Skip to comments.Collision Course: Europe Developing Asteroid Shield
Posted on 01/26/2012 3:56:00 PM PST by Olog-hai
Next week, the Earth's residents can once again play the popular game of "What if?" What if a hunk of cosmic rock is out there on a collision course with Earth? At the moment, an asteroid labeled "(433) Eros" is rushing toward our planet on a course that will bring it relatively close, at least on a cosmic scale.
On the one hand, the chunk of rockmeasuring 30 by 13 by 13 kilometers (19 by 8 by 8 miles)is approaching Earth closer than any asteroid of this size has for a long time. But on the other, it is currently following a circular path far beyond the moon's orbit.
Many people might shudder to think of these silent giants. But then they will go on about their daily business, forgetting all about (433) Eros and others. After all, in statistical terms, the chances of an asteroid that size hitting the Earth are still rather slim.
Nevertheless, there are still some people who remain focused on this threat. Among them are Alan Harris and his colleagues at a newly formed consortium working on behalf of the European Union to develop "mitigation" strategies against potential cosmic killers. Harris, a planetary scientist at the German Aerospace Center's Berlin-based Institute of Planetary Research, is leading the three-year NEOShield project, with "NEO" being the acronym for "near-Earth object."
In response to these worries, the European Commission recently decided to invest 4 million ($5.3 million) in the NEOShield project. An additional 1.8 million will come from scientific institutions and industry partners. Within three years' time, the experts hope to draw up a blueprint for a test mission. If it can find a financial backer, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), the mission could be launched as early as 2020.
(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...
This is not a waste of money. We should be spending billions, not millions, on the design/development/deployment of a technology to protect against asteroid hits.
If an asteroid comes our way, the billions we spent will be chump change compared to the trillions or quadrillions in damage we would avoid. If no asteroid comes our way we would have developed some interesting technology which might come in handy for a moon mission, mars mission, space mining, etc.
Don’t worry Barry will give them OUR money
“....an asteroid labeled “(433) Eros” is rushing toward our planet....”
Is its arrival time 12/21/2012?
How ironic — Eros is known to have a hard on for the general population.
An asteroid impact will happen at some point. Better to spend money on something like this than global warming.
Asteroids are the mothers of invention.
Tunguska size impacts are believed to happen at least every couple hundred years. Not a big deal in unpopulated early 1900s Siberia but a midwest impact today would be really bad.
Iran’s nuke ambitions are most likely more of a danger.
Sir Thomas More
A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt.
One of my favorite lines from the play.
I like eggs.
2002 VE68 currently is co-orbital with Venus, but 7000 years ago it may well have been co-orbital with Earth. That coincides with all sorts of interesting events recorded/reflected in ancient literature, as well as tables of orbital observations made in ancient Sumer.
The references on the net suggest it is both an Earth-crosser and a Mercury-grazer (over the long haul) suggesting that it has a somewhat unstable orbit that brings it into close proximity to all the inner planets.
That boosts the chance of a collision right through the roof!
I know we gain small temporary moons in unstable orbits pretty often.
To protect themselves from the falling Euro?
You would think most of them would want it over quickly so they can start over.
If an Eros-sized asteroid hits Earth there will be no human race to tax for damage repair. It would be pretty much a game-ender. Nearly all life on the planet would be annihilated. The Chicxulub asteroid thought to have killed off the dinosaurs was only about 8 miles in diameter. Eros is much bigger. It's only a matter of time and celestial mechanics until such an disaster occurs, and I agree preparations are needed.
A shield won’t help:
Technically its easy to prevent an asteroid impact. Its the money that gets us at this point. Given enough lead time, turning it a fraction of a degree or slowing it a by a few inches per hour is all it takes.
I personally think a gravitational tractor is the way to go.
I'm all in favor of recent budget increases for the Near Earth Object(NEO) tracking program. An estimated 10% of NEO's are currently unaccounted for. That's too big a margin for catastrophic error. We have the technology and brainpower to do much better.
Being clobbered by an asteroid again is a 100% certainty at some future time. So is so-called "climate change." The difference is we may be able to prevent an asteroid hit while climate change requires adaptation, not tax increases and international wealth redistribution.
...well they say that 'Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder'.