Thursday, December 18, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is ... A Killer Asteroid?

This should do well for the economy, at least the retailers.

It may prompt a mad, last-minute stampede, for that one-more Xmas gift, Tinfoil Hats, for those in-the-know.

What's to know?

Forget the economy: Killer asteroids could pose real danger

For example, astronomers had only 24 hours' notice of a small asteroid that blew up over northern Africa on Oct. 7. A larger, more dangerous object presumably would be spotted years or decades ahead, giving humans time to change its course before it hit.


The year 2029 could be crucial. When Apophis makes its first pass by Earth, its track can be more precisely determined. That will enable astronomers to judge whether Earth will escape with a near miss or will have to take swift action to avoid a blow that could devastate a region as large as Europe or the Eastern United States.

To deflect an asteroid, scientists need to know its shape, weight and composition. A ball of loose rubble would be handled differently from a solid metallic rock.

"Finding them is one thing, but you have to know your enemy,'' said James Green, the director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

So far, NASA has spent $41 million on asteroid detection and deflection, but the Near Earth Object Program is running out of money.

"It's just barely hanging on,'' Shapiro said.
Hmmm ...

I wonder if those Southern Senators will block funding on this, perhaps demanding concessions from the asteroids, making sure it is non-union scientists and astrologers that's getting the work.

If so, we, perhaps, know where to place the gigantic "X-marks-the-spot", to assist the forces-that-be to pinpoint the location of where Apophis, or any other asteroid, can make a impactful landing.

Bonus Deep Outer Space Riffs

Jay McDonough: Apophis: don't make any big plans for Easter Sunday, 2036

Top Ten Cloves: Things About The Rocket Scientists' Party, Yuri Night

There's Sucker's Born Every Minute ...

Top Ten Cloves: Things About U.S. Plans to Shoot Down Broken Spy Satellite

Top Ten Cloves: Ways To Tell The Shuttle Astronauts Are Drunk

Top Ten Cloves: Other Things That NASA's Cassini May Find On Saturn's Moon Enceladus

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