Rather worryingly, US space agency NASA has out of the blue issued a strident denial that an approaching comet poses any threat to planet Earth. "COMET ELENIN POSES NO THREAT TO EARTH," begins the NASA statement emailed to the Register. "Often, comets are portrayed as harbingers of gloom and doom in movies and on television, …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Cameron Colley

    Where do I sign up for a place in one of those nuclear bunkers?

    Nothing to do with the comet, it's not going to hit the earth, there's really nothing to worry about. Your call IS important to us...

    1. Ru

      The robot staff in our exclusive nuclear bunkers

      represent NO THREAT AT ALL to the delicate meatbags who will be residing there in the event of cometary apocalypse. Any rumours that our potential customers may have heard regarding unreliable aggression inhibitors and downgrading of the Asimov laws to mere voluntary guidelines are TOTALLY FALSE.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      What about the arks the government is building in China?

      Me... I'm heading to Yellowstone to hang out with Woody Harrelson.

    3. Marvin the Martian

      Bunkers? Stocks!

      I'll be investing quickly in life insurance companies' shares... Think of it, all policies will mature suddenly, and the holders will not be able to cash in --- hence MEGAPROFIT for the companies and hence the shareholders.

      I'll be LOADED, when we all go together.

  2. PartTimeLegend

    public void Title {

    Post = "We are all going to die!";


    1. Alister

      object reference not set to an instance of an object

      object Post not recognised

  3. BadmashJavawallah

    Will it look pretty?

    As someone cheated by Halley's comet back in the 80s it would be nice to have a big, visible comet. Just the once.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Cheated by Halley?

      Yeah, that did kinda' suck after all the hype -- kinda' like Kohoutek.

      Still, back in '94, Hale-Bopp was pretty sweet right about twilight in the eastern US for a while -- notwithstanding a bunch of idiot cultists who misunderstood the message "wait for the comment 'Hail Bob'!" and committed suicide..

      1. MacroRodent

        re: Cheated by Halley?

        I too was seriously disappointed by Kohoutek, and after Halley was so far I feared I will never see a big comet with my own eyes, so it was very nice that Hale-Bobb and Hyakutake (in 1996) came along. The latter was IMHO the more impressive of the 1990's comets, at least where I live.

    2. Winkypop Silver badge

      Cheated by Halley's?

      Not here in the southern hemisphere!

      On top of Falls Creek (ski resort) at 3am, HC was amazing...

    3. ridley

      Hale Bopp?

      So in early 1997 did you not go outside in the evening and look up?

      Seemed pretty damn visible to me, very very big too.

      Been several other naked eye visible ones since too, though non as impresive IMHO.


      1. Mike Flugennock

        waitaminnit... Hale-Bopp was in...

        ...1997? Damn, that's right; thanks for refreshing my memory. I also recall the press brouhaha over a cult that thought the appearance of Hale-Bopp was a signal that their alien overlord was coming to pick them up in his mothership, so they all committed suicide with Jello shooters.

        It was Shoemaker-Levy that crashed into Jupiter after being broken into fragments by Jupiter's gravity in '94; I remember some very spectacular HST images of that.


  4. Peter Labrow

    It's OK, I've already called Bruce Willis

    He's on it.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      He's on it?

      Christ, the roaming charges on that call must have been horrendous.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bruce Willis? Pah!

      Chuck Norris could deal with it without any wimpy space suit stuff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No no no non no...

        You got it all wrong...

        Bruce Willis does comets and shit....

        Chuck Norris does everything else.

        Vin Diesel?

        Vin Diesel could pwn all the lot of them, the comet included with his left little finger nail.

        Vin FTW, I tell you... I mean...

        Just look at the man...

        Just look at the man....

        When I grow up I wanna be a VIn Diesel

        1. TheRead

          Proof of his superiority!

          VIM Diesel, the superior editor.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I got a Berlingo

          Does that count as a Van Diesel?

          1. Francis Boyle

            I heard that Vin Diesel

            joined Greenpeace. He's now called Vin Photo-Voltaic.

  5. Monkey Bob

    Head for the hiiiiiiills!

    It won't help, but the view will be nicer.

    1. Mike Flugennock


      ...the view will be best from the ISS, if this view of a Perseid coming in is any indication... long as they aren't hit by a stray chunk.

  6. Tom 38

    Hasn't anyone seen Deep Impact?!

    This is precisely what they will say when one really is going to hit Earth!

    @Cameron, I can't decide - the problem with bunkers is they tend to be underground, which could be a problem with a mega-super-tsunami. Anyone up for a week's camping up Ben Nevis?

    1. Synonymous Howard

      comet E.L.E.N.I.N. ? Hmm

      Extinction Level Event - eNd Is Nigh !

      Did Frodo, I mean Leo, spot it first? I'm digging in to the mountain right now.

  7. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Careful observations

    NASA has made some careful observations to arrive at the conclusion that this comet poses no risk to the earth.

    Now, was that meters or feet?


    1. Anonymous Coward

      It is actually in Angstroms

      Sorry about the lack of accent mark on the 'A'.

      I was berated enough as a child for mispronouncing his name by a parent who attended some of his lectures.

      Anonymous to prevent further abuse.

  8. Jim Carter

    Aside from all that

    Will I be able to take nice, pretty photos of it?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      And you'll be able to enjoy said pictures for a whopping 5 minutes before impact!

      Oh wait, I meant bypass...

      Can we scratch this comment please?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i for one...

    ...welcome our planet-smashing, world-ending comet overlords...

    (but it has been a long day so i'd welcome anything that means i don't have to go through all this again tomorrow)

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Please remain calm...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    ELENIN - Extinction Level Event Now Imminent Naa-na-na-na-nah

    So, yes, who named it and why? And, if so insignificant, why do they not give press releases for astronauts turds on intercept (or non-intercept) trajectory?

    It wouldn't be so bad but there is little left to will just have to settle for mass orgy.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Comets are usually named...

      ...after their discoverer. Presumably a Dr* Elenin in this case.

      *Please select correct title from drop-down list.

  12. Chris Miller


    No-one in our local branch has been anywhere near planet Earth for decades.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      If it is anything like around here

      It will just leave the $3000 worth of packages just inside the glass front doors at 7am without a signature and we won't even see it.

      *never had a delivery from actual Commet, but multiple other couriers have done this to us. To quote our major supplier "they are in a world of their own".

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I, for one, welcome our new comet overlord


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The old "poses no threat" gambit

    I'm not falling for that.

    I never heard of it before, now they mention it, clearly we are going to die.

  15. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    joining the cover up... the comet will kill us all

    By adding to the cover up , your esteemed publication shows it has joined the new world order in suppressing the truth

    Must go now, seems the medication I take to control my paranoid delusions is wearing off

    Mines the one with the tin foil hat in the pocket

    1. Anonymous Coward

      In your coat pocket?

      You NEVER take your tin foil hat off man!

  16. NomNomNom

    read between the lines

    "Comet Elenin will make its closest approach to Earth on 16 October, at which point it will be 22 million miles away – more than 90 times as far off as the Moon."

    that means the moon is only 244444 miles away. What's the moon doing that close? Didn't NASA have to fly millions of miles in the 60s to land on the moon? This tallies with my personal observations that recently the moon is appearing a lot bigger in the sky than I remember as a kid. Of course it has to fall down eventually but surely not this year. Does the moon go up and down in a cycle? It's funny how NASA even mentioned the moon there when the story was about a comet noone even knows about. I recommend watching the astronomological news closely from here on in.

    1. Stoneshop


      A quick shufti with your favourite search engine would have told you that the moon is 356400 km to 406700 km from the earth (it wobbles a bit due to the cheese gases escaping in random directions) (that's 2577283 to 2941024 brontosauruses, 13137 to 14992 PARISes, or 221451 to 252706 miles).

      And for those moon landing images it was just a bit of driving to the Nevada desert, not hundreds of thousands of miles in some tin can on top of a huge rocket.

      1. Black Betty

        Oh come now. The lady isn't that loose.

        Oh, you meant the city. 17 miles of gusset coverage did seem a tad excessive.

      2. Jimbo 6


        Nobody uses silly units like miles any more - what's that in Linguine ?

        1. Stoneshop

          @Jimbo 6

          Linguine? C'mon, just convert from brontosauruses.

    2. Annihilator


      "that means the moon is only 244444 miles away"

      Erm, yes. That's about right. It's ~250,000 miles away at the furthest point. Apologies if there's some weird sarcasm going on in your post that I'm missing...

    3. CD001


      Isn't the moon actually moving away from the earth at a rate of something like 2cms a year? It's not going to fall down but slowly drift away...

  17. Martin

    Reminds me of the old Marty Feldman sketch...

    ...which starts with two bored airline pilots flying a plane; suddenly one of the reaches for the intercom and says "Ladies and Gentlemen - this is your captain speaking. There is absolutely nothing to worry about."

    1. conel
      Thumb Up

      The wings are not on fire!

      The Marty amok airline pilots sketch.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      Reminds me of the old Marty Feldman sketch...

      "...which starts with two bored airline pilots flying a plane; suddenly one of the reaches for the intercom and says "Ladies and Gentlemen - this is your captain speaking. There is absolutely nothing to worry about."

      Which, in turn, reminds me of an old Monty Python bit: "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard East Scottish Airways. There is no need to panic."

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Easy solution to the idiots panicing

    You can buy my special anti-comet elixir for only US$9999 - based upon homeopathic techniques, it has some cometary gasses (CN) to make you resistant to the effects of the comet.

    You can also buy a space in my special comet-proof bunker for only US$999999.

    Don't worry, the bunker is hermetically sealed so that no nasty comet gasses can get in.

    (fail for the idiots worrying about this....)

    1. LaeMing

      Best thing is

      after the commet goes past and they are not harmed, they can't claim it didn't work!

  19. Synja

    So... when should we start looting?

    I need a new ThinkPad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters


      a post like that could get you arrested.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is related to that big arrow on the face of Titan

    because obviously that's entirely innocuous as well

  21. Craig 28

    Bloody idiots

    I have to wonder if anyone is stupid enough to ask essentially "If it isn't a risk and it isn't important why aren't you talking about it more?"

    Because it isn't important enough to warrant the effort and there really isn't anything interesting to say you complete pillock.

    Some people are too stupid to deserve the internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      To misquote the head of the CBI "Half of the population are below average intelligence". This is the reason NASA also had to produce a disclaimer for the Mayan prediction of the end of the world in 2012

      "Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."

      Shame about the incredible population.

  22. Olafthemighty

    I need to know!

    Do we run _for_ the hills or away from them?

  23. Entropiated

    Don't eat it!

    *ignores NASA information totally* Looks like we're going to be covered in snow here soon. I'm from Canada, so it's no biggie for me. But I'd just like to remind those of us who aren't as familiar with this form of precipitation to avoid eating the yellow snow.

  24. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Altogether now....

    "Always look on the bright side of life!"

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't care if it hits or not

    I just want to see a really bright comet some point in my lifetime (possibly right at the end just before the impact). We're well overdue one to rival the beautiful comets of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      How old are you?

      Hale-Bopp was pretty damned impressive:

    2. LaeMing

      They generally look better

      side-on than end-on.

      Though because of the way the tail orients relative to the solar wind rather than behind the direction of travel, getting hit on its return loop might be rather interesting.

    3. Chris Miller
      Thumb Up

      Me too

      Though I well remember Bennett in 1970 as a spectacular naked eye object (West in 1976 was brighter, but not as well placed for viewing). Since then, they've mostly been fuzzy blobs - even through binoculars. We're overdue for a good one.

      But we should also remember that night skies were much darker before 20th century street lighting, and that we rely on "artists' impressions" for older comets.

  26. Havin_it


    Tell me, was the email subject line in caps? Bet it wasn't.

    Not loving the recent caps-friendly headline tendency, FWIW. What's wrong with an exclamation mark? Or are you finding this idiom necessary, lest the shouty headlines be confused with Ones! About! Yahoo!?

    Only a fraction less annoying than your love of <strike> tags that renders your headlines gibberish in most RSS readers.

    And just for the sake of adding something of value(?) while detracting, the redacted wordy answers are here:

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You INTENTIONALLY omitted this, from NASA's FAQ

    "So you've got a modest-sized icy dirtball that is getting no closer than 35 million kilometers (about 22 million miles)" said Yeomans. "It will have an immeasurably minuscule influence on our planet. By comparison, my subcompact automobile exerts a greater influence on the ocean's tides than comet Elenin ever will."

    That's HIS subcompact car, which he does not deny may be some DARPA developed doomsday tidal force and conspiracy theory generating subcompact. Now we understand the bailout of General Motors and Obama's directions to emphasize smaller cars. We're talking about a subcompact car that generates more tidal forces than one of the most worrying comets in decades!

    Maybe it is a Comet itself! Or a GALAXY!?!?! Or a Fit.

  28. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Comet e-Lenin?

    Well, there's a Red Alert!

  29. newtonslife

    Tickets to the bunker only £20k

    Im pleased to say i am inviting selected applicants to my personal bunker and a rock bottom price of only £20,000 per seat. We have to see photographs of the applicants beforehand and interviews will take place for these places. Preference with go to 19 year old blonde girls, applications on a clean £50 note to....

  30. Annihilator
    Paris Hilton

    Spleling* mistake in the headline


    Shirley if you're aiming to ape the panicked message, it should be spelt "DEFINATELY" or "DEFINIATELY"

    * Yes, that's deliberate

  31. Anonymous Coward


    ...Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs and Nickleback will drink some "special" Koolaid in preparation to go up to the mothership that is behind the comet?

    1. Gareth Gouldstone

      This one, you mean?

  32. Thomas 4

    You're all morons.

    NASA says there's absolutely nothing to worry about, so why the needlessly scaremongering article? THERE'S POSITIVELY DEFINITELY ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! *wink wink*

    <----carefully modelled computer simulation of WHAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

  33. John Dougald McCallum


    strange I read almost the same response to this visitation in Starynight news letter some days back they even stated that it wasent even Naburu that plannet destroying behemoth that has our number on it.Hmmm strange.

  34. Number6

    John Cleese

    Anyone else remember the pilot sketch:

    "This is your captain speaking. There is absolutely no cause for alarm" and then steadily downhill from there...

  35. me n u

    dying is highly underrated...

    ...everyone should try it at least once.

  36. Alan Firminger

    What NASA are really saying ...

    ... is give us more money.

  37. Gareth Gouldstone


    Extinction Level Event, Nasty Impact Near

  38. Steven Jones

    Aaiee! We're all going to die!

    True, but not all at the same time.

  39. Dropper

    I believe them

    You forgot to ask "If it hits the moon, will it act like a fancy pool shot and pocket the moon into the Pacific?"

    Then of course a nod to the others that have already stated this is precisely what they would say if the comet was definitely going to chew off a sizeable chunk of our planet. At least they didn't say "What comet? There's no comet on a direct collision course with the earth.."

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Another "Deep Impact" parallel?

    The first three letters of comet Elenin are "ELE". As anyone who has seen the fine piece of apparent future history that is Deep Impact can tell you, ELE stands for "extinction level event" occuring when a heavenly body (like, say, a comet) collides with Earth! Plus we have an African-American (who is unfortunately not Morgan Freeman) in the White House!!

    So, with this information in hand, I will bid you all adieu and retire to my mountain survival bunker, or maybe just the bar on the corner. In closing, let me say.....

    RUN!!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!! Anarchy!!! Anarchy!!!!!!!

  41. Colin Miller


    for the release is

  42. Anonymous Coward

    P.S.--If anyone sees Bruce Willis, tell him that NASA was asking for him

    But NASA told me to tell you to tell Bruce that its definitely not about the approaching comet, which is absolutely not going to hit Earth causing a 2000 foot high tsunami and enveloping the earth in a nuclear winter-inducing shroud of dust for the next 6 years--no sir-eee!!!

    In fact, NASA said that they don't even know why they mentioned the comet at all, and could they please have all my canned and dried foods for some kind of office party involving putting the world's leading scientists in a former salt mine, which I thought was kind of a strange request--but of course I gave them the food.

    Anyway, if anyone sees Bruce Willis....

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      Anyway, if anyone sees Bruce Willis...

      ...oh, wow, yeah, that's a helluvan idea; Bruce Willis actually played a retired astronaut in a movie once. He's just the guy they need.

      1. Nordrick Framelhammer
        Thumb Down

        No thanks.

        I would rather take Team Dædalus to a bunch of drillheads.

  43. LaeMing

    Time to board the B ark

    Mind those dirty telephones.

  44. AndrueC Silver badge

    I've read Lucifer's Hammer

    ..and apparently the key to survival is to cosy up to a senator with a stunning red haired daughter, support your local nuclear power station and avoid cannibalism.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


      That story was before Fukushima.

      We now know that US-designed 1st-generation nukes pop a gasket and croak at the slightest tremor.

  45. JamieL

    so Harold Camping is a few days out then...

    Here is Harold Camping's response from a press conference on Monday 23 May, 2011 at Family Radio headquarters, Oakland, California:

    "On May 21, this last weekend, this is where the spiritual aspect of it really comes through. God again brought judgment on the world. We didn't see any difference but God brought Judgment Day to bear upon the whole world. The whole world is under Judgment Day and it will continue right up until Oct. 21, 2011 and by that time the whole world will be destroyed,"

  46. Mike Flugennock

    Hey, laugh if you want...

    ...and I know _I_ am, but you wouldn't believe how the Drudge Report reacts to this stuff. It's flat-out comical -- sad, but comical. If a NEO is predicted to pass so much as a million miles from Earth, Drudge runs a 72 point bold ALL CAPS headline across the top of the page reading OH, MY GOD! IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR US! with a production still from "Deep Impact" and that stupid-assed animated spinning police light over it.

  47. John Savard

    Golden Opportunity

    Apparently, the minor, tiny, and obscure Comet Elenin was an opportunity for some people to spread panic, and fleece a crowd of worshipful followers. Hence the statement from NASA.

  48. Steven Roper

    I also remember seeing Halley's comet

    And realising there's not a lot left of it after all that ablation by the Sun. Hale-Bopp wasn't that much of a spectacle either - at least from Australia

    Two comets that have stood out here were Hyakutake (1996) and McNaught (2006). In fact McNaught was the most spectacular astronomical sight I've ever seen; like the famous Donati's Comet (1858), it had a huge, curved tail that spanned half the sky.

  49. Nordrick Framelhammer


    I though airlines has stopped flying those things long ago.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      Yep...didn't they have a nasty habit of hitting the earth?

  50. John Savard
    Black Helicopters

    Where is Dr. Hans Zarkov now that we need him?

    Clearly we have to send "Flash" Gordon, college polo player, to Comet Elenin, where he can overthrow its evil tyrant, and use the comet's radium-powered rockets to divert it from its collision course with Earth!

    I mean, that's what this is all about, isn't it?

    But since the comet is passing by in November 2011, it's clearly thirteen months too early for the end of the world... as any idiot can plainly see.

    1. CD001

      Dr. Flexi Jerkoff

      Good, there's oxygen on this planet.

    2. Arthur Jackson

      Gordons Alive !!!!


  51. 404
    Black Helicopters

    Thank God!

    I haven't even STARTED on my hobbit hole w/built-in geothermal power generation yet!

    <shakes fist at imaginary assembled reporters>


  52. Anonymous Coward

    Damned if you do and ........

    damned if you dont.

    Poor NASA, if they hadnt said anything about this comet, sooner or later people would start saying the LACK of news meant a cover-up and that it was going to hit us.

    If anyone wants me I will be sitting in a supertanker full of food and teenage girls over the deepest part of the Pacific ocean on that day... purely coincidental I assure you!!

  53. bugalugs

    I was worried about where elenin spelt backwards was taking us

    but I see they've left out an e and the nev needed to really crank the conspiracy chaps up

  54. Winkypop Silver badge

    Take away pizza

    Relax, it's just an intergalactic pizza delivery.

    I hope it's still hot.

  55. Anonymous Coward

    We DID have $15k to spend on comet avoidance...

    ... but we spent it on Legos instead.

  56. Is it me?

    out of the frying pan then

    Depending on where it hits, there's a good chance the tectonic shock would trigger the Yellowstone super volcano.

    Try the Canadian shield much more stable.

  57. stu 19

    22 million miles

    So, like, the same distance to the nearest open petrol station on a wet Tuesday at half eleven, when the tank is on red line.

    That seems pretty close to me !! But hey, I've only ever actually run out of petrol once... oh

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Aaiee! We're all going to die!"

    Obviously. But what has that got to do with comets?

  59. This post has been deleted by its author

  60. Anonymous Coward

    What if...

    Suppose the comet does hit the earth and we're all going to die. Who can I sue in the afterlife?

    OH NO, I start to sound like a American now....

  61. Gusty O'Windflap

    well I am a frood

    who really knows where his towel is, so I will be okay

  62. Wize

    Comet Elenin?

    Why do I have a song by Dexys Midnight Runners stuck in my head now.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      Cos your lysdexic? :P

  63. Ray 8

    No need to panic..

    until NASA report that it is decelerating..

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


      That was why Krugman was going on about whipping up a Space Aliens Menace to kickstart the economy through war spending.

      He knew it!

      I KNEW it!

      And the US doesn't have a Project Orion, a Space Shuttle fleet or a warehouse full of Gamma Ray Lasers to show them. We are gonna lose to four-legged Space Pizarro.

  64. Neil McDowell


    was the follow up to Mmm-Bopp????

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like