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Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:29 am
by Peter1469
Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

I have mentioned this many times before here and elsewhere. We are just lucky that we have not been hit with another large piece of space rock. We have the technology to get better at detection and avoidance and we should spend the money on it. Anyway, the technology benefits will be huge. Look the Apollo Program was- economists say that was a 26:1 dollar for dollar gain.

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Humans are woefully unprepared for a surprise asteroid or comet, a Nasa scientist warned on Monday, at a presentation with nuclear scientists into how humans might deflect cosmic dangers hurtling toward Earth.

“The biggest problem, basically, is there’s not a hell of a lot we can do about it at the moment,” said Dr Joseph Nuth, a researcher with Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Speaking at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union, Nuth noted that large and potentially dangerous asteroids and comets are extremely rare, compared to the small objects that occasionally explode in Earth’s sky or strike its surface. “But on the other hand they are the extinction-level events, things like dinosaur killers, they’re 50 to 60 million years apart, essentially. You could say, of course, we’re due, but it’s a random course at that point.”

Comets follow distant paths from Earth but sometimes get knocked into the neighborhood. Nuth said that the Earth had “a close encounter” in 1996, when an aberrant comet flew into Jupiter, and then again in 2014, when a comet passed “within cosmic spitting distance of Mars”. That second comet was only discovered 22 months before its brush with a planet: not nearly enough time to launch a deflection mission, had it been on a course for Earth.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:20 pm
by Don
Changes in the climate we can adapt to. There is no adapting to a collision with a comet or asteroid. If we are lucky we might rise from the ruins. This should be a top priority.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:26 pm
by Peter1469
Very true. The article mentions it would take 5 years to build a craft reliable enough for a deflection mission. A recent close call- we only had 22 months.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:19 pm
by Don
We also need to keep pushing space exploration and developing technology that allows us to live someplace besides this planet. It could be destroyed with or without technology to divert threats. The cosmos is full of danger. We need to spread out.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:18 pm
by Peter1469
Absolutely. You don't want all of your eggs in one basket.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:44 pm
by Archer
Every species has a life span as does each person. I think when it is our time we need to accept it.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:16 pm
by Peter1469
But we have the ability to move out into the solar system and in time beyond it.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:02 am
by Don
Our ability for critical thought has already given us the ability to live longer lives. We will keep pushing that limit in the future. We aren't bound by natures laws like animals are. Unless something kills this planet before we can leave it we will spread beyond this earth. We already have in a limited way. Even if the speed of light turns out to be a barrier we can't exceed we will still travel beyond this solar system. Even if the universe itself has an end we have billions of years to figure out a way to live beyond it. I don't think anything is impossible.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:19 am
by Peter1469
I agree. It will be similar to the European Age of Exploration. Just in space.

Re: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:55 am
by Archer
Don wrote:Our ability for critical thought has already given us the ability to live longer lives. We will keep pushing that limit in the future. We aren't bound by natures laws like animals are. Unless something kills this planet before we can leave it we will spread beyond this earth. We already have in a limited way. Even if the speed of light turns out to be a barrier we can't exceed we will still travel beyond this solar system. Even if the universe itself has an end we have billions of years to figure out a way to live beyond it. I don't think anything is impossible.


At what cost? Saving the planet, sure! People living for 120 years is another thing. Start taking drugs in their 30s-50s and continue it for 70-90 years? Making our children pay for it?

People have an expiration date!