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The looming threat of NEOs

Nova_CNova_C Social Justice HaruspexBeyond The WallRegistered User regular
edited November 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
More money for NEOs!

NEO = Near Earth Object, not some dude in sunglasses saying 'Whoa'.

So, someone in Congress is decrying NASA's lack of attention for NEOs because of the perceived threat. Am I the only one going O_o? I mean, the last major impact of an asteroid into the Earth was approximately 65 million years ago. For the people much more knowledgeable than I, is this a real threat to Earth, or, as I believe, is it simply paranoia of less than intelligent people brought on by movies like Armageddon?

Nova_C on
My blog: www.jonathanirons.net
My Twitter: IronBorealis
Be advised, I'm not the best at keeping either updated. >.>
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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Well, are we speaking world wide calamity type event or major oh my god boom type of event that in the wrong place would do serious damage event.

    Because this over a populated area is something it'd be ideal to spot and either try to divert or at least evacuate the projected impact area, for example.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • Grey GhostGrey Ghost Okay... This looks bad.Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99942_Apophis

    This is the NEO Apophis, which was the Greek name for the Egyptian serpent of eternal darkness. On Friday, April 13, 2029, it will pass so close to Earth that it will be within the orbits of geosynchronous communications satellites. If it passes through a small area known as a "gravitational keyhole", this will set it up for a collision with Earth on the same date 7 years later.

    Of course, the chances of it hitting the keyhole are pretty miniscule. But Bill Nye mentioned it when he was here and I thought it sounded cool.

    zw3k8eu.gif
    PSN: GrahamCR
  • Nova_CNova_C Social Justice Haruspex Beyond The WallRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I hadn't heard of the Tunguska event, but I knew of Apophis. My question is, is a 1 in 45,000 chance high enough that a significant amount of money should be spent on preventing it's unlikely impact with Earth?

    My blog: www.jonathanirons.net
    My Twitter: IronBorealis
    Be advised, I'm not the best at keeping either updated. >.>
    Kana
  • Casual EddyCasual Eddy Fighting the War on String Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I missed bill nye when he came to UNC

    I heard he's something of a cock.

    75trafim7bi2.png
  • FencingsaxFencingsax Bondage Discipline Spider-Man Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I hadn't heard of the Tunguska event, but I knew of Apophis. My question is, is a 1 in 45,000 chance high enough that a significant amount of money should be spent on preventing it's unlikely impact with Earth?
    It's not like anything practical can be done anyway.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • Grey GhostGrey Ghost Okay... This looks bad.Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I missed bill nye when he came to UNC

    I heard he's something of a cock.

    He seemed cool to me. Of course we're all Cocks here so we may not be the best ones to judge. :P

    zw3k8eu.gif
    PSN: GrahamCR
  • Casual EddyCasual Eddy Fighting the War on String Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Yeah I was under the impression that our nukes would either be unable to reach it or just scratch its surface.

    75trafim7bi2.png
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    There was a proposed plan to launch a massive pusher into space, reasoning that a slight nudge the first time around will avoid it coming through the keyhole at its second pass.

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • Grey GhostGrey Ghost Okay... This looks bad.Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Isn't one of the risks that a nuke would just cause it to break up so that we have a shitload of little ones instead of one big one?

    Edit: also, with all this talk of keyholes, I want to make a Keymaster/Gatekeeper joke but I just can't work it in.

    zw3k8eu.gif
    PSN: GrahamCR
  • Casual EddyCasual Eddy Fighting the War on String Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    There was a proposed plan to launch a massive pusher into space, reasoning that a slight nudge the first time around will avoid it coming through the keyhole at its second pass.

    I hope whoever does the job brings a back brace!

    Hey o!

    75trafim7bi2.png
  • ThomamelasThomamelas “Three films a day, three books a week and records of great music would be enough to make me happy to the day I die.” Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Isn't one of the risks that a nuke would just cause it to break up so that we have a shitload of little ones instead of one big one?

    Edit: also, with all this talk of keyholes, I want to make a Keymaster/Gatekeeper joke but I just can't work it in.

    Shit loads of little ones aren't a big deal. The atmosphere will burn up most of them and some minor property damage may happen. But it won't have a death toll in the tens of thousands to end of civilization as we know it range.

  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous WALK 3X FASTER New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'm fairly sure the whole point of launching a nuke at one would be to detonate it close enough that the explosion would give it a slight nudge off course.

    And not blowing it up.

    zaku.png
    Steam PSN: DerWaffleMous Origin: DerWaffleMous Bnet: WaffleMous#1483
  • Grey GhostGrey Ghost Okay... This looks bad.Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    If it came to pass that there was a huge, civilization-ending (or near that level) killer rock from space coming our way, and chances were really good that it was gonna impact the Earth, and we really had no practical way to destroy or redirect it:

    Whose responsibility is it to make that announcement? NASA? And would they even disclose the full extent of the threat? I can't imagine any sort of press conference where they would come right out and say that the thing was gonna impact and the death toll would be catastrophic.

    And if that was the case, what do you imagine the public reaction being? I'd hate to think that we would all resort to our bas instincts and start looting immediately. But the only other reaction I can think of would be like at the end of the 3 days in Majora's Mask where everybody cowers in their homes and shit. It's such a depressing concept, this idea of an asteroid impact.

    Sorry, whenever I hear about this sort of thing I start thinking about what I would do with my remaining time.

    zw3k8eu.gif
    PSN: GrahamCR
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'm on the second colony ship off this rock.
    (The first one will fail horribly)

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • ThomamelasThomamelas “Three films a day, three books a week and records of great music would be enough to make me happy to the day I die.” Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    If it came to pass that there was a huge, civilization-ending (or near that level) killer rock from space coming our way, and chances were really good that it was gonna impact the Earth, and we really had no practical way to destroy or redirect it:

    Whose responsibility is it to make that announcement? NASA? And would they even disclose the full extent of the threat? I can't imagine any sort of press conference where they would come right out and say that the thing was gonna impact and the death toll would be catastrophic.

    And if that was the case, what do you imagine the public reaction being? I'd hate to think that we would all resort to our bas instincts and start looting immediately. But the only other reaction I can think of would be like at the end of the cycle in Majora's Mask where everybody cowers in their homes and shit. It's such a depressing concept, this idea of an asteroid impact.

    Sorry, whenever I hear about this sort of thing I start thinking about what I would do with my remaining time.

    It would depend on who found the object and how they wanted to handle it. Some scientists might hold a press conference, some might go to Nasa.

  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    how about we spend money on not blowing up civilians in iraq first

    HOW DO YOU FUCK UP BAGELS. YOU BOIL THE WATER. PUT IN THE NOODLES
  • Grey GhostGrey Ghost Okay... This looks bad.Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Quit derailing this thread, Mike, blowing things up is the best possible use of our tax dollars, whether it be countries or asteroids. We can do both.

    zw3k8eu.gif
    PSN: GrahamCR
  • KazhiimKazhiim __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2007
    I'd imagine independant astronomers would start picking up on the DeathRock (TM) and start blogging about it. Or something.

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  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Quit derailing this thread, Mike, blowing things up is the best possible use of our tax dollars, whether it be countries or asteroids. We can do both.

    i likes the way you think

    MORE NUKES FOR EVERYBODY

    HOW DO YOU FUCK UP BAGELS. YOU BOIL THE WATER. PUT IN THE NOODLES
  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I hadn't heard of the Tunguska event, but I knew of Apophis. My question is, is a 1 in 45,000 chance high enough that a significant amount of money should be spent on preventing it's unlikely impact with Earth?
    It's not like anything practical can be done anyway.

    Actually, given how long there is to prepare, it is well within current technology to "do something about it". It does not take much energy to turn a near hit into a near miss. The earth moves a distance equal to its entire diameter every 7 minutes. You don't have to blow the thing up or move it at right angles to its path. Just a tiny adjustment to its course or speed would do it.

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I don't know how there's even a question of whether or not we need to prepare. Asteroid and comet impacts aren't some fluke, they're the order of business. Its not a matter of if, it's "When?" and "How bad?".

    Edit: Also "Which one?"

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    MKR wrote: »
    I don't know how there's even a question of whether or not we need to prepare. Asteroid and comet impacts aren't some fluke, they're the order of business. Its not a matter of if, it's "When?" and "How bad?".

    Edit: Also "Which one?"

    My favorite proposed solution to NEOs was to paint them white on one of their approaches and the solar wind would take care of the rest. I don't know how actually effective it would be. But it is certainly amusing and lazy.

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  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2007
    "We're talking about minimal expense compared to the cost of having to absorb this type of damage," Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said. "After all, it may be the entire planet that is destroyed!"

    Oh noes!

    Medopine wrote: »
    Fuck that woman going "oh god oh no!!"

    It's nature, bitch
  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2007
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I hadn't heard of the Tunguska event, but I knew of Apophis. My question is, is a 1 in 45,000 chance high enough that a significant amount of money should be spent on preventing it's unlikely impact with Earth?
    It's not like anything practical can be done anyway.

    Actually, given how long there is to prepare, it is well within current technology to "do something about it". It does not take much energy to turn a near hit into a near miss. The earth moves a distance equal to its entire diameter every 7 minutes. You don't have to blow the thing up or move it at right angles to its path. Just a tiny adjustment to its course or speed would do it.

    No no no, you have to send motherfucking Bruce Willis to drill a hole in it, duhhhh.

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    MKR wrote: »
    I don't know how there's even a question of whether or not we need to prepare. Asteroid and comet impacts aren't some fluke, they're the order of business. Its not a matter of if, it's "When?" and "How bad?".

    Edit: Also "Which one?"

    My favorite proposed solution to NEOs was to paint them white on one of their approaches and the solar wind would take care of the rest. I don't know how actually effective it would be. But it is certainly amusing and lazy.

    That would work if we had a few decades to prepare, and it wasn't rotating. :P

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    We could summon an elder god?

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • redxredx East Bumblefuck, PARegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    any sort of spending on finding NEOs is going to help develop stuff for automatically detecting and cataloging small celestial bodies.

    I'm ok with that, because it will probably lead to some developments that might be worthwhile. There are better ways to spend the money, but it's not really that much money, and there are far worse ways to spend it.

    All I've got is a snuggle hammer.
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    MKR wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    I don't know how there's even a question of whether or not we need to prepare. Asteroid and comet impacts aren't some fluke, they're the order of business. Its not a matter of if, it's "When?" and "How bad?".

    Edit: Also "Which one?"

    My favorite proposed solution to NEOs was to paint them white on one of their approaches and the solar wind would take care of the rest. I don't know how actually effective it would be. But it is certainly amusing and lazy.

    That would work if we had a few decades to prepare, and it wasn't rotating. :P

    That's why you paint the whole damn thing white. The Sun just keeps pushing it away. But yeah. It is definitely a plan that takes a while to come to fruition.

    steam_sig.png
  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    We're already finding smaller and smaller planets, moving closer to finding Earth 2.0. We'll either prevent a collision, or find a place to go while the dust settles. :P

  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    There's a whole host of useful technologies in detecting NEOs. These include some that can be used in many fields like data analysis. EG: Your detectors have just dumped 4 terabits of data about stuff up there. So how do you figure out if there is anything useful?

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Any technology to automatically catalog near earth objects has applications in tracking orbital debris fields as well, which are a very present problem which we really do need to solve with increasing reliance on satellite technology.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2007
    Um. Wouldn't the amount of money to comprehensively track NEOs be trivial?

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    Um. Wouldn't the amount of money to comprehensively track NEOs be trivial?

    The priorities of committees aren't supposed to make sense!

  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    Um. Wouldn't the amount of money to comprehensively track NEOs be trivial?

    Trivial relative to what?

    Amount of money wasted on Iraq? Probably.

    Current education budget? Probably not.

    Medopine wrote: »
    Fuck that woman going "oh god oh no!!"

    It's nature, bitch
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Current education ain't going to be worth shit if we get smacked with a big fucking rock.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
    Thomas-Vail.png
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Tracking NEO's I'd rank as pretty damn important, in a sort of "wow are you going to feel stupid if we don't even see it coming"

  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2007
    Current education ain't going to be worth shit if we get smacked with a big fucking rock.

    Look, the thing is, even if we see the thing coming, we don't have any feasible technology to stop it from hitting us anyway.

    The chances of a big rock hitting Earth and causing global calamity are incredibly low to the point of "virtually non-existent". The worst case scenario that has any meaningful possibility of happening is a local disaster, as in the case of Apophis. In such a case, I don't see why our money should not be spent toward averting other local disasters, such as floods, storms, or even things like epidemics. Proactively trying to prevent such disasters not only costs much less, it saves more lives (because such disasters occur on a much more frequent basis than killer meteors), it is also actually feasible.

    Medopine wrote: »
    Fuck that woman going "oh god oh no!!"

    It's nature, bitch
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Well yeah, if you ignore the very real issues closer to home that the technology solves - namely, the tracking of orbital debris to prevent collisions and destruction of vital satellite infrastructure.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I hadn't heard of the Tunguska event, but I knew of Apophis. My question is, is a 1 in 45,000 chance high enough that a significant amount of money should be spent on preventing it's unlikely impact with Earth?
    Calculate an estimate of the amount of damage such an asteroid would do (make sure you include damage caused to future economic output). Divide that amount by 45,000. That's how much you should be spending on preventing it.

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I hadn't heard of the Tunguska event, but I knew of Apophis. My question is, is a 1 in 45,000 chance high enough that a significant amount of money should be spent on preventing it's unlikely impact with Earth?
    Calculate an estimate of the amount of damage such an asteroid would do (make sure you include damage caused to future economic output). Divide that amount by 45,000. That's how much you should be spending on preventing it.
    The thing is, Tunguska isn't really the worrying thing. The worrying thing would be the much larger ones where an asteroid wipes out a couple dozen coastal cities, asian tsunami style.

    And last I checked, we're working pretty hard to get a warning system setup since that one happened.

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