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Heavenly body gives Bush a close call
The Guardian ^ | Thursday February 26, 2004 | David Adam

Posted on 02/26/2004 2:42:23 PM PST by presidio9

January 14 could have been a bad day for George Bush. As the president was preparing to announce America's return to the moon in a speech at the headquarters of Nasa, he was almost asked to deliver a very different message: that the Earth could suffer a devastating asteroid strike within 24 hours. Astronomers have revealed that during a "nine-hour crisis" the night before Mr Bush's speech they believed there was a one in four chance an asteroid would hit the planet in 36 hours. Had it not been for a break in the clouds that allowed an amateur astronomer to give the all-clear, the scientists say they were on the verge of calling the White House.

"A preliminary analysis of the discovery data for this object yielded a possible impact with the Earth in less than two days' time," said David Morrison, an asteroid and comet impact hazard expert at Nasa's Ames Research Centre. "And if a possibility of an impact in two days existed, what should we do about notifying governments or the public?"

The scientists could only say they thought the 30-metre asteroid would strike somewhere in the northern hemisphere; at that size it would have exploded well before reaching the ground, though it could have killed thousands if it broke up over a big city.

The object - named 2004 AS1 - turned out to be around 500 metres across, and passed the Earth at a safe range of about 12m km: some 32 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.

Details of the events of January 13 were revealed this week by a veteran sky-watcher, Clark Chapman, at a planetary protection conference in California. He said the object had first been spotted in four grainy images taken by two automated telescopes set up to watch for asteroids in New Mexico. It had been impossible to calculate its orbit accurately from the images, but when the information was posted on the internet an amateur astronomer noticed the mystery object was predicted to get 40 times brighter by the same time the following day, bringing it six times closer to the Earth.

Astronomers confirmed that the asteroid could be on a collision course, but the telescopes that could see the relevant part of the sky were obscured by cloud.

Several hours after the scare began, an amateur astronomer, Brian Warner in Colorado, saw through a gap in the clouds and confirmed the area of sky was empty.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: annakournikova; asteroid; asteroids; astronomy; bushhaters; chickenlittle; heavenlybodies; meteor; neardeath; neardeathexperience; nearzotexperience; quacks; scientists; theskyisfalling; thisisseries
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1 posted on 02/26/2004 2:42:23 PM PST by presidio9
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To: presidio9
Whoa.

Half a klick wide.

2 posted on 02/26/2004 2:46:03 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Pre-empt the third murder attempt-- Pray for Terry Schiavo!)
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To: presidio9
>>...set up to watch for asteroids in New Mexico...<<

Shouldn't they be watching for asteroids in SPACE, not in New Mexico.

3 posted on 02/26/2004 2:46:10 PM PST by FReepaholic (Never Forget: www.september-11-videos.com)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Paging Bruce willis, Bruce willis, white courtesy phone...
4 posted on 02/26/2004 2:46:45 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Pre-empt the third murder attempt-- Pray for Terry Schiavo!)
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To: presidio9
Ooops...sorry....I thought this was a Salma Hayek thread.
5 posted on 02/26/2004 2:48:32 PM PST by 12B
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To: presidio9
Now, if they have a FO on Neptune, we could really be in for it when they adjust fire.
6 posted on 02/26/2004 2:48:40 PM PST by .cnI redruM (At the end of the day, information has finite value and may only come at a significant price.)
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To: presidio9
It kinda makes you wonder just what would Pres. Bush HAVE told us?? What's the plan for an asteroid hit?
7 posted on 02/26/2004 2:49:28 PM PST by bonfire
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To: presidio9
This one is almost a classic. "Asteroid Passes Near Earth. Blame George W. Bush."
8 posted on 02/26/2004 2:50:01 PM PST by .cnI redruM (At the end of the day, information has finite value and may only come at a significant price.)
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To: presidio9
"January 14 could have been a bad day for George Bush."

These boofers really are obsessed with Bush. Presumably, if an asteroid hit the earth, it would be a bad day for a lot of people other than George Bush, including dainty boy David Adam.
9 posted on 02/26/2004 2:50:08 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: presidio9
This one is almost a classic. "Asteroid Passes Near Earth. Blame George W. Bush."
10 posted on 02/26/2004 2:50:18 PM PST by .cnI redruM (At the end of the day, information has finite value and may only come at a significant price.)
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To: 12B

Was this more like what you were expecting?

11 posted on 02/26/2004 2:53:37 PM PST by presidio9 (FREE MARTHA)
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To: bonfire
"It kinda makes you wonder just what would Pres. Bush HAVE told us??"

You can be sure that whatever Bush did, in the aftermath (if there was an aftermath), the dainty boys would say Bush should have done the opposite. If he announced an impending asteroid hit, they'd say he unnecessarily frightened people in a situation where there was nothing anyone could do. If he failed to announce it, they'd say he denied people their "right to know."
12 posted on 02/26/2004 2:55:33 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: .cnI redruM
In today's Bush bashing climate, had this asteroid hit earth, sooner or later, the bashers would have been pointing fingers that he had known, and he should have warned Americans to go to the tornado cellers.
13 posted on 02/26/2004 2:55:43 PM PST by 3catsanadog (When anything goes, everything does.)
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To: Steve_Seattle
Presumably, if an asteroid hit the earth, it would be a bad day for a lot of people other than George Bush, including dainty boy David Adam.

This is how it would be reported:

Asteroid to Destroy Earth: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit


14 posted on 02/26/2004 2:56:04 PM PST by AreaMan
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To: presidio9
500 meters across

If I'm not mistaken, an asteroid anywhere near that size would have a devastating impact, much larger than any atomic weapon and possibly enough to kill millions and disrupt the earth's atmosphere for months or even years.
15 posted on 02/26/2004 2:59:30 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: AreaMan
Or Molly Ivins: "While a deadly asteroid hurtled towards earth, President Bush chose to spend his time pontificating about the evils of gay marriage."
16 posted on 02/26/2004 3:01:29 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: presidio9
Astronomers have revealed that during a "nine-hour crisis" the night before Mr Bush's speech they believed there was a one in four chance an asteroid would hit the planet in 36 hours. Had it not been for a break in the clouds that allowed an amateur astronomer to give the all-clear, the scientists say they were on the verge of calling the White House.

This sounds series.

Nothing that the astronomers did averted the asteroid. They were ready to go into full panic mode (A) over something which they had no control and (B) over something that they admittedly had incomplete information regarding.

17 posted on 02/26/2004 3:01:52 PM PST by weegee (Election 2004: Re-elect President Bush... Don't feed the trolls.)
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To: presidio9
Yes! That is the type of Heavenly Body I had in mind! ;-)
18 posted on 02/26/2004 3:02:22 PM PST by wjcsux (A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.)
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To: .cnI redruM
This one is almost a classic. "Asteroid Passes Near Earth. Blame George W. Bush."

You forgot: "Women and children most affected."

19 posted on 02/26/2004 3:03:19 PM PST by weegee (Election 2004: Re-elect President Bush... Don't feed the trolls.)
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To: weegee
You're right. I was phallocentric and Caucasoid in my bias during that last post.
20 posted on 02/26/2004 3:04:45 PM PST by .cnI redruM (At the end of the day, information has finite value and may only come at a significant price.)
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