Skip to comments.Asteroid attack: Putting Earth's defences to the test (Air Force runs "72hrs Warning" scenario)
Posted on 09/24/2009 8:05:16 AM PDT by presidio9
IT LOOKS inconsequential enough, the faint little spot moving leisurely across the sky. The mountain-top telescope that just detected it is taking it very seriously, though. It is an asteroid, one never seen before. Rapid-survey telescopes discover thousands of asteroids every year, but there's something very particular about this one. The telescope's software decides to wake several human astronomers with a text message they hoped they would never receive. The asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. It is the size of a skyscraper and it's big enough to raze a city to the ground. Oh, and it will be here in three days.
Far-fetched it might seem, but this scenario is all too plausible. Certainly it is realistic enough that the US air force recently brought together scientists, military officers and emergency-response officials for the first time to assess the nation's ability to cope, should it come to pass.
They were asked to imagine how their respective organisations would respond to a mythical asteroid called Innoculatus striking the Earth after just three days' warning. The asteroid consisted of two parts: a pile of rubble 270 metres across which was destined to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa, and a 50-metre-wide rock heading, in true Hollywood style, directly for Washington DC.
The exercise, which took place in December 2008, exposed the chilling dangers asteroids pose. Not only is there no plan for what to do when an asteroid hits, but our early-warning systems - which could make the difference between life and death - are woefully inadequate. The meeting provided just the wake-up call organiser Peter Garreston had hoped to create. He has long been concerned about the threat of an impact. "As a taxpayer,
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
by Larry Niven
We are domed!
Except that Hamner-Brown was a comet, not an asteroid. Comets are usually much bigger, and more likely to throw debris into the atmosphere. A land-striking nickel-iron asteroid, up to 100-200 meters, would make a heckuva hole, but nothing like a comet strike. Hitting the ocean, on the other hand, would probably be the same for a comet or asteroid. Now, a bigger asteroid, like 500 meters or more, and it’s game over.
Also Bush's fault.
“asteroid consisted of two parts: a pile of rubble 270 metres across “
Should the pile of rubble be asteroids, maybe? At a certain point it won’t matter if you are any where near the impact , of course.
Damn, I didn’t see your post before I posted mine. Oh well, great minds.....
A fantastic trip - everyone should see this - enjoy
“And the disciples said to Jesus, ‘Tell us how our end will be.’
And Jesus said, ‘Have you discovered the beginning that you should inquire of the end? For where the beginning is, there shall be the end.’” —Gospel of Thomas
WOMEN, MINORITIES HARDEST HIT
in real terms 500 meters is small yet it would doom us. And it might be much larger. They need a real plan to intercept these things and change the trajectory.
I'd say that's an infinitely wiser investment than Cash for Clunkers.
Great book. IIRC Niven did it alone and not in concert with Gerry Pournelle. They worked wonderfully together on many books, espeially Footfall.
"We need GREYHOUNDS damn it!"
this is hugh and series..........
HEY!!!!!! i remember this game....
50-metre-wide rock heading, in true Hollywood style, directly for Washington DC.
Works for me....
Well, you got a higher score anyway...
bruce willis could....lol...
Unlikely anyone would survive, and the survivors would no doubt consider themselves the big losers.
You need eight or nine smallish rocks. (Tunguska was only 100 years ago!) (There's along way between SFO, LA, DC, Detroit, NYC, Boston, Miami, and West CT. 8<)
/sarchasm = the gaping whole between a democrat and reality.
Hammer was coauthored by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.
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