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Thread: Earth-Killing Asteroids

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    Earth-Killing Asteroids

    Can we identify all possible earth killing asteroids? Having identified them, can we do something about it before we get annihilated?

    This week's cover of Newsweek has "Asteroids, they can be stopped but someone has to pay." It does cover what has been happening in this field and how now the UN has got involved.

    http://www.newsweek.com/2015/06/19/w...ay-341823.html

    That question was the main topic of that mid-April meeting held in a conference hall in Frascati, a pleasant suburb of Rome. The European Space Agency had invited astronomers, physicists, nuclear engineers and mathematicians to discuss the slim possibility of a space rock smashing into Earth and causing regional damage or maybe even the end of civilization. The goal was, as it has been for the last six Planetary Defense conferences, to share information about identifying asteroid threats and the methods for saving us all.

    The focus this year was on exploring whether nations would collaborate in the face of such a threat. Scientists today can tell us, with various degrees of certainty, that an object is on track to smash into the planet in, say, 200 years, and they believe we probably have the technology to stop it. But nobody knows how human beings could or would cooperate to face a global peril. And in an age when many politicians deny man-influenced climate change, can we even count on them to believe the asteroid hazard is real?

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    It does cover what has been happening in this field and how now the UN has got involved.
    Good article, but the UN has been involved before now. In fact they took it upon themselves to start to organize it nearly 2 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Good article, but the UN has been involved before now. In fact they took it upon themselves to start to organize it nearly 2 years ago.
    Your report says they plan to set up.... The Newsweek report says "After eight years of deliberating, a U.N. committee in March finally announced the creation of a global early-warning system to protect the planet from a potentially city-destroying, tsunami-causing or, worse, civilization-ending large space object. The planetary defenders tested the concept in mid-April by playing the war game in the suburbs of Rome. Their mission: Save the planet from an asteroid possibly four times the size of a football field. The science and policy they tested were so realistic that their online daily press releases had to be emblazoned with bright red boxes proclaiming, “Exercise. Exercise. Not a Real World Event.”

    But the date does not matter, but the process to do something is in place.

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    Even smaller asteroids are dangerous. A 50-meter asteroid can take out a town or small city if they were unfortunate to lie in their path. In fact from 2000 to 2013, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization detected a total of 26 multi-kiloton explosions—all caused by asteroid impacts. Fortunately all of them happened in remote places or over the oceans.

    A non-profit organization comprised of engineers and science entrepreneurs, is trying to increase awareness about the threats posed by these less domineering asteroids. They argue that because of their smaller size, the space rocks are harder to spot many years in advance, perhaps going undetected until just a few a short weeks before they crash. They call themselves Emergency Asteroid Defence Project (EADP) based out of Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Currently, the organization is raising money through IndieGogo to fund an emergency back up plan that could mitigate the threat posed by these smaller space rocks. The money they raise will go toward designing and building a spacecraft dubbed the Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle, or HAIV. Currently they are trying to raise US $200,000, to fund a research project, to figure out the various components needed for the spacecraft to carry out the mission. So far they have only managed to raise $6,500.

    Do not see much future for EADP as by their own estimates it would take $50 million total for the entire project. But they have planted a seed, that perhaps the UN body we talked about in above posts can carry out.

    http://www.popsci.com/spacecraft-com...moments-notice

    “A 30-meter-wide or 50-meter-wide asteroid is called a small town killer; it’s a disaster no question about that,” Dr. Bong Wie, a professor of engineering at Iowa State University, tells Popular Science. “A 50-meter asteroid can create a crater like Meteor Crater in Flagstaff. A 150-meter-wide asteroid is called 'city killer'… It can destroy a typical metropolitan area, with no guarantee in warning time.”

    From 2000 to 2013, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization detected a total of 26 multi-kiloton explosions—all caused by asteroid impacts. Luckily, Earth is a big place, so if these rocks didn’t explode high up in the atmosphere, they most likely struck ocean or an unoccupied area of land. Yet just two years ago, a 65-foot-wide meteor exploded not very far above the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia. Though no one died, the explosion was estimated to carry the energy of 500 kilotons of TNT, causing a powerful shockwave that shattered glass and injured hundreds of people. Damage costs were upwards of $33 million.

    The Chelyabinsk meteor could have been much worse if it had been just 100 feet wider. Yet if such a medium-sized asteroid were thought to be headed for a populated area, NASA would be ill equipped to handle it on a moment’s notice. In 2013, when asked how the space agency would deal with a theoretical asteroid headed for New York City, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden had a chilling response: “Pray.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Even smaller asteroids are dangerous. A 50-meter asteroid can take out a town or small city if they were unfortunate to lie in their path. ...
    There's a big difference between an Earth-killing asteroid and a city flattening asteroid. I'm hopeful that before the end of this century we *will* have track of every Earth crossing asteroid down to a few meters in diameter, but we aren't there now. I think we have identified every potential Earth-killing asteroid (there aren't any). Comets are another story. They should be very infrequent, but are harder to catalog.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    There's a big difference between an Earth-killing asteroid and a city flattening asteroid. I'm hopeful that before the end of this century we *will* have track of every Earth crossing asteroid down to a few meters in diameter, but we aren't there now. I think we have identified every potential Earth-killing asteroid (there aren't any). Comets are another story. They should be very infrequent, but are harder to catalog.
    Agreed but I put it in this thread as there is synergy in the work done to minimize the threat. Do not agree we have identified every potential Earth-killing asteroid. I believe there are many more out there. Remember a comet coming through asteroid belt could play billiards with them and deflect one directly to earth.

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    For those that are interested, here is a Guardian podcast titled "What threat do asteroids really pose to life on Earth?". The audio is 38 minutes long but only the first 29 minutes is devoted to the subject. Those taking part in the discussion are :-

    Guardian's Ian Sample who is joined down the line from Cambridge University by Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, and co-founder of the Centre for Study of Existential Risk. In the studio, is Clemens Rumpf from Southampton University who is a member of the EU's Stardust Research Network, which studies the space dust and asteroid situation. Also in the studio is Hannah Devlin, the Guardian's science correspondent.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/a...-earth-podcast

    On 30 June the Science Museum in London will host an Asteroid Day event, to increase awareness of the threat from asteroids, and what we should be doing to protect ourselves.

    Millions of asteroids have struck Earth in the past. The vast majority have been relatively small, equivalent to the impact of a typical hydrogen bomb. But a few have been much larger: in the 100m hydrogen bomb category, destroying much of life on the planet in short order.

    To discuss the threat we face from asteroids, and how we might protect life on Earth, are - see above.

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    New report from the USA talks about "New report explores threat from near-Earth asteroids".

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason...eo-threat.html

    A new report released today outlines the threat from nearby asteroids and whether or not we're prepared if we find one headed toward Earth.

    The report, issued by the White House's Office of Science and Technology, with support from with NASA and other government agencies, is formally called the "National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan." It says we're probably not in danger of going extinct from a dinosaur-killer-sized asteroid, but exposed to a lot more risk when it comes to smaller objects. The authors also said we need to improve our ability to quickly launch reconnaissance and deflection missions when potential threats are found.

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    Of course, any time two asteroids smack into each other--you have to start calculations all over, as to where the "splinters" go.

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    "How the coronavirus pandemic can help us prepare for an asteroid impact"

    https://www.space.com/asteroid-impac...c-lessons.html

    The emergency preparedness activities now underway to combat the coronavirus pandemic offer insight about our readiness to deal with a dangerous incoming asteroid, experts say.

    Humanity can learn some valuable lessons about planetary defense from the things that have gone right and wrong in the coronavirus fight, according to asteroid scientists and an authority on emergency preparedness.
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    NASA has delayed moving a proposed mission to search for near Earth objects into its next phase of development because of uncertainty about the budget that will be available for it.

    https://spacenews.com/nasa-postpones...ction-mission/
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    We're all gonna DIE!


    Eventually.

    I have a copy of Phil Plait's Death From The Skies, somewhere. I should try to find it.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I have a copy of Phil Plait's Death From The Skies, somewhere. I should try to find it.
    Enjoyed that book, though it is in need of an update now. New research all over.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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    It is a toss up between impacts and super volcanoes, maybe they link up? Smaller volcanoes can mess things up pretty well too. Eruptions are often followed by plagues. Reasons to be cheerful: er , thanks to science we get a few days warning.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    What Hollywood gets wrong, and right, about asteroids. "I would say the number one question I get when I tell people what I work on is 'Oh, like 'Armageddon?' '' And it's nothing like 'Armageddon,'" says Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Kirsten Howley, whose day job includes defending our planet from asteroids.

    https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/W...roids_999.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    What Hollywood gets wrong, and right, about asteroids. "I would say the number one question I get when I tell people what I work on is 'Oh, like 'Armageddon?' '' And it's nothing like 'Armageddon,'" says Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Kirsten Howley, whose day job includes defending our planet from asteroids.
    Keep up the good work, Kirsten! NO, SERIOUSLY.
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    In 2079, asteroid 1998 OR2 will be 3.5 times closer to Earth than this year, so it is important to know its exact orbit.

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    Did a comet kill the dinosaurs, and not an asteroid?

    Breakup of a Long-Period Comet as the Origin of the Dinosaur Extinction

    Amir Siraj, Abraham Loeb

    The origin of the Chicxulub impactor, which is attributed as the cause of the K/T mass extinction event, is an unsolved puzzle. The background impact rates of main-belt asteroids and long-period comets have been previously dismissed as being too low to explain the Chicxulub impact event. Here, we show that a fraction of long-period comets are tidally disrupted after passing close to the Sun, each producing a collection of smaller fragments that cross the orbit of Earth. This population could increase the impact rate of long-period comets capable of producing Chicxulub impact events by an order of magnitude. This new rate would be consistent with the age of the Chicxulub impact crater, thereby providing a satisfactory explanation for the origin of the impactor. Our hypothesis explains the composition of the largest confirmed impact crater in Earth's history as well as the largest one within the last million years. It predicts a larger proportion of impactors with carbonaceous chondritic compositions than would be expected from meteorite falls of main-belt asteroids.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2102.06785
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    NASA will delay the launch of a mission designed to test one technique for deflecting a potentially hazardous asteroid, although that delay won’t affect the spacecraft’s arrival at its target. NASA announced Feb. 17 that it will postpone the launch of its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission from its primary launch window of July 21 to Aug. 24 of this year to a backup window that opens Nov. 24 and runs to Feb. 15, 2022. The spacecraft will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

    https://spacenews.com/nasa-delays-la...fense-mission/
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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