NASA: Due For Extinction Event

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Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid, Nasa scientist warns Scientist recommended Nasa build an interceptor rocket, with periodic testing, alongside an observer spacecraft to stop catastrophic fireballs from hitting us Large and potentially dangerous asteroids and comets are extremely rare, scientists said – ‘But on the other hand they are the extinction-level events.’ Alan Yuhas in San Francisco @alanyuhas Tuesday 13 December 2016 03.00 EST 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 [censored] 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. “If you look at the schedule for high-reliability spacecraft and launching them, it takes five years to launch a spacecraft. We had 22 months of total warning.” Nasa recently established a planetary defense office, and Nuth has recommended that the agency build an interceptor rocket to keep in storage, with periodic testing, alongside an observer spacecraft. Nuth said that Nasa could cut that five-year schedule in half, but that even reducing that schedule by a quarter would be “basically a hail-mary pass”. A rocket in storage and ready to launch within a year, however, “could mitigate the possibility of a sneaky asteroid coming in from a place that’s hard to observe, like from the sun”, he said. Nuth stressed that he and his co-authors do not speak for Nasa administrators, and that the mission would require a request to Congress and their approval. Nasa has discovered an estimated 90% or more of near-Earth objects larger than a kilometer, the size that could cause devastation on Earth. Smaller objects are still extremely dangerous, though, and Nasa has found 874 1km-wide asteroids among 1,748 “potentially hazardous asteroids”. Asteroids are darker and rockier than icy comets, and many fly within a band that stretches between Jupiter and Mars. 'A rocket in storage and ready to launch within a year ‘could mitigate the possibility of a sneaky asteroid coming in from a place that’s hard to observe, like from the sun’. Dr Cathy Plesko, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said there were two ways humans might deflect an asteroid: a nuclear warhead or a “kinetic impactor, which is basically a giant cannonball”. “Cannonball technology is actually very good technology, intercepting an object at high speed actually ends up being more effective than high explosives”. The calculations of a cannonball deflector would take far longer to refine, however, than the last-resort pyrotechnics of a nuclear bomb. To “blow it to smithereens”, Plesko said, would have dangerous side-effects, including shrapnel from the blast. “We are very carefully doing our homework before finals week,” Plesko said. “We don’t want to be doing our calculations before something is coming. We need to have this work done.” Part of the scientists’ concern is a lack of knowledge. “We don’t have a lot of data about what the insides of asteroids or comets look like,” she said, “but based on what we know about physics and rock and ice we can guess.” Galen Gisler, another Los Alamos scientist, said an asteroid or comet that escaped a deflection attempt would likely strike the ocean. But he said that while an asteroid smaller than 500ft in diameter would cause a spectacular splash, casting water thousands of feet into the sky, it would probably not cause a tsunami. But a rock that explodes near a populated shoreline, above the water or when it crashes into it, would still be “highly dangerous”, Gisler said, citing the damage caused by a 60ft-wide, 7,000-ton meteoroid that tore apart over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. Casting a blinding fireball across the sky, the meteoroid shattered windows for miles, injured more than 1,000 people across 55 miles of the rock’s path. For over a decade, Nasa and the National Nuclear Security Administration have worked together on studying asteroids. In October, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Nasa performed a simulation exercise of what might happen if a huge asteroid hit near Los Angeles. If a 330-foot asteroid hit southern California, they estimated, the explosion would level cities and kill tens of thousands. In 1908, a massive fireball, believed to be 50-100m wide, flattened hundreds of square miles of forest in Siberia, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska river. Windows were blown out more than 30 miles away, and witnesses reported burns on their skin and finding the charred remains of a herd of reindeer. Scientists calculate that the Tunguska event, as it’s called, was an explosion about 185 times stronger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. LINK
 
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Originally Posted By: gonefishing
Better start hoarding .22 LR!
Don't forget toilet paper and canned goods. That's how I plan to prepare for this event.
 

CT8

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Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
It likely won't happen in my remaining lifetime, so it's not something I'll spare a concern over.
Most morons don't realize they are closer to death every day they are alive. At 63 years of age I realize there is more rope behind me than in front of me. N.A.S.A. may want more funding ? What about the huge Earthquake? Volcano? the heart attack, plane/car/motorcycle/boat wreck? We also can slip walking down some stairs and hit the back of our head and that is the end. some disease would also put us down.
 
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Yeah, I attended a talk about this once. Basically you take the odds of it happening and the resulting damages it would cost such as valuing the life of an individual which is done all the time when it comes to car crashes and airplane crashes, once you divide it up, the risk/reward ratio isn't high enough. You're better off spending the money on higher risk projects like maybe preventing flooding or anything else.
 
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Originally Posted By: supton
Originally Posted By: gonefishing
Better start hoarding .22 LR!
Don't forget toilet paper and canned goods. That's how I plan to prepare for this event.
Better stock up on NAPA syn before this happens
 
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Originally Posted By: turtlevette
If there are extinction level events that often, how did man evolve from the amoeba?
The extinction events took out everything higher on the food chain. Then maybe there was a little divine intervention... UFO
 
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BIGGER CONCERNS: - San Andreas earthquake.... it's 20 years overdue. - Yellowstone supervolcano... it should go off soon. The ETA for an asteroid impact is well beyond our lifetimes, so we need not worry.
 
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Originally Posted By: turtlevette
If there are extinction level events that often, how did man evolve from the amoeba?
Because of the extinction events, each mass extinction event opened a window for animals suited for the new conditions to thrive. Smilodons (aka Sabre Toothed Tigers) came and went with the Ice Age cycles, Mankind rose from a handful struggling to survive into the largest (by biomass) large life form on the planet. Possibly we were only a prolonged drought or hard winter away from being another failed evolutionary path. Big brains is no guarantee of success it seems. Claud.
 
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Originally Posted By: Wolf359
Yeah, I attended a talk about this once. Basically you take the odds of it happening and the resulting damages it would cost such as valuing the life of an individual which is done all the time when it comes to car crashes and airplane crashes, once you divide it up, the risk/reward ratio isn't high enough. You're better off spending the money on higher risk projects like maybe preventing flooding or anything else.
People and things are valued pretty high these days, $200+ trillion globally for realestate alone. But even a large city is 10's of billions. So to have something that could deflect a city destroying size meteor, which costs a couple billion a year to run probably would be a net benefit anyways. The R&D for such heavy lift capacity could help us colonize our solar system atleast.
 
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Avoiding Apocalypse is something worth investing in, because that money would be worth nothing if we were all dead. That event in the Tungus was extraordinary. Good thing it happened in the middle of nowhere. If that were to happen over a major city, there would be no survivors. It's been a long time since a city just disappeared in an instant.
 
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Originally Posted By: Ihatetochangeoil
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Those who laugh at this expect us to believe we came from amoebas; or, goo to you by way of the zoo.
Quite so. When you have eliminated all but what you have evidence for, evolution is a given. The putative deity joke used to be the accepted truth back when most of us were wallowing in unenlightened ignorance. Claud.
 

Al

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Originally Posted By: CT8
Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
It likely won't happen in my remaining lifetime, so it's not something I'll spare a concern over.
Most morons don't realize they are closer to death every day they are alive. At 63 years of age I realize there is more rope behind me than in front of me. N.A.S.A. may want more funding ? What about the huge Earthquake? Volcano? the heart attack, plane/car/motorcycle/boat wreck? We also can slip walking down some stairs and hit the back of our head and that is the end. some disease would also put us down.
NASA has become a useless organization like all gov. Private sector has shown they can do things cheaper. And seriously what are the odds that a catastrophic meteorite will strike considering one has not happened in 60 million years..effectively zero!
 
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