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View Full Version : Professional Comet and Asteroid Observers Censored?



StarQuestor
2006-Mar-17, 04:35 AM
My question to the Professional comet and asteriod observers working in their high tech observatories is this.....when the big one does come and the government finds out, will you do what they ask (basically shutting your mouth) or will you come out in the open and tell us?

I for one want to know when a mountain sized rock or snowball is heading this way. As long as I'm not sitting directly under the impact, a country boy can survive. And if its so big that it wipes out all life everywhere, then it won't matter but I still want to know whats coming.

Wouldn't you agree?

cjl
2006-Mar-17, 04:47 AM
Absolutely they will say if they discover one - they have said it many times when they have discovered ones that appear that they might (not will) hit earth.

01101001
2006-Mar-17, 05:04 AM
My question to the Professional comet and asteriod observers working in their high tech observatories is this.....when the big one does come and the government finds out, will you do what they ask (basically shutting your mouth) or will you come out in the open and tell us?

Which goverment? There is more than one government on this planet.

It'll be all over the Net before a government even hears of it.

Andromeda321
2006-Mar-17, 05:15 AM
The way asteroid and comet searches work today is you enter the data onto the Internet to see if it matches up with any previously found objects, and then before the trajectory is even found for the object there is a call sent out for observations. This means everyone all over the world can go onto the Internet to help you track the object so it's not a secret at all.
The Minor Planet Center will then send out information based on the observations on the asteroid's orbit in its email bulletin: government does not censor this at all, and by the nature of the process needed to make the nessecary observations there's no way they could censor if they tried. So like it or not, we'll hear about it. There's no way to hide this kind of Armageddon.

Van Rijn
2006-Mar-17, 07:00 AM
My question to the Professional comet and asteriod observers working in their high tech observatories is this.....when the big one does come and the government finds out, will you do what they ask (basically shutting your mouth) or will you come out in the open and tell us?

I for one want to know when a mountain sized rock or snowball is heading this way. As long as I'm not sitting directly under the impact, a country boy can survive. And if its so big that it wipes out all life everywhere, then it won't matter but I still want to know whats coming.

Wouldn't you agree?

First, large impacts are very rare, on the order of many millions of years, so your initial argument is hypothetical: If a large asteroid was going to intersect earth ...

Second, you can't hide the sky. As Andromeda321 pointed out, this isn't a few people sitting in big observatories, there are too many professional and amateur astronomers involved.

Third, something "so big that it wipes out all life everywhere" is virtually impossible, but if one was coming, it would be incredibly obvious. There is no possible way you could hide it even with the most elaborate attempted coverup ever.

Wolverine
2006-Mar-17, 07:46 AM
Moved from BABBling to Astronomy.

peteshimmon
2006-Mar-17, 06:27 PM
It may be almost 50 years old but Fred Hoyles
novel The Black Cloud has a good tale of
something like this in the first chapters.
The powers that be certainly were portrayed
as very retentive:)

JohnW
2006-Mar-17, 06:38 PM
My question to the Professional comet and asteriod observers working in their high tech observatories is this.....when the big one does come and the government finds out, will you do what they ask (basically shutting your mouth) or will you come out in the open and tell us?

I for one want to know when a mountain sized rock or snowball is heading this way. As long as I'm not sitting directly under the impact, a country boy can survive. And if its so big that it wipes out all life everywhere, then it won't matter but I still want to know whats coming.

Wouldn't you agree?
This presupposes that "the government" will ask astronomers to shut their mouths. Do you know this? How?

Ara Pacis
2006-Mar-17, 07:25 PM
This presupposes that "the government" will ask astronomers to shut their mouths. Do you know this? How?

It was in Deep Impact...

StarQuestor
2006-Mar-19, 10:32 AM
Well it seems the present more advanced state of astronomy negates the possibilty of hiding an impending impact from the population. I do however disagree that the asteroid would necessarily be visible on arrival. Some are very dark. Comets are going to show themselves with their coronal tails and such but the asteriod still can sneak right past us even with all the eyes on the sky we have today.

If an asteriod comes, not much can be done to stop it depending on its size. I seen a show on National Geographic channel saying that if a comet comes, nothing could be done to stop it. I totally disagree. Asteriods can be far more dense and massive than comets making nuclear weapons pointless (depending on the size). But a comet can be obliterated slowly...regardless how fast it moves. Firing one nuke at a time, no direct hit is necessary.

Let it pass thru the individual shock waves of our nukes fired one right after the other in intervals, the comet could be pummled to ever smaller and smaller pieces. Even if they aren't totally disintigrated, I'd still rather see a lot of small basketball sized to house sized chunks hit the earth in various places than a single mountain sized planet killer that no one had the cohones to even try to stop. Heck!, even if it is an asteriod, I say nuke it till it glows. I'd rather go down like Captain Ahab jabbing his harpoon in the great whale spitting in its eye all the way then to sit idly by waiting to die.

Let the rest of the galaxy know we at least tried. What do you think?

antoniseb
2006-Mar-19, 01:10 PM
I seen a show on National Geographic channel saying that if a comet comes, nothing could be done to stop it.

The National Geographic show was looking at a worst case. For the worst case, they are right. If there was a new comet falling in from the Oort cloud coming straight at us, we'd first see it about a year before it would hit. Some comet nuclei are more than 20 miles in diamter. With an average density of half that of water, such a comet would be massive, and all the nukes ever made would not be enough to change its path enough, or break it apart, even if we did have the rockets to get the bombs to the comet (which we don't).

Ara Pacis
2006-Mar-19, 07:41 PM
But a comet can be obliterated slowly...regardless how fast it moves. Firing one nuke at a time, no direct hit is necessary.

Let it pass thru the individual shock waves of our nukes fired one right after the other in intervals, the comet could be pummled to ever smaller and smaller pieces. Even if they aren't totally disintigrated, I'd still rather see a lot of small basketball sized to house sized chunks hit the earth in various places than a single mountain sized planet killer that no one had the cohones to even try to stop. Heck!, even if it is an asteriod, I say nuke it till it glows. I'd rather go down like Captain Ahab jabbing his harpoon in the great whale spitting in its eye all the way then to sit idly by waiting to die.

Nuclear weapons don't cause shockwaves in vacuums. Nukes primarily produce x-rays and in an atmosphere the air absorbs these x-rays and expands violently producing an overpressure wave and fireball. In space, these x-rays may vaporize the top layers of an asteroid or comet. If the device is placed inside the asteroid or comet then the vaporization of material creates a shockwave that could cause large mass displacements (blow it apart).

Tunga
2006-Mar-20, 05:31 PM
Although there is a current mindset against using nuclear weapons even against threatening asteroid/comet impactors, in the case of a large comet, that might be the only possible means of saving Earth. If a comet could be fractured into several pieces by an interior detonation, the energy of the sun might come into play in reducing the threat. Comet fragments exposed to sunlight would produce significant outgassing which would cause the fragments to separate into a string of pearls. The end result is that the leading smaller fragments might hit Earth but the trailing fragments would miss.

aurora
2006-Mar-20, 07:08 PM
Although there is a current mindset against using nuclear weapons even against threatening asteroid/comet impactors, in the case of a large comet, that might be the only possible means of saving Earth. If a comet could be fractured into several pieces by an interior detonation, the energy of the sun might come into play in reducing the threat. Comet fragments exposed to sunlight would produce significant outgassing which would cause the fragments to separate into a string of pearls. The end result is that the leading smaller fragments might hit Earth but the trailing fragments would miss.

Maybe, but maybe they would all hit (like Shoemaker Levy 9). Of course, Jupiter has a much larger gravity well than Earth, so maybe it would work?

Ara Pacis
2006-Mar-20, 07:23 PM
Maybe, but maybe they would all hit (like Shoemaker Levy 9). Of course, Jupiter has a much larger gravity well than Earth, so maybe it would work?
Jupiter also moves slower along its orbit than the earth because of its distance. Jupiter also has a larger diameter so a string of hits on Jupiter might be a string of near misses with earth.

Andromeda321
2006-Mar-22, 04:05 AM
Also the current theory is that Shoemaker-Levy 9 had been one comet when it was first captured into Jupiter's orbit, but tidal forces broke up the comet later on into chunks. These chunks would have still orbited Jupiter, whereas smashing up a comet about to hit us doesn't nessecarily mean the pieces will be caught in Earth's gravitational field.

jlhredshift
2006-Mar-22, 12:59 PM
Large impacts are rare. However, Shoemaker-Levy 9 was 12 years ago, Tunguska was less than a hundred years ago, and Meteor crater was about 50000 years ago. I think that we should focus our attention on the technological improvements necessary to become a type 2 civilization so that all our eggs are not in one basket, both location and governmental.