I think.

Let me know what happens...

"'Cause I miss you babe and I don't want to miss a thing!!!!!!!!!!!"

FUD alert.. (4, Informative)

fadeaway (531137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137201)

Apophis was lowered to 0 on the Torino scale sometime last fall. I'm not sure why it even warranted a mention in this particular context..

Re:FUD alert.. (4, Informative)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137317)

"Apophis-sized" implying that the plans would be equally valid for similarly sized bodies even with Apophis missing us in a few decades.

Re:FUD alert.. (1)

fadeaway (531137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137379)

I was referring to the line "On April 13, 2029, Apophis will pass closer to earth than the orbits of geosynchronous satellites.", not to the comparison.

If someone were to read that without proper background information, they may assume that Apophis is a threat, which has been proven to be false.

Re:FUD alert.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137481)

If someone were to read that without proper background information, they will assume that Apophis is a long-term threat because it is Earth-orbit crossing, and that it is not a short-term threat because it'll miss in 2029. All of this is completely true.

Re:FUD alert.. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137675)

Hey, it could still be a threat to one of those geosynchronous satellites!

Re:FUD alert.. (2, Insightful)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137371)

Because that didn't change its size...

Re:FUD alert.. (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137517)

Apophis is a perfect example of how flawed the current system for identifying potentially hazardous near-earth asteroids is. A two body analysis showed that it was on a collision course, but a more intensive three body analysis showed it would miss by a lot. Thing is, the opposite could potentially also be true - a two body analysis might show that an object is not a threat when, in fact, it is and a more heavy analysis would show that. We need more resources dedicated to this very real threat to our planet. Only with early detection do we have any chance of deflecting a planet killer.

Where the hell is Wesley Crusher when you need him (1, Funny)

nixkuroi (569546) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137223)

We don't need nukes! We need some Wil Wheaton to reprise his role as Star Trek TNG's Wesley Crusher, then "...come off the main lead, split off at the force activator, then reversing power leads through the force activator, repulsor beam powers against Tsilokovsky..." err...the asteroid. At this point, everyone will remember that this idea sucked and we'll use that sucking power to pull the asteroid into the sun.

Billions saved and problem solved. All we need now is some sort of "suck converter"! Get on it NASA!

Re:Where the hell is Wesley Crusher when you need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137401)

If only someone would come up with a complicated plan, then explain it with a simple analogy!

Re:Where the hell is Wesley Crusher when you need (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137571)

then explain it with a simple analogy!

      Well see, it's like a car...

this is not armageddon NASA :) (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137231)

exploding nuclear weapons from a distance only works if the asteroid is fairly solid, like the metallic [M-type] asteroids. The more porous asteroids [there seem to be many] don't seem to respond as well to such explosions. As for the Armageddon-type way of dealing with asteroids, you just made a single asteroid into a hail of dangerous shrapnel. Although if we exploded a nuclear charge [a smaller one] that only tosses up a part of the asteroid and direct the shrapnel away from Eath, the shrapnel would go in one direction [wherever your plan dictates] and the asteroid generally goes in the opposing direction, knocking it off course. over a period of several years even a small orbital change will result in Earth being safe for now. [hopefully we have that much time if not start sipping your favorite alcoholic beverage :) ]

Re:this is not armageddon NASA :) (2, Interesting)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137331)

The more porous asteroids don't seem to respond as well to such explosions.
You say this based on... what? Exactly how many nuclear weapons has NASA detonated in space while I was asleep?

Re:this is not armageddon NASA :) (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137389)

you just made a single asteroid into a hail of dangerous shrapnel.

Shrapnel == Greater Cross Section
Greater Cross Section == Atmosphere has greater effect on projectile
Atmosphere has greater effect on projectile == Energy dissapated over wider area
Energy dissapated over wider area == No boom today. Boom tomorrow. Always boom tomorrow.

Re:this is not armageddon NASA :) (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137609)

Well, I'm sure they thought of the same things you've brought up. After all, this is rocket science.

Sneaky way to get weapons into space (1)

TheBishop613 (454798) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137239)

So we're not supposed to put weapons in space and point them at Earth, but we can stick them up and point them at asteroids... I suppose if we ever need them here we can always just turn them around

Why do we need nukes? (5, Funny)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137267)

Couldn't we simply send a small spacecraft to intercept the asteroid? Say, a small craft, probably with one primary weapon that has plenty of ammo... probably shaped like a triangle, I think. It could use this "weapon" to then shoot at any incoming asteroids.

Of course, the weapon wouldn't be as powerful as a nuke, and would probably split the asteroid in, say, half. The ship would then have to shoot both halves, breaking them again into half, creating four asteroids where just one was originally. The pilot would repeat this process until the asteroid is broken into such small pieces that they'll be deflected by earth's atmosphere.

I'm still working on how the ship and asteroid fragments would warp to the other side of the field when they hit the edges, though... probably why NASA decided against this approach. That, and they wanted to avoid ripping off The Last Starfighter too much.

Star Wars Fakeout (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137269)

This program is just a smokescreen for the government to spend even more $billions on Star Wars "missile defense" without admitting it.

The chances of getting hit by an asteroid are extremely small. The chances of getting screwed by our foreign energy dependence is 100% (just look at the news already). If we were spending this money on actual threat priorities, we'd be spending it getting out of the crosshairs of foreign energy suppliers. But we're not. We're spending it on Star Wars.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (5, Funny)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137365)

This isn't the conspiracy you're looking for.

They can go about their business.

Move along.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (5, Funny)

Philotic (957984) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137367)

We're spending it on Star Wars.
Solution: Assassinate George Lucas.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1)

nrgy (835451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137399)

Yeah I guess all them pot holes we see on the moon, other planets and their moons show just how small a chance it is for a big rock to slam into another body in space.

Why this is modded interesting confuses me, then again after looking at your sig I can see why you said what you did. If you wanna turn any conversation dealing with weapons into some governmental conspiracy then so be it I guess, I on the other hand do realize the REAL possibility of a life destroying huge rock slamming into the earth and will support anyone who tries to prepare for such an event.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137449)

If you don't know the difference between the Moon as an asteroid target and the Earth with our atmosphere, what business do you have arguing this scientific subject?

You realize nothing but baseless fear. Star Wars scams and our government's support for our energy slavery are perfect for you.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1)

nrgy (835451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137473)

Are you serious? No Earth atmosphere is gonna stop a 17 mile wide rock coming at the Earth. I suggest you go read up on what that comet did to Jupiter when it slammed into it a few years back.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137531)

Don't bother arguing with that far left-wing nut. He has no life, he is delusional, and he sees shadow people at every corner.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137599)

Of course I'm serious. Show me the trajectory of that 17 mile wide rock coming at the Earth, and we can talk.

Are you scared of a black hole swallowing the Sun, because you've seen that happen to other suns on TV, too?

Get back to me when you've got a serious attitude about actual risks worth spending more $billions on. When this has nothing to do with asteroids, and everything to do with more covert Star Wars missile defense funding.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137605)

Jupiter is a much larger target, and therefore far more likely to get hit by the random motion of asteroids in space. Also, all them "pot holes we see on the moon" are a) spread out over a period of billions of years making the chance that it'll happen in *this* millennium very low and b) mainly the result of asteroids the size of golf balls, most of which would burn up in our atmosphere.

The chance of an asteroid large enough to get to the ground without burning up *and* hitting us in this millennium is so low that you really, honestly do have a better chance winning the lottery. Good luck with that too, by the way.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137579)

The reason you don't see as many craters on earth is because of the natural resurfacing done by erosion and our still active volcanism. The moon is a good indicator of the historical likelihood of a body intersection earthican orbit precisely because it contains the unmarred record of such events over billions of years.

A better indicator of the possibility of meteor impacts is the fact at least one large one has happened WITHIN RECENT MEMORY. [wikipedia.org] While this wasn't a civilization-ending event, it was only sheer luck that it did not occur over a densely populated area. The Tunguska object would have been an excellent candidate for redirection both due to it's relatively manageable size and the known area of devastation.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137633)

Most of Earth is totally unpopulated. So it's not "sheer luck" that the Tunguska impact wasn't deadly.

And the natural resurfacing that covers up the occasional impacts across all Earth's history is an indication of how rarely it happens. This fear is paranoia dressed up in statistical ignorance.

Meanwhile, how vehemently are you demanding we spend those $billions on getting the US off imported energy? Not very, right?

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137667)

You obviously have no business arguing the subject. For large objects, the Earth's atmosphere is irrelevant.

Proposing conspiracy theories, without any evidence to back them up, is the mark of a delusional mind.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137421)

Because a large asteroid would do so much damage, your odds of being killed by an asteroid is about the same as being killed by lightning. The problem with that is in the asteroid scenerio, the reaper comes to punch *everyone's* ticket at the same time.

One person being killed by an act of nature is an unfortunate personal tragedy. Everyone being killed by an act of nature is extinction. Having the wealth to escape this kind of treat is the point of all our economic activity from a larger evolutionary perspective.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137489)

don't post AC for that shit, man.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137565)

You've just proven that you don't understand statistics. Your odds of being killed by an asteroid are much less than by lightning, because it is so much less likely to happen. Just because something kills lots of people when it extremely rarely happens doesn't mean it's more likely to happen. In fact, it's likely that no human has ever been killed by an asteroid.

People with actual ability to use statistics know that it's unlikely that anyone will be killed by an asteroid for hundreds of years, if not thousands or even millions.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137785)

People with actual ability to use statistics know that it's unlikely that anyone will be killed by an asteroid for hundreds of years, if not thousands or even millions.
Oh, I hope you're wrong. Because if we're mining asteroids we're certain to see some industrial accidents.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (5, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137425)

The chances of getting hit by an asteroid are extremely small.

That's true. The potential damage from getting hit is very, very large though - and the probability isn't quite small enough to completely discount. Major meteor impacts have occurred with some frequency on a geological time scale - it seems prudent to actually do the risk assessment and take appropriate action if necessary.

As for the foreign energy independence issue, sure that's important. That doesn't mean that astronomers who specialize in asteroids should drop their careers for it any more than you should drop your career (whatever it is) to worry about potential meteor impacts.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (-1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137581)

The large damage from theoretically possible asteroid impacts doesn't make it any more likely that they will happen. That's a statistical fallacy.

And I didn't say any asteroid specialist astronomers should drop their careers. I just said we shouldn't spend any more money on Star Wars, using those scientists as human shields, and add $billions to their budget as a smokescreen for Star Wars. You've presented a logical fallacy, too: the straw man.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137465)

I am constantly amazed that there are individuals out there with mod points that are as loony and retarded as Doc Ruby. Doc, give the LSD and the conspiracy theories a rest, turn off Coast-to-Coast, go get laid you dirty hippie. You are delusional, please log off of slashdot and get a life. Moonbat.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137657)

Anonymous insane Coward daydreams about my sex life. I guess that's what you need to keep your mind off getting scammed by your favorite Republicans with cool names like "Star Wars", to match your doll collection.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137501)

you silly cock sucker.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (-1, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137547)

Another Anonymous gay Coward dreams about having sex with me.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137661)

The chances of getting hit by an asteroid are extremely small.

It's clear that there is a slim to none chance of getting hit by an asteroid, after all the moon is in pristine shape with absolutely zero crater impacts on it.

I think you need to unscrew your tinfoil cap a bit.

Re:Star Wars Fakeout (2, Insightful)

dircha (893383) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137683)

"If we were spending this money on actual threat priorities, we'd be spending it getting out of the crosshairs of foreign energy suppliers."

But the money being spent on this research and all active missile defense research absolutely pales in comparison to what we are spending in Iraq. Yes, we should get out of Iraq - out of the "crosshairs of foreign energy supplies" - but that doesn't mean we can't also continue to pursue missile defense technologies, and secure our borders while we're at it.

In my opinion missile defense is precisely the sort of national security policy that should be supported by someone interested in limited government or interested in limiting U.S. imperialism around the world.

If we have a mature, comprehensive air and space defense solution, we don't have to worry about policing the world, and we don't have to have talk about nuclear first strikes against sovereign nations.

Take a math class (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137745)

The probability of the Earth catching an extinction asteroid this year is very small. Like compound interest however, over time the small fractions add up to more than one. Ultimately this outcome is not only certain, but it's certain to happen more than once. Not that we would care about the second and third times.

I'm definitely following this story! (5, Funny)

zegota (1105649) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137287)

Because I don't want to miss a thing!

The Geosynchronous Satellites (2, Funny)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137303)

...always wondered what happened to them after their big radio hit ""Keep Your Hands to Yourself".

Hopefully an earth killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137305)

... will give me a better chance of losing my virginity within the next 2-5 years.

Margin of error? (1)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137369)

I would like to know what margin of error would be required in order for Apophis to hit Earth? not large, I'll bet.

Ad impact! (1, Insightful)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137375)

I, for one, wish the Flash ad window did not land on top of the first article.

Re:Ad impact! (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137537)

AdBlocker Pro Firefox Add-on. Works like a charm for all your ad-defeating needs! Of course, if we don't look at the ads, its like we're stealing the internet... PFFT!

Re:Ad impact! (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137799)

Actually, the ad was just a black square. They're using some format which needs an add-on which my browser doesn't have. Someone valued their artistry more than showing me what they wanted to sell.

nuke those fags! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137393)

i hear there are public linux groups that meet in men's restrooms the world over. put an end to those dick smoking fags. kill them all.

"Bang, zoom, straight to the moon!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137443)

I really think we should test this out on the moon first.

Signed,

The Cowardly Lion

Anyone remember the deep impact? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20137499)

Anyone remember the stats on the copper slug from the Deep Impact mission? Notice the volume and mass of that thing in comparison to some of the more common nuclear arsenal warheads? Co-inky-dink? I don't think so...

Regardless, I'm not sure how well the deflection approach could even work (never been tried.) It would need some long-term advance intercept to do enough. The direct hit approach is probably still under consideration too. It would be useful for city-killer threshold sized asteroids/comets. If they became meteor-buckshot the atmosphere would have a good chance of burning 'em up. But for region, continent, or planet killer sized objects, nukes are more likely still going iffy or useless. Still better than nothing, as its insurance against more common smaller objects.

Only thing that may come of this if effective is that some point in the future you might have nuclear powers arguing about which one saved the planet. Might make for a fun sci-fi plot somewhere if plausible enough.

What about other options? (5, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137631)

They claim 10-100 times more effective than other methods. First of all they dont define more effective. Second of all, they seem to dismiss ideas like a gravity tug out of hand as not developed enough.

The idea of throwing nukes at an object of potentially unknown size bugs me, especially when much more controlled options exist. All that needs to be done is to nudge the NEO out of small zones known as "keyholes" that are small, finite portions of space where the pull of the Earth will push the object into a collision course on its next orbit rather than another random non-intersecting orbit.

A fairly massive object (something a Delta IV Heavy could launch) would be perfectly capable of handling an Apophis sized object with enough lead time (on the order of years, but certainly less than decades), by flying in formation with the object in the right location to shift its orbit slightly. This is a lot easier than Apollo, which we pulled off in less than 10 years, so to dismiss it as too difficult is ridiculous, and it seems a lot more responsible than launching nukes at an object we dont fully understand.

Just my thoughts anyway.

worse yet ... (4, Insightful)

blandthrax (575357) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137651)

April 13, 2029 is a Friday.

Hehehe (1)

nnn0 (794348) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137673)

And thus the next phase of the evil plan for one world government is official.

Re:Hehehe (1)

nnn0 (794348) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137723)

And this is where I delete Slashdot from my RSS feeds. Take care.

Cool (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137679)

Liv Tyler is still hot... I hope they keep her. I hear that Cowboy Neal is going to try out for Ben Affleck's part and that the title is going to be "Armageddon II: This time we'll just shoot the fucker".

Great Idea (1, Funny)

drsquare (530038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20137687)

And if there are no asteroids, just direct the nukes to Argentina instead. Two birds with one stone.
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