... what kind of damage could a 140 metre wide asteroid do if it struck Earth?
Top space boffins are keeping a close eye on an asteroid that could collide with Earth in 2040. Orbiting rock 2011 AG5 is about 140 metres wide and could come close enough to spur on a crack team of drill-wielding heroes to save the world. The Scientific and Technical subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the …
Depends on what it's made of, how fast it's going and what angle it hits at. But to give you some perspective, here's what happens when a 50-metre nickel-iron meteor hits:
Not so bad if it touches down in the middle of nowhere, not so great if it happens in the middle of your road.
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"Former Apollo astronaut and NEO specialist Rusty Schweickart, representing the Association of Space Explorers"
Sadly I have a feeling their numbers will be dwindling in the coming decades... I can see earth, in 2039, people screaming in the streets, looking to the sky and wailing "Association of space Exlporers, where are you?" Before some terrific voice yells out "Explorers...... UNITE!" followed by a montage and associated music, with a few men in their eighties zimmerframing their way to the nearest bus stop.
On a more serious note, is it wrong to hope that there will be a collision just to see what happens? The rate of "OMG ASTEROID" headlines is only increasing, it's going to be a massive anticlimax if nothing ever happens. El Reg needs a collision or two to get the strike rate up.
I think we're all beginning to lose sight of the real issue here, which is: what are we going to call ourselves? I say it's time to start the Campaign for Lessening Impact To us Of Rocks In Space.
I'll get some t-shirts printed up, someone go down to the ammunition stores, get the nuclear warheads and then strap one to Bruce Willis's head, he can nut the smegger to oblivion.
"NASA has said that options include deflecting the asteroid by attaching a probe to it and using the extra gravity this would create to steer it away from Earth over the course of millions of light years."
Well that's alright then - I was worried there.
So do they mean it's many years away (time), many light years away (distance), or the course will be deflected by (whatever unit they really mean) I wonder?
I'm stopping now, thinking down at that level makes my head hurt.
Almost anything. You would have to do a galactic risk assessment study first.
And remember Asteroids Have Rights Too, You Know.
The final nail in the coffin would be of course when some wiped out nutter with a telescope discovers the face of Jesus on the bright side..
It has been calculated that the Tunguska event could have been caused by an asteroid with a diameter of 60 Metres with solid composition. So, depending on its composition it could cause a lot of damage but not capable of wiping out the planet.
Unless the Tunguska event was caused by something far more exotic, like a black hole or UFO
For something this size it will probably have a yield of between 100 to 1000 megatons, a 3km crater and a land impact would destroy a large urban area (e.g. New York/Tokyo/London).
Of course the chances of it hitting a major population zone are slim, a more likely oceanic impact would create a sizeable tsunami that, depending on its location, could affect a considerable number of people.
so, they're expecting people to get their acts together and deflect this thing sometime next year?
is there any chance that such a timeframe is remotely possible? i suspect the kind of organisations that need to be involved in causing this asteroid to swerve take more than a year to plan their agendas, let alone actually come to a decision, develop and deploy a solution.
And, what if they get it wrong? Sure, they deflect it away from the keyhole zone next year, only to find that the new orbit means certain collision in 2023.
So around 12 years.
But then we have to consider the anti-asteroid lobby who will point holes in any data discrepancy and state that the asteroid's future orbit is just a model and that any action to rectify the problem will ruin the world economy.
And as any fule know, the world economy is more important than the world itself!
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140 meters - it is big enough to warrant intervention, but small enough that we can try various things - including a nuke - to deflect/destroy it.
A nuke, or other destruction type attempt wont be such a bad thing - at 140 meters - it will break up into smaller pieces all having the same (sum total) kinetic energy of the whole, but even the biggest piece would likely burn up, or only cause minor damage.
of course if we manage to deflect it that would be best from a 'lets see if we can do this, for when a bigger one comes along' point of view.
And since it seems that US has taken it upon themselves to impose their laws world wide, then by al means it should the US that does this.
now - back to reality programming....
the UN will take this matter up, and by around the year 2050 have come up with a solution that will make everyone (and no one) happy, with an expected implementation time of about 10 years. In the mean time, the rock will have hit, set off a good sized tsunami, and wiped 200-300 million people from the world.
"Consider the fleas on the cat. They neither work nor toil for to sup blood. Yeh verily even the cat scoffs Whiskas to provide its blood to the fleas and all at no cost to itself, purr purr. Then ask yourselves 'Why should God interrupt that which he has created by tossing rocks at it ?' Be calm, be pure, tweet via your iPhone.. all is well.
I sat and thought about it for a bit, and decided the idea of a meteor hitting Earth with sufficient force to eradicate most human life would not bother me that much, there's little to recommend us.
Just consider the upsides:
1) Petty political bickering - gone
2) Keith Vaz - gone
3) US patent office - gone
4) Syco - gone
5) Reality TV - gone
6) No more taxes to pay
7) CCTV cameras - eradicated
8) Famine - gone
9) Small yappy aggressive dogs - silenced
10) No more existing to work
i hope they are going to tag this rock , develop and deploy longer term HD telescopic remote operated cams and related items to monitor and take advantage if its trajectory while its available to us locally, might as well take advantage of it to take more space readings before we try to get rid of it.
as others point out, there's no need to panic, the dolphins haven't thanked us for ll the fish yet so it fine your not going to evaporate into a whiff of hydrogen, ozone, and carbon monoxide just yet,.
and we could always put in a formal request to the Vogon constructor fleet to sort it out , and if that fails dont forget to bring back a round of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters and a few copy's of Oolon Colluphid’s trilogy pocket editions of philosophical blockbusters: ‘Where God Went Wrong’, ‘Some More Of God's Greatest Mistakes’, and ‘Who Is This God Person Anyway?’ for the teetotaller's as you cant get these two items for love nor money around here.
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