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Asteroid attack: Putting Earth's defences to the test (Air Force runs "72hrs Warning" scenario)
New Scientist ^ | 23 September 2009 | David Shiga

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 ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Government; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: asteroids

1 posted on 09/24/2009 8:05:16 AM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9

“Lucifers Hammer”

by Larry Niven


2 posted on 09/24/2009 8:06:41 AM PDT by dynachrome (I am Jim Thompson!)
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To: dynachrome

Great book.


3 posted on 09/24/2009 8:09:18 AM PDT by DCBryan1 ( Arm Pilots&Teachers. Build the Wall. Export Illegals. Profile Muslims. Execute child molesters RFN!)
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To: presidio9; jenbean

We are domed!


4 posted on 09/24/2009 8:09:33 AM PDT by DCBryan1 ( Arm Pilots&Teachers. Build the Wall. Export Illegals. Profile Muslims. Execute child molesters RFN!)
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To: dynachrome

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.


5 posted on 09/24/2009 8:10:10 AM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: DCBryan1

6 posted on 09/24/2009 8:11:01 AM PDT by presidio9 ("Don't shoot. Let 'em burn.")
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To: presidio9
Actually the procedure for what to do if you detect a massive asteroid on collision course with the Earth with only 72 hours warning is well established.

(1) Place head firmly between legs.
(2) Kiss your @ss goodbye.

No a year or two worth of warning we might have a chance. Given a decade we could definitely do something. But 72 hours, bah. You couldn't even fuel and launch a shuttle in 72 hours.
7 posted on 09/24/2009 8:11:13 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world, and they are all out to get me.)
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To: presidio9
Women and minorities hurt worse!!!

Also Bush's fault.

8 posted on 09/24/2009 8:14:47 AM PDT by Springman (Rest In Peace YaYa123)
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To: presidio9

9 posted on 09/24/2009 8:15:43 AM PDT by Right Brother
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To: Little Pig

“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.


10 posted on 09/24/2009 8:16:05 AM PDT by dynachrome (I am Jim Thompson!)
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To: presidio9

Damn, I didn’t see your post before I posted mine. Oh well, great minds.....


11 posted on 09/24/2009 8:17:10 AM PDT by Right Brother
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To: Little Pig
Now, a bigger asteroid, like 500 meters or more, and it’s game over.

No we could probably take a hit by a half kilometer job. It would mess the place up quite a bit, but it wouldn't be a species ender. It wouldn't even mess up the climate for more than a very short period of time.

The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event (AKA T-Rex be gone) was estimated to be over 10km. And even that didn't kill off everything. The dinosaurs died out, but they didn't have canned food. It won't be pleasant and you would probably loose 90% of humanity if we took a hit from another 10km object today. But that would still have 600,000 humans around to repopulate the planet.
12 posted on 09/24/2009 8:20:47 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world, and they are all out to get me.)
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To: presidio9

A fantastic trip - everyone should see this - enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yV-7dL0juc


13 posted on 09/24/2009 8:24:39 AM PDT by sunny48
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To: presidio9

“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


14 posted on 09/24/2009 8:28:40 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: presidio9
ASTEROID SLAMS EARTH
_______________________________

WOMEN, MINORITIES HARDEST HIT


15 posted on 09/24/2009 8:36:42 AM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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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.


16 posted on 09/24/2009 8:37:40 AM PDT by Williams
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To: presidio9
A dedicated space telescope would fix this problem, (early warning) but such a mission could cost more than a billion dollars.

I'd say that's an infinitely wiser investment than Cash for Clunkers.

17 posted on 09/24/2009 8:44:17 AM PDT by Ditto
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To: dynachrome

Great book. IIRC Niven did it alone and not in concert with Gerry Pournelle. They worked wonderfully together on many books, espeially Footfall.


18 posted on 09/24/2009 8:46:41 AM PDT by xkaydet65
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To: presidio9
"With a three-day warning, you can walk away and be safe. But it scares me, given how poorly we've handled things of this nature in the past," he says, citing the failure to fully evacuate New Orleans ahead of hurricane Katrina in 2005."

"We need GREYHOUNDS damn it!"

19 posted on 09/24/2009 8:47:35 AM PDT by Jaxter (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum.)
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To: DCBryan1

this is hugh and series..........


20 posted on 09/24/2009 8:49:41 AM PDT by joe fonebone (I am racist, hear me roar....I don't give a crap anymore....)
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To: presidio9

HEY!!!!!! i remember this game....


21 posted on 09/24/2009 8:50:08 AM PDT by joe fonebone (I am racist, hear me roar....I don't give a crap anymore....)
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To: presidio9

50-metre-wide rock heading, in true Hollywood style, directly for Washington DC.

Works for me....


22 posted on 09/24/2009 8:56:41 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Right Brother

Well, you got a higher score anyway...


23 posted on 09/24/2009 9:04:23 AM PDT by presidio9 ("Don't shoot. Let 'em burn.")
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To: GonzoGOP

bruce willis could....lol...


24 posted on 09/24/2009 9:07:14 AM PDT by tatsinfla
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To: GonzoGOP

Unlikely anyone would survive, and the survivors would no doubt consider themselves the big losers.


25 posted on 09/24/2009 9:08:52 AM PDT by dragnet2
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To: neverdem; sionnsar; Buckeye McFrog
50-metre-wide rock heading, in true Hollywood style, directly for Washington DC.

Nope. 8<)

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.

26 posted on 09/24/2009 9:09:03 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: xkaydet65

Hammer was coauthored by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.


27 posted on 09/24/2009 9:38:41 AM PDT by Rifleman
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To: KevinDavis

Space PING!!!


28 posted on 09/24/2009 10:41:01 AM PDT by Thunder90 (Fighting for truth and the American way... http://citizensfortruthandtheamericanway.blogspot.com/)
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