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How To Stop A Killer Asteroid


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Initial post: Jan 10, 2010 10:02:47 AM PST
This has been a popular topic the past few years. Below are links to related articles:

http://www/boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/01/10/Asteroid/
(If this link doesn't work, go to http://www.bostonglobe.com and open their "Ideas" section in the top blue bar.)
This is an interesting graphic-article from today's Boston Globe, which discusses all the current ideas for how to stop-a-killer-asteroid.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14822-un-urged-to-coordinate-killer-asteroid-defences.html
This is an 2008 article, discussing how the UN has been urged to coordinate various countries' defenses against an incoming killer asteroid.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Sky-News-Archive/Article/20080641282269/
This is also an older but interesting article, DEEP IMPACT: RACE TO TAG KILLER ASTEROID

So which defensive strategy against an incoming killer-asteroid do you favor?

Posted on Jan 10, 2010 2:18:13 PM PST
K. Rowley says:
What libel! I object for a perfectly innocent asteroid to be called a "killer"! Has it ever killed in the past? I'm guessing there isn't any evidence of it's ever having killed anyone.

Posted on Jan 10, 2010 2:42:53 PM PST
Number one hint: Do not blow up an incoming asteroid when it's relatively close to your planet. The pieces thereof may be as or more dangerous than the original big rock.

Also, there are no asteroids the size of Texas. That is all.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2010 2:48:04 PM PST
Ronald Craig says:
First off, this is NOT science fiction. And it's not particularly NEWS, either.

And who the hell cares which strategy a bunch of Amazon customers "favor"? It's not an issue that should be decided by the opinion of the general public. It's a question for SCIENTISTS.

Thanks for another valuable post, Link Catcher!

Posted on Jan 10, 2010 2:56:51 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"Also, there are no asteroids the size of Texas."

True, even 1 Ceres, now redefined as a dwarf planet. So there can be no asteroids as large as Texas; you'd have to rename this thread 'How To Stop A Killer Dwarf Planet'.

Eris has a radius of approximately 1300km, so it is larger than Texas but as a trans-Neptunian object beyond the Kuiper belt, most Texans have nothing to worry about.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2010 3:00:25 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"First off, this is NOT science fiction. And it's not particularly NEWS, either."

The first post should have referenced Armageddon or Deep Impact. Armageddon again proves that Hollywood can't do science, or science fiction; the movie has so many technical errors...

Posted on Jan 10, 2010 3:00:47 PM PST
Ronald Craig says:
You gotta love a world where Texas is a unit of measurement! :D

(Kuiper belt? Is that one of them there import leather ones?)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2010 3:04:09 PM PST
Ronald Craig says:
Yes, I'm surprised Marilyn didn't make the connection herself. Maybe she hasn't seen the movies?

But that would be adding some sort of CONTENT to the OP, wouldn't it? Notice that she offers nothing again, she just posts links with mini "Marilyn summaries" and then asks what others think.

Classic.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2010 6:19:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2010 6:32:04 PM PST
To April Follies:
RE: "Also, there are no asteroids the size of Texas."

Technically you are correct. However, there are a few asteriods that come close. The longest straight-line distance in Texas is on a north northwest (approxiamtely) axis that goes from Dallam County on the New Mexico and Oklahoma borders in the north to Cameron County at the intersection of the Rio Grande River with the Gulf of Mexico in the south. That's a distance of about 810 miles. The largest asteriod is 1Ceres which has a mean diameter of 592 miles, which is, admittedly less than 810 miles, but it's still nothing to sneeze at. NOTE: 1Ceres has a mass of 94.5 x 10^19 kilograms.

Posted on Jan 10, 2010 8:39:05 PM PST
C. Sachs says:
Wait, what is the size of Texas? Surface area alone or are we including an amount of below surface dirt? And if so, how much? And air?
Because if it's just the top molecule/surface area kinda deal, we could roll it up and come up with a pretty small asteroid.
If we're talking weight, it might be completely true though, cause by being on the earth Texas might be a lot heavier than asteroids floating out in space.
And in other solar systems mightent asteroids be the size of planets? If it's a solar system with planets larger than Jupiter.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2010 2:05:50 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
Walter,

"The largest asteriod is 1Ceres which has a mean diameter of 592 miles"

1 Ceres is now classified as a dwarf planet, so now when people claim the asteroid belt was once a planet it is now possible to point out that there is a (dwarf) planet in the belt.

Posted on Jan 12, 2010 8:01:07 PM PST
Ceres was also once classified as an actual planet until they found too many 'planets' and decided to demote them to asteroids.

Posted on Jan 12, 2010 8:10:02 PM PST
Mark Hankins says:
Stopping the killer asteroid doesn't seem to be as important as delivering money to GE by the wheelbarrowful. Except for a few imitators, most of the fearmongering about asteroids seems to have GE at the top of the corporate food chain. I guess GE thinks that asteroid defense would be a profitable opportunity for them.

Posted on Jan 15, 2010 8:01:52 AM PST
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/lists/CloseApp.html

The above is a link to a Harvard statistical document, FORTHCOMING CLOSE APPROACHES TO THE EARTH, of past and upcoming spatial objects that did/will pass close to Earth.

Posted on Jan 15, 2010 8:18:12 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"The above is a link to a Harvard statistical document, FORTHCOMING CLOSE APPROACHES TO THE EARTH, of past and upcoming spatial objects that did/will pass close to Earth."

Near approaches (and impacts) are happening all the time. There are very few known asteroids that pose a threat: 99942 Apophis is one. Although it comes close in 2029 there is no predicted threat of an impact until April 13, 2036.

A few other objects appear on the Torino Scale:

* 1950 DA will make a close approach in 2880.

* 2007 VK184 has a small chance of impact in 2048.

* 2008 AF4 has a very tiny chance of impact in 2096, 2099 or 2100.

For a full list see:

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/

The main problem are objects that haven't yet been detected.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2010 8:21:10 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
Which COULD be of interest to science fiction writers for use in any stories they are writing involving such matters.

Or to science fiction readers for checking up on and lambasting any sloppy sci-fi writers. :)

(You don't even try to make them relevant, do you? You just post your little links and summaries and then flit off to the next thing.)

Posted on Jan 15, 2010 8:35:40 AM PST
HARVARD DOC: It admits at the very top intro, that objects with "uncertain orbits" weren't included.

RELEVANCY: This IS a thread on Asteroids. Duh!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2010 8:43:37 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
Oooh, Marilyn's demonstrating her "psychic" abilities again, replying to (and marking down) comments she claims she's ignoring.

"It admits at the very top intro, that objects with 'uncertain orbits' weren't included."

That's not what "not yet detected" means.

And yes, Marilyn, it's a thread on asteroids (REAL SCIENCE) that you make no attempt to connect to the community where you've posted it (SCIENCE FICTION).

But that's SOP for you, isn't it?

(Standard Operating Procedure)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2010 8:49:44 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"Which COULD be of interest to science fiction writers for use in any stories they are writing involving such matters."

Lucifer's Hammer

Rendezvous with Rama

Moonfall

And my personal favorite, set in a world where something big smashed into the 19th century world, The Peshawar Lancers.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2010 8:58:28 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
I just got that (The Peshawar Lancers) recently; haven't started reading it yet. :)

(Used to be quite into alternate histories.)

Posted on Jan 15, 2010 8:59:45 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
(Oh, dear me, look ... the thread has been connected to science fiction! Wasn't that DIFFICULT!)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2010 9:51:26 PM PST
To M. Helsdon:
RE: "1 Ceres is now classified as a dwarf planet..."

I assume that "dwarf planet" is a new classification that was invented when Pluto was "de-planetized," so to speak. At least that's the first time that I remember hearing it. Is this correct?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2010 11:08:08 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
" assume that "dwarf planet" is a new classification that was invented when Pluto was "de-planetized," so to speak. At least that's the first time that I remember hearing it. Is this correct?"

Around that time, yes.

Posted on Jan 16, 2010 9:31:15 AM PST
http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/01/the-daily-flash-eco-space-tech-115.html

Daily Galaxy reports that Wednesday's close encounter with a small asteroid (30-50 feet) was a non-event. Yet it was photographed, and noted as "the closest encounter Earth will have with any known object until 2024".

Posted on Jan 16, 2010 12:40:57 PM PST
BTW - you can see the asteroid Vesta, the 4th asteroid discovered in the asteroid belt, over the next few weeks. See article-> http://www.norwichbulletin.com/columnist/x1820922334/Looking-Up-Space-potato-visible-with-binoculars

I always wanted to see this asteroid after reading, as a kid, Asimov's short story "Marooned off Vesta". Unfortunately, I've forgotten how the story ends. In it, 3 marooned astronauts have to come up with some method to get rescued. Does anyone remember the story and how it ends?
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  61
Total posts:  649
Initial post:  Jan 10, 2010
Latest post:  Jun 24, 2013

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