back to article NASA chief: Earth is DOOMED if we spot a big asteroid at short notice

Billions of dollars are needed to keep the Earth safe from asteroids like the one that smashed into Russia last month, experts have told the US government. Planetoid crashes into primordial Earth While NASA has made good progress cataloguing nearly 93 per cent of larger Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), smaller meteorites like the …

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  1. LarsG
    Meh

    Would we rather know we have only one hour left or would we like to be left in ignorance?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Would we rather know we have only one hour ...

      Only those in the impact zone would be wiped out instantly. Some of those on the far side of the world may have years to live before their resources run out - assuming the government doesn’t just hand everything over to the banks to prevent a stock market crash.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

      How this all works...

      The Federal Reserve, "loans" digital money, to the US govt in exchange for "government bonds" at a specific interest rate.

      Then 90% of this money is loaned to the banks, at an interest rate, who then loan 90% of it to customers and clients, at specified interest rates.....

      So there interest rates on interest rates, on interest rates, on money that never existed.

      This is why the USA owes so much on loans, that can never be repaid, with astronomical rates of compounding intererest.....

      That is why the Americans go to war to get cheap oil to service their debts, and to profit, while the whole world goes down the gurgler with them.

      This is why the Americans stir up wars by playing sides off against each other, selling arms and weapons to each side etc., to make even more profit.

      There are no enemies, only people being forced to take sides on a round planet.....

      The horrendous propoganda machine of the US industrial complex is totally out of control.

      And so there is NO money being spent in converting all the nuke missiles into rapid response and deep space / long duration mission asteroid killers...

      The principle is pretty simple - a 10 ton iron penetrator to lead the bomb by a certain distance, on the approach; followed by a HUGE bomb that detonates as it enters the hole created by the penetrator, thus maximising the blast energy inside the asteroid.

      So there we go.

      There is plenty of resources and willingness to build asteroid poppers, but with corrupt sociopathic shit heads calling the shots, all I can say is I hope the asteroids land on them.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

        If you think any size nuke on the planet is large enough to pop a civilization-threatening-size asteroid, you've been reading too many SF novels.

        Even if it did, all that'd happen is a rain of "smaller" rocks (for some values of smaller ranging from "larger than city-busters", all the way down), as you're not noticeably changing the orbital trajectory of the mass.

        (If we could steer asteroids, it'd be interesting to connect ceres to venus to see what happens next)

        1. Gio Ciampa

          Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

          Not forgetting that the "smaller" rocks would probably also have gained a somewhat radioactive complexion into the bargain...

          1. Nigel 11

            Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

            A nuke would work, if it was placed correctly before detonation. To the side and well off-centre. You'd blast a small chunk of asteroid off at high velocity in one direction and impart an equivalent and opposite amount of momentum in the opposite direction. It would work if the delta-V was sufficient to cause the asteroid to miss earth (so the more warning we had, the better). Lots of variables, of course, and causing fragmentation of the asteroid would make things worse (if they could be any worse, that is).

            Radioactivity - pah. Compared to the environmental effects of an extinction-level impact event, the radioactivity released by a single nuke would be totally insignificant. We tested hundreds of them in the atmosphere, didn't we?

            1. hayseed
              Facepalm

              Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

              V is extremely high in an asteroid, so that even if delta V is large, (delta V)/V isn't. This is why one can't get an 100,000 ton rock into orbit just by exploding a nuclear weapon.

        2. PyLETS
          Boffin

          large asteroid deflection

          Various approaches have been proposed. To be realistic you'd need a 10 year plan and execute period, preferably 20. Given that it's theoretically possible to cover a side of one of these with white or black paint, enough to use solar radiation to change its course ever so slightly, given enough years to change the course, a flyby at 100 km from the earth's surface resulting in a slingshot well out of range is much better than a direct hit.

          What's important is to detect and catalogue everything above about 100 metres across in near earth orbit, starting with 500 metres across, which needs more and better telescopes on the job. Technology available is already nearly there, and it's something all advanced economies have a reason to contribute towards in connection with international scientific and space collaborations. If you think how much money is being spent in maintaining the ability to nuke the planet many times over, this one is much smaller change.

      2. dwieske

        Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

        nukes asteroids has been exposed as a completely retarded concept decades ago....how about you do a minimum of study on the subject before defecating your nonsense

        1. Wzrd1

          Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

          Actually, a decade out or so, a few thermonuclear warheads might have an effect. IF they are not detonating on the surface, but only using radiation pressure of the blast to push the asteroid into a less offending orbit.

          That said, there are a dozen other methods that would be far more efficient, less error prone and hence, most likely to succeed than giving a rock a massive sunburn.

      3. Greg J Preece

        Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

        Ignoring the rest of that largely irrelevant post:

        The principle is pretty simple - a 10 ton iron penetrator to lead the bomb by a certain distance, on the approach; followed by a HUGE bomb that detonates as it enters the hole created by the penetrator, thus maximising the blast energy inside the asteroid.

        No. This is a really terrible idea, and if you'd listened to any half-qualified astrophysicist for ten minutes you'd know why. You "blow 'er out of the sky", you create a series of smaller asteroids, which come raining down on the planet, genius.

        1. Esskay

          Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

          I believe the "blow it up into little bits" principle was attempted in a rather well documented clean up of a beached sperm whale.

          IIRC, in hindsight, it was generally decided that it wasn't one of mankind's greatest moments.

          1. Wzrd1

            Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

            True. They should've used a MOAB.

            Same effect, but at least the meat would be well done. ;)

        2. Wzrd1

          Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

          Well, that 10 ton, better yet, 10 tonne penetrator moving a really high velocity would shift its orbit by a fair amount. No need to turn one rock into gigantic buckshot to pepper us horrifically with.

          Indeed, at high velocity, the penetrator would vaporize, along with a fair amount of the rock.

          Assuming the offending asteroid isn't a loose collection of rubble, in which case, it'll be absorbed and even a nuclear warhead of any size wouldn't effect at all.

          Of course, that same 10 ton or better, 10 tonne monster would be better served as a gravitational tractor, with thrusters to keep its distance and slowly drag the offending asteroid into a more innocuous orbit. Maybe into a lunar orbit or lunar impact.

          Then, we'd have an asteroid to mine for useful metals at a convenient location in space.

          1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

            ...Of course, that same 10 ton or better, 10 tonne monster would be better served as a gravitational tractor, with thrusters to keep its distance and slowly drag the offending asteroid into a more innocuous orbit. Maybe into a lunar orbit or lunar impact.

            Then, we'd have an asteroid to mine for useful metals at a convenient location in space....

            DON@T say that!!! Otherwise the US will realise that pulling an asteroid into Earth orbit would be quite possible, and then they would use it to threaten any country they didn't like with complete annihilation...

      4. Wzrd1

        Re: Yes the Rothschild Bank and the US Federal Reserve....

        What a fascinating tirade against the lunatic asylum financial practices of the US financial system.

        Somehow, it magically impacts every other financial system in the world, apparently, only the US has money and no other nation has their own financial system!

        Meanwhile, you'd have a thermonuclear warhead spatter against an asteroid, which would either do nothing whatsoever, other than make an impressive light show or convert one incoming object into a shotgun effect, with the same mass of impact still striking the Earth and causing the same widespread damage.

        But, at least we'd get an impressive light show before we join the dinosaurs and all of the species we've driven into extinction.

    3. Wzrd1

      Well, it worked well for the dinosaurs.

      If it's good enough for the dinosaurs, it's good enough for the US.

  2. Sil

    Nothing new under the sun

    I can remember reading an article in The Economist more than 2 decades ago making the case that such collisions were the most dangerous threat to life on earth and how an affordable investment in countermeasures would make sense.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Nothing new under the sun

      Yeah but the Economist was also justifying the war on Afghanistan and on Iraq, so...

      "Where do you want to your money to go today?"

      Now there is a 15 trillion dollar debt carter and 120 trillion uncovered social security benefits (with the wealth increasingly going to political entrepreneurs). And that's just the US.

      Asteroid deflection? Not soon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nothing new under the sun

        All you need is one large rock to hit a major city... at some point it will happen, either you're ready or you aren't. You prevent an entire population centre being wiped off the face of the planet or you saved a few billion pounds five decades ago.

        1. Stuart 22
          FAIL

          Re: Nothing new under the sun

          The chance of a city being wiped out by a medium sized rock are probably quite remote. Most of the earth is ocean and most of the rest is relatively sparsely populated. Even at worst it is a little local difficulty. Most of the globe will only suffer from the news coverage. In other words thinking globally these are hits we can take and recover.

          Whereas its the biggies that we really have to worry about. Those that it doesn't matter where they impact - the effect is global. Looks like we have a good fix on spotting them. Just the problem of stopping them.

          That's where we need to focus and not be distracted by recoverable catastrophes when the real problem is the end of life as we know it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nothing new under the sun

            "The chance of a city being wiped out by a medium sized rock are probably quite remote....and not be distracted by recoverable catastrophes "

            Agreed that the risks are modest. But still feasible, given that we've had Tungunuska and Chelyabinsk roughly a century apart, and we've now got several billion people living in cities. In presuming that past known events risk equals future risk, we're also overlooking any asteroid events that did land in the sea or the poles in that time, and went undetected.

            Given the expensive pantomime of "security" for air transport to avoid casualties of the order of a few thousand a year (eg $8bn a year for the US TSA) I'd argue that the risk from "minor" asteroid strikes is not dissimilar to the risks of aviation terror attacks, maybe greater, and justifies similar spending.

            And the other thing is that the detection and defence probably relies on the same science and technology, so the cost of trying to counter an extinction event is probably the same as dealing with the more modest risks.

          2. ravenviz
            Mushroom

            Re: Nothing new under the sun

            It won't matter where any km sized object hits, the climatic implications are enormous and will affect globally. 100 m - 1 km hitting land will do pretty much the same climate-wise whether it hits a city or not; an oceanic impact may also have a greater immediate risk due to tsunami.

            We're all so wrapped up in whether or not we as people get hit directly or not (i.e. an impact to a city), it clouds our judgment. If we want to save lives, put the 'scopes up in inferior orbit and give people time to evacuate to whatever squalour they then must put up with for years to come (think Ike, Katrina, etc.).

          3. This post has been deleted by its author

          4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Nothing new under the sun

            ...The chance of a city being wiped out by a medium sized rock are probably quite remote....

            The chance of Climate Change causing any measurable problem at all is zilch.

            But that doesn't seem to stop them spending trillions on it...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: Nothing new under the sun

      an affordable investment in countermeasures would make sense.

      But no action will be taken until somewhere takes a real, destructive direct hit, or a major global city (ideally a US one) is menaced in the same way as Chelyabinsk. However, when a few windows are blown out in a Siberian donkey town, you can be sure that the current paltry enthusiasm will quickly die away. Which is a pity. At $20m a year we are spending nothing to combat a fairly significant threat – we know the scale of previous impacts, and you’d think that there’d be some enthusiasm to spend some serious money.

      Even in these (supposedly) austere times it would be easy for any number of countries to rustle up a billion dollars. On its own that’s a fifty fold increase in detection funding, but if more countries put in you can start looking at asteroid defence. Who could find $1bn easily?

      Well, for starters, even post sequestration the US defence budget is larger than the rest of the world’s put together. A mere 0.2% cut in that post sequestration spending would yield over $1bn. Or a 5% cut in the US department of energy’s “defence related” spending would pony up $1bn. In the UK, a 5% cut in Cameron’s bloated and ineffectual foreign aid programme would yield $1bn. China and Russia could both find $1bn each by a circa 3% cut in heating fuel subsidies. France could find $1bn by a 0.2% cut in its welfare budget that pays people to sit at home and do nothing. Germany could find $1bn simply by reducing the continuing “reunification” subsidies by a mere 1%. India spends something like 7% of its total budget on subsidies for fuel, food, transport. Even countries like Iraq, Eqypt, Venezuela and Indonesia could each find $1bn down the back of the sofa just by a 5% reduction in transport fuel subsidies. There are an absolute handful of countries that couldn't find $1bn, and if the larger economies actually contributed a more proportionate amount then the available cash is vast.

      If properly co-ordinated all we’re talking about is transferring public spending through modest changes on often unproductive programmes, and the creation of new high value tech jobs of the sort that politicians always say they want. You could expect from a serious research programme that we'd get some good science and technology spinoffs as well. Using good management techniques work could be farmed out to the funding countries (to avoid poor countries paying rich ones), and the outputs openly monitored (to ensure that underperforming elements are addressed).

      Sadly this won't happen until we get that direct hit. Fingers crossed it is a small one, and nowhere near me.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. hayseed
        Thumb Down

        Re: Nothing new under the sun

        Chelyabinsk is NOT a "donkey town" - it is basically students and industry thrown together.

        Education

        There are over a dozen universities in Chelyabinsk. The oldest, Chelyabinsk State Agroengineering Academy, was founded in 1930. It was followed by the Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University in 1934. The main ones are South Ural State University, Chelyabinsk State University and Chelyabinsk Medical Academy. After the World War II Chelyabinsk became the main center of vocational education of the entire Ural region.

        Economy

        Chelyabinsk is one of the major industrial centers of Russia. Heavy industry predominates, especially metallurgy and military machinery, notably the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Combinate (CMK, ChMK), Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant (CTZ, ChTZ), Chelyabinsk Electrode plant (CHEZ), Chelyabinsk Tube Rolling Plant (ChTPZ) and Chelyabinsk Forge-and-Press Plant (ChKPZ).

        Transportation

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Nothing new under the sun

        "Who could find $1bn easily?"

        Cyprus? Oh....

      4. Nasty Nick
        Go

        Re: Nothing new under the sun

        Good idea in principle, but the usual stumbling block will be where in the world all this high tech investment goes. I don't see France, Germany, China never mind Venezuala coughing up without getting some of the action back into their own economies.

        Cue years of horse trading a la LHC, reasearch Fusion reactor labs, and the rest. Chances are they'll still be squabbling about who gets what & how much the wonga when the "Big One" hits.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nothing new under the sun

        "Who could find $1bn easily?"

        Hey, Jeff Bezos, just think how much nerdy fun this would be, and the sheer scale of the historical publicity if you did it under an Amazon banner.. XD

      6. Wzrd1

        Re: Nothing new under the sun

        Coming up with the money isn't hard. No new cannon for the military, the old ones are pretty good at blowing up the countryside already.

        Retire half of the ICBM force, blanketing a continent once is more than enough. One can retire half of the boomers as well, see the ICBM force bit.

        There went a supertanker full of money.

        But, no. The US won't "waste money" that way and needs to be able to incinerate a continent three times over. And put armed men in schools and hospitals...

  3. ForthIsNotDead
    Thumb Down

    Pish.

    See title.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Why one country ?

    I really don't understand why topics such as these aren't carried over across multiple countries... Several countries have their own "space agency" yet it also seems as if all those several countries find no reason for cooperation.

    Sure; a little competition is always good. And often doing it yourself can come with its own benefits.

    But shouldn't topics such as these be addresses by an international organisation instead of just NASA? That way all the involved countries can contribute thus also making sure that even in rough financial times we don't need to cut back on issues which really matter on a global scale.

    Or put differently: Now it seems as if NASA is has a leading role in all this, and although I have nothing against that they are fully dependent on whatever the US government can provide them with. But issues like these concern the whole world...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why one country ?

      "Now it seems as if NASA is has a leading role in all this,"

      At current levels of spending the leading role is up for grabs. If the Yanks only want to spend $20m, the Russians could easily own the game within a couple of years by choosing to put in (say) $100m a year to a programme under their control. They've got space experience, launchers, and excellent technology skills. And if the Russians don't there's China, or India. At a push the ESA could step in, but that seems a long shot to me.

      Even NASA don't care about asteroids. Next year they are launching the $500m MAVEN orbiter to study Mars' upper atmosphere. And in 2016 another half a billion mission of the InSight lander, again to Mars. Not sure what the annual spend on Mars is, but I guess including already landed programmes that it must be consuming around $300m a year.

      We can certainly rely on NASA to be leader on Mars research. No so sure we can rely on them for asteroid detection and defences.

      1. Bogdan Stancescu
        Facepalm

        Re: Why one country ?

        "At a push the ESA could step in, but that seems a long shot to me."

        And that, to me, is the remarkable thing in all of this. We expect the US, Russia, China and India to invest more in a space program that's tailor made for good old rich conservatory Europe. We have the money, and we have the expertise. Why are we expecting third parties to lead the way in this regard?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why one country ?

          "Why are we expecting third parties to lead the way in this regard?"

          Because Europe has set its priorities as welfare and health spending. That's where the biggest chunk of pan-European public spending by all members goes (around a third of GDP, or over half of all public spending), into over-generous and unfunded pensions, into benefits to those who cannot or will not find work, into free at point of use healthcare. As noted earlier Europe could easily find the money, but you have to accept that this "state provision of services" model is a mindset, and one that doesn't have parallels in the other major economic blocs. Until asteroid defence is seen as a public service then Europe won't be doing it, and even then the ghost of Christmas future can be seen in the failure of the EU as a body to fashion common defence or foreign policies, preferring instead to spend billions of € on "social cohesion", competitiveness (what a laugh), and agricultural subsidies to please the frogs.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why one country ?

            "..over-generous and unfunded pensions, into benefits to those who cannot or will not find work, into free at point of use healthcare.."

            The Daily Mail is thataway --->

    2. I think so I am?
      Meh

      Re: Why one country ?

      There is this thing I like to call the Onion ring of human selfishness.

      It starts off with oneself then moves to direct family, in direct family/friends, local area, region, country and finally continent.

      People or things in the same layer or closer to the center take precedence over outer layers.

      It's why and Englishman who support Man U and another Englishman who Man City hate each other, but when supporting England against another country are the best of friends. Or would support a European team over and Asian or US team.

      Its human nature to protect oneself and then progress outward.

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Why one country ?

        Its human nature to protect oneself and then progress outward.

        Greed is also a part of human nature. If "tracking NEOs" could be rephrased as "discovering near-earth resources that could be mined for profit," it would become a lot easier to get funding.

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      @ShelLuser Re: Why one country ?

      I agree. I never thought I'd hear myself saying this about American policy, but, yes, other countries should be contributing to the NASA project too

  5. Kharkov
    Alert

    Shouldn't the rest of the world help save the world?

    It certainly seems as if, assuming a planet-killer were discovered on the way in, the rest of the world would immediately turn to the USA and start moaning about NASA letting the side down. You hear about NASA getting involved in asteroid-tracking but you don't hear so much about the rest of the world getting in on the act.

    Perhaps its time for each country to donate some of their observatories time to asteroid spotting, as part of a worldwide (UN organised?) program.

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Shouldn't the rest of the world help save the world?

      >the rest of the world would immediately turn to the USA

      Why? Might be a better idea to ask the Russians, if they by any change have another Tzar Bomba lying around... They also have a working heavy-duty rocket to launch it with, unlike the USA.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Shouldn't the rest of the world help save the world?

      There is already an organisation called Spaceguard, which has tried to get international backing to track NEOs - some might remember Lembit Opik championing it a few years ago: http://www.spaceguarduk.com/

      At European level: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Technology/NEO/Spaceguard_Central_Node

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shouldn't the rest of the world help save the world?

      I'd trust the ESA/Russia & China as a team, more than i'd trust the USA to fix the problem...

    4. Colin Millar
      Pirate

      Re: Shouldn't the rest of the world help save the world?

      Maybe we should but we should also demand equal hero credits on the movie and no automatic making the asteroid a euro. I reckon a big fat world gobbler should be played by Eric Pickles a north american.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obama's goals

    Obama's goals are to destroy this country. that is why he has ended the space shuttle before we had any replacement, and why he is sending so much money to the muslim Brotherhood (200 Million) recently.

    He is a muslim pretending to be a christian. figure it out.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Obama's goals

      Why is Ann Coulter posting here?

      And getting upvotes?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Obama's goals

        That's not Ann Coulter, that's a sheeple.

        Upvotes: More sheeple. IMO, anyway.

        Sad that the proletariat can't think for themselves ...

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Obama's goals

      Please check your facts Mr Troll.

      The funding for the shuttles was cut by Mr Bush Jnr (he of the Republican persuasion) and the US has been propping up Egypt with about $200mil every year for the last 30 years. I didnt hear any complaints from republicans when it was that nice man Mr Mubarak in charge (he of the totalitarian, torturing persuasion)?

    3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Obama's goals

      "Obama's goals are to destroy this country."

      What did Britain do to him? Anyway, after Blair and Brown, a mere Obama, thousands of miles away, is not such a great threat...

    4. Psyx
      FAIL

      Re: Obama's goals

      Even if your insane gibbering is correct, then at least he has the balls to do it under his real name.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "balls to do it under his real name"

        So 'Psyx' is your real name?

        1. Psyx
          Paris Hilton

          Re: "balls to do it under his real name"

          Yeah, I have five older siblings and my parents were both unimaginative and very bad at spelling.

          Paris: Because I can use icons, and you can't.

          1. The Serpent

            Re: "balls to do it under his real name"

            A well-pitched bitch, sir

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "yeah...5 older siblings"

            @Psyx - Funny - but you're still a hypocrite.

            1. Psyx
              Trollface

              Re: "yeah...5 older siblings"

              And you're still just a troll. You're financing Saudi Arabia and Libya every time you fill your car up with gas, which makes you a hypocrite as well.

              You might want to read this before barking any more drivel as regards which President cancelled the shuttle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_program

              You also might want to look at the nations Bush handed out cash and weapons too, when he was in charge. Plenty of those darned commies and people of a different religion to you on that list, too.

        2. Gio Ciampa

          Re: "balls to do it under his real name"

          Good afternood, Mr Coward

          (Any relation to Noel?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "balls to do it under his real name"

            Yes, actually.

            But what's your point?

        3. My Real Name
          Facepalm

          Re: "balls to do it under his real name"

          I agree with Psyx and hate it when people don't post using their real name.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obama's goals

      I think the Bursar forgot to take his Frog Pills.

    6. fran 2
      Thumb Down

      Re: Obama's goals

      If you're gonna troll at least try some wit and originality

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Obama's goals

        As Richard Feynman established from Nasa engineers, the estimated chance of a catastrophic Shuttle incident was 1 in 200. According to Nasa management, it was 1 in 10, 000. He refused to sign the report into the Challenger disaster unless it was concluded with "You can't fool nature".

        Richard Feynman- physicist, bongo player, educator, amateur safe-cracker, supporter of a strip club.

  7. silver fox
    Mushroom

    Err...not sure 'the planet' is at risk...

    ...more like the infestation crawling all over it!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Err...not sure 'the planet' is at risk...

      But the "infestation" is the only chance this differently abled Gaia lass has of being relevant at all.

    2. Graham Dawson Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Err...not sure 'the planet' is at risk...

      Yeah, those damn sea kittens...

      Oh you mean the human race? Well if you think it's an infestation why don't you do your part to reduce it and remove yourself?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re:Obama's goats

        I speculate that they say 'meh,'

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bah

    Not while Bruce Willis is alive.

  9. jake Silver badge

    We are born, we live for a while, we die.

    I am here, now. The next century is out of my hands.

    During the meanwhile, I have tomato flowers in my greenhouse ... and I'm pretty certain the "Super Sweet 100s" and "Sun Gold Cherrys" have already set fruit ...

    1. Amorous Cowherder
      Facepalm

      Re: We are born, we live for a while, we die.

      "I am here, now. The next century is out of my hands."

      Good job our ancestors didn't think like you else we'd all still be sitting up trees picking nits off each other!

      FFS, grow up!

      1. ecofeco Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: We are born, we live for a while, we die.

        "Good job our ancestors didn't think like you else we'd all still be sitting up trees picking nits off each other!"

        Actually, they did for a few thousand years.

        Then the dolphins showed up.

        1. TimeMaster T
          Thumb Up

          Re: We are born, we live for a while, we die.

          Looks like the mice have succeeded in averting suspicion.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @Amorous Cowherder (was: Re: We are born, we live for a while, we die.)

        "Good job our ancestors didn't think like you else we'd all still be sitting up trees picking nits off each other!"

        Speak for yourself and your own ancestors. Four of the 58 tomato varietals we are growing this year were sports discovered by my Great Grandfather, in the period between 1865 and 1880. My family has been growing them yearly from the time he discovered them.

        All of this years crop is from seeds I harvested from last years crop.

        "Killer rocks from space"? Probably not in my lifetime. Rogers Creek fault letting go? A good possibility. My distributed seed bank will survive, regardless (nieces & nephews, and grand kids, spread across the globe).

        The next century is still out of my hands. It'll be in theirs.

        1. Esskay

          Re: @Amorous Cowherder (was: We are born, we live for a while, we die.)

          Amazing that someone who "harvests seeds from last year's crop for next year's crop" is unable to see the irony in claiming that "the next century is out of his hands".

          The seeds planted today will guarantee survival of your descendants.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Esskay (was: Re: @Amorous Cowherder (was: We are born, we live for a while, we die.))

            "The seeds planted today will guarantee survival of your descendants."

            No. Their survival is in their hands[1]. When I'm gone, I'm gone. I only provide the info, the land, the tools and the seeds. It's up to them to use them properly.

            [1] Barring complete catastrophe, like "killer rocks from space!", of course. We're pretty certain we can survive/rebuild from a 7.3 on the Rogers Creek Fault. We'll see. When, not if.

          2. Vic

            Re: @Amorous Cowherder (was: We are born, we live for a while, we die.)

            > The seeds planted today will guarantee survival of your descendants.

            They do nothing of the sort.

            Seeds planted today are required, but not sufficient, for the survival of my descendents.

            Vic.

      3. Vic

        Re: We are born, we live for a while, we die.

        > we'd all still be sitting up trees picking nits off each other!

        Oi. What I do on my weekends is nobody's business but my own.

        Vic.

  10. Beelzeebub
    Flame

    Who cares?

    We're all gonna die anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who cares?

      I used to think like that when I was a spotty teenage nihilist, but there's nothing like seeing a few treasured relatives and friends die from horrendous medical conditions or taking their own lives, to wake you up and realise life does matter and it's our place to make a difference, in whatever limited way we can, to keep our species going.

      It can't bother you that much else you wouldn't have bothered to get a PC together logon todat and bother posting such mindless shit! To quote the Inquisitor from Red Dwarf, "What have you done to recieve such great fortune as to have been given the precious gift of life?"

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Who cares?

        there's nothing like seeing a few treasured relatives and friends die from horrendous medical conditions or taking their own lives, to wake you up and realise life does matter and it's our place to make a difference, in whatever limited way we can, to keep our species going

        That's an extremely tenuous argument.

        It's perfectly tenable to argue that life is valuable, and even that the value of life imposes an ethical burden to improve the conditions of the living, without thereby incurring any responsibility at all toward the species. The existence of humanity in the long term is categorically different from the conditions of existence for those alive in the present. Hypothetical future humans do not possess identities, qualia, hopes and dreams; they don't exist at all, except in our imagination. There are any number of grounds on which to argue for a duty to continue the species, but the reduction of human suffering is prima facie not one of them, since at the point in the future where there are no more humans, human suffering will have reached a global minimum (ie, zero).

        Unfortunately, the people who adhere to the line of thinking you've just espoused generally adopt it as an article of faith, despite any pretensions to philosophical foundation, and refuse to examine it rationally. So bring on the downvotes.

  11. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I cannot believe that the experts and the author of this article forgot about the asteroid busting Bruce Willis.

    I'm pretty sure in that documentary of his it only took a couple of rednecks and less than 2 hours to put a stop to that potential disaster.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      R U MAD? He will never pass through the crowd of anti-asteroid-fracking protestors on his way to the rocket, not a chance...

    2. wim
      Joke

      you got your facts backwards

      it only took 2 hours and a small space rock to destroy a Bruce Willis

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Acceptable losses?

    This is truly an issue of global significance yet there appears to be no integrated planning across all space agencies

    Would the loss of a city be acceptable? How much evacuation notice could such a system give?

    BTW the "fire a big nuke at it" is a fail according to NASA studies.

    IRL the discovery of a NEO on a collision course with Earth would play out like the first 20-30 minutes of Armageddon.

    Then they all go home to die.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Acceptable losses?

      It's called "Business As Usual".

      Don't do anything till after it's happened and it's too late.

      Or till a Chelyabinsk sized meteorite hits the USA.

      1. fnordstrom
        Flame

        Re: Acceptable losses?

        Didn't a meteorite the size of the one which hit Chelyabinsk already hit Chelyabinsk?

        So what are the Russians doing about it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Acceptable losses?

      Oh bullshit - some knob in NASA saying it won't work.

      Popping a huge asteroid into BIG bits, a long way from earth, is a LOT better than a HUGE one hitting earth...

      Sure we might actually get SOME debree... but what the fuck? A few scratched panels and maybe a bit of a ding, is a lot better than a cubed and crumbed car.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Acceptable losses?

        >Popping a huge asteroid into BIG bits, a long way from earth, is a LOT better than a HUGE one hitting earth...

        Yeah.... instead of being all dead quickly, we're deaf and starve to death. "a LOT better" as you say.

      2. Rattus Rattus

        Re: Acceptable losses?

        "better than a HUGE one hitting earth."

        Well, no. Not really. Still the same mass and kinetic energy impacting the planet. Still the same total heating of the surface, still the same amount of dust choking the atmosphere. It would make very little difference whether it is all in one lump like a rifle bullet or spread out like shot, a kilometre width rock will cause a mass extinction regardless.

        1. jphb

          Re: Acceptable losses?

          If the asteroid was disintegrated far enough way some of the fragments would surely miss. A suitably placed explosion would give the fragments extra momentum in all sorts of directions. If the extra momentum were perpendicular to the main track, the fragments would be on a different trajectory, if the extra momentum were along the main track the fragments would reach the Earth impact point sooner or later than the Earth and miss. Of course a lot of fragments and dust would still hit earth but a lot would also miss - unless I'm missing something.

          I read the other day that comet C/2013 A1 (possibly up 50km in radius) may impact a planet late next year. This was officially discovered in January 2013 which doesn't give much time to do something about it. Fortunately its heading for Mars not Earth - and just because its well out of the ecliptic plane we've only just noticed it. This doesn't give me much confidence in present threat discovery..

  13. C 18
    Happy

    Not DOOMED

    He doesn't say we're doomed, he said we can pray.

  14. Lloyd
    FAIL

    Earth is doomed?????

    I think not. Humanity is doomed? Probably. Life on Earth is doomed? Unlikely. Earth is doomed? Implausible. That'd need to be a bloody big or very fast moving asteroid.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Earth is doomed?????

      Earth is worthless without humans, so if humanity is doomed, so is Earth.

      1. magnetik
        WTF?

        Re: Earth is doomed?????

        Earth is worthless without humans, so if humanity is doomed, so is Earth.

        So all other species are worthless because they're not human? :-S

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: Earth is doomed?????

          No. Worth is an intrinsically human concept. Without humans around, the planet would have nobody to grant it the attribute of worth, and would thus have none. It would merely exist.

          1. ravenviz
            Happy

            Re: Earth is doomed?????

            Very good!

          2. hayseed

            Re: Earth is doomed?????

            "Round" is also a attribute and human concept. Would you say that nothing could be round if there were no humans to come up with that classification?

            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              Re: Earth is doomed?????

              "Round" is an English name of a geometric form.

              "Worth" is something useful to humans or of value to them. No humans - no worth.

              And another point you and the other animal-hugging downvoters are missing - Earth without humans is like an infertile plant - only useful for eating or burning, at best. It has no future.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Earth is doomed?????

          So all other species are worthless because they're not human?

          Don't bother. The "worth is a human concept" argument is at best a metaphysical tautology and at worst simply faith posturing as wit.

          Metaphysical: Because it can be argued that 1) systems devoid of human actors contain asymmetric distribution of resources which motivate changes in those systems, and 2) economic models can thus reasonably be applied to those systems, the argument "worth is solely a human concept" is warranted only by positing an essence to the abstraction "worth" that requires it satisfy a predicate along the lines of "in the estimation of a rational being". In other words, there's a rational, consistent definition of "worth" which does not require human agency, so you can only restrict it to humans by ... restricting it to humans.

          Tautology: If "worth" requires human[1] recognition, then it's nonsensical to say that in the absence of humans, the planet would have no "worth". We've already granted axiomatically that there is no worth to anything in the absence of humans. Equally, there's no penalty to the absence of worth, because only humans are capable of caring whether anything has worth.

          Faith: Because when arguments like this are advanced, they're almost never posited as an occasion for actually considering whether they're sound. They're just an excuse for the author to promote the supposed consequent (ie, that the human species is intrinsically valuable and should be preserved).

          [1] Or some equivalent presumed-rational observer - we could use a term like Dasein here if we wanted to hedge our bets.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: Earth is doomed?????

            Oh, I hope you understood what you wrote, because I, sure as hell, didn't!

            But there is one point I seem to have detected: "They're just an excuse for the author to promote the supposed consequent (ie, that the human species is intrinsically valuable and should be preserved)."

            Well, you're right - that's exactly what I tried to "promote", and I never pretended that I didn't.

            You see, homo sapiens is the only species that is capable of spreading the Earth version of DNA to other places in the Universe. Without us Earth will be an evolutionary failure. A waste of interstellar carbon. All that Solar hydrogen fused for nothing. She will die an old childless spinster when the Sun will swallow it in a few billion years and no one will ever remember her name...

  15. Crisp

    We'd be just as doomed

    If we didn't spot an incoming hunk of rock.

  16. Mr F&*king Grumpy
    Happy

    Well, just don't look then

    "Earth is DOOMED if we spot a big asteroid at short notice"

    So, if we don't spot it, we're ok ? Fab.

    1. John Deeb
      Joke

      Re: Well, just don't look then

      As long as we don't look, the impact will have happened and not-happened at the same time. Perhaps we need then to invest in devices which help us to look LESS. Maybe we could dig very deep holes in the ground to stick all our camera's, devices and antenna's in and even bury them. We ourselves could permanently look underground, remove any senses from the surface and it will be all right. Or at least for ever uncertain.

      1. Jediben
        Devil

        Re: Well, just don't look then

        Ironic really, as digging very deep holes and learning how to survive in them would probably be our best shot at surviving the impact of such an asteroid which we are deliberately trying NOT to see!

    2. C 18

      Re: Well, just don't look then

      Or if we do spot it I would suggest setting up stall selling towels and be doing the praying that the big ass tried is of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal persuasion.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, just don't look then

      "So, if we don't spot it, we're ok ? Fab."

      Why do you think we all carry towels around? Obviously, they're to cover our eyes when we're tempted to peek upwards.

  17. Sport Monkey
    Devil

    Following LOHAN...

    I recommend El Reg create an ofshoot called The IT Technicians Yard to make Tactical Asteroid Shooting Superpower Laser Equipped Satellites

  18. MisterB
    Coat

    If'mconfused (as always, this is not unusual by the way). How do they know they have found 93% of them? The article says there are another 70. How do they know this figure if they can't find them and don't know where they are?! !

    1. The lone lurker

      It's based on estimations and models of what should be left after the Solar system formed and has been ticking over for the last 4.6 billion years.

      Short answer is: They're guessing.

      1. Jediben
        Trollface

        Not even as innocent at that - they're making up a number that theyhope will give the impression that while they do a VERY GOOD JOB with their current resources, there is still a measurable improvement (which is not an unreasonably large amount as to suggest they are not doing very well, but enough to make it worth investigating whether this improvement can be met) that could be gained if they receive MORE MONEY.

        FUD 101 - suggest could be much worse if you weren't here, and even better if you pay me more, but completely theoretical and unproveable in all instances.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      It's the law of averages...

      X amount of rocks coming into and out of view, assorted sizes and directions, in a given volume of space.

      Multiply the amount of rocks, a given period of time, a general volume of space.....

      Like catching fish in a given volume of ocean.

      IF there are X fish in Y volume of ocean, then a sample of say 10% of that volume, would give an average for the whole volume in any other area.

      Comforting to know about the ones you don't know about, are not equipped to do anything about or things like the odd big one that just kind of snuck in there....

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Politician Makes Profound Statement

    "The smaller they are, the harder they are to spot,......"

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Politician Makes Profound Statement

      But enough about willies; let's talk about asteroids...

  20. MrXavia
    Mushroom

    Surely protecting the planet from asteroid impacts is one of the most important things we could spend money on?

    I don't get why the nations with Space Expertise Faring nations don't just get together on this...

    The UK spends £1Billion a year on overseas aid, we give a fortune to India... Lets STOP giving that money to countries with the money to look after themselves and start spending it on space!

    If the UK, China, Japan, Russia, USA & lets not forget the rest of the ESA contributing countries, just worked together on this, each bung in a couple of hundred million.... and then start building a decent detection network!

    Then maybe once we know what is out there, we can start looking at solutions to prevent impacts...

    If we don't all stop bickering and start working together, the human race might be extinct in 100 years time!

    1. Dave the Cat

      Great Idea, I'm onboard, but...

      Sadly Sir, you've applied logic and reason to where little or none exists!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But people don't care about "the human race"

      There's no rational reason why people should care about how long the human race survives. People aren't rational, of course, but by and large they still don't care much.

      Therefore, any solution to prevent asteroid impacts had better be cheap enough to be justifiable in terms of the benefit it brings to individual tax payers. That may well be possible, but proponents must come up with some plausible numbers. What are the chances of an asteroid impact injuring me or my immediate family? How much money do you need to significantly reduce those chances?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      @ MrXavia

      "The UK spends £1Billion a year on overseas aid"

      Oh not it doesn't. David Cameron has committed to spending thirteen billion quid on foreign aid this year. Most of that will go through DFID, but there's a few billion of it frittered through contributions to charities, EU aid funds, and directly to international quangos ("multilateral agencies" as the government calls them).

      http://www.ifs.org.uk/budgets/gb2012/12chap7.pdf

    4. Ali on the Reg

      In short, it they don't consider the cost of sufficient benefit. For example, why does the UK suffer so much when it snows a bit? Because the cost of 'anit-snow defences' isn't worthwhile given the relatively low risk of snowfall.

    5. Psyx
      Facepalm

      "The UK spends £1Billion a year on overseas aid... Lets STOP giving that money to countries with the money to look after themselves.... If we don't all stop bickering and start working together, the human race might be extinct in 100 years time!"

      Oooh, irony: I see what you did there!

  21. NomNomNom
    Black Helicopters

    If US government won't fund an asteroid gun that only proves they don't need an asteroid gun. Probably because they know the reptilians who now control the shadow government will not allow an asteroid to damage the Earth they want to inherit. They'e already installed obama as a test of our resolve and put sterilization drugs in our vaccinations and water supply (not mine I only drink Dr Pepper), so now we are in the end game.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      "...I only drink Dr Pepper"

      With the added advantage that your arse can now repel any reptilian overlord who comes within a 3 foot firing range.

      NO, PULL THE OTHER FINGER!!!

  22. Burbage

    Doomed

    "If it's coming in three weeks ... pray," Bolden replied. "The reason I can't do anything in the next three weeks is because for decades we have put it off."

    Decades? It's been at least three thousand years and, if the evolutionists are right, nearer three million. The last strike of any consequence might arguably have wiped out all the dinosaurs, but nobody can seriously argue that had any significant deleterious effect, economic or otherwise. Yet, in the meantime, human populations have been decimated by successive plagues and famines and, just within the last century, we've managed to flatten a few cities with no help from outer space.

    If the US really wants to save the world, its money would be better spent on surgical masks, instant noodles and better weapons.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Doomed

      "It's been at least three thousand years and, if the evolutionists are right"

      they're not. Earth rotates in a simultaneous 4 day time cube

  23. bearded bear can
    Mushroom

    An explorer from a distant world

    might, many eons from now, discover signs of a previous civilization on this planet, gone extinct by a huge meteor blast, and conclude that the dumbasses spent their resources on building expensive weaponry aimed at each rather than focusing on getting off their rock and into space. - "What a stupid excuse for intelligent life! Serves them right."

  24. AndrueC Silver badge
    WTF?

    cataloguing nearly 93 per cent

    Out of curiosity - how do they know it's 93%? Surely that implies that you know exactly how many there are in the first place?

    1. Psyx

      Comment on prior page explains this for you.

  25. Bryan Hall
    Happy

    Just warp them through

    Don't we learn anything from Sci-Fi? Instead of blowing them up (making even more problems), or trying to move their path - just warp them through the earth.

    All we need is a small spacecraft with warp technology and... Hey Jeff B, let's get going on this!

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Just warp them through

      "Hurry up Carter. I can see my house from here"

  26. Anonymous John

    And there are comets.

    SL-9 hit Jupiter nearly twenty years ago, and Mars gets a near miss next year.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Re: And there are comets.

      "SL-9 hit Jupiter nearly twenty years ago"

      Oh great. Thanks for making me feel so very old, suddenly.

  27. Jim McCafferty
    WTF?

    Kerching

    Asteroid heading towards earth - "Don't worry folks, we've had it on the radar for months. Nothing to see here. We're definitely not incompetent."

    Asteroid passes the earth - (Hang on there's the opportunity for some funding here). "Yeah, Earth's detection systems are woefully inadequate - we need lots of more cash now. Before you spend it all on healthcare."

  28. david 64
    Stop

    Simple

    Save the Cheerleader.....

  29. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Forget asteroids. A star could go supernova at any point. It could obliterate our solar system. Our Galaxy could collide with another, destroying the entire, well, um, galaxy.

    Likewise, risk vs probability vs cost etc. Some of these things might happen, some of these things might happen millions or billions of years from now. Some of our actions might be able to reduce their occurrence. However, much easier than trying to stop an asteroid, trying to stop the self destruction of a star or trying to stop the collision of two galaxies, is just trying to be as self sufficient as possible.

    Don't go exploding your own back yard, and you'll have at least one less thing to destroy your back yard. Change the things you can change first, and not waste resources on things that don't give a return.

    An example would be, trying to move the planet to avoid an asteroid. When really it's much more achievable to move the asteroid out of the way of the planet. Taken a step further, it's much easier to move people away from an impact site than it is to move an asteroid. Taken even further, if we spent less time trying to harm each other, there would be more time to spend trying to move asteroids, move people etc.

  30. Bill Neal
    Unhappy

    Priorities

    I'm sure it has been said already, but it is quite depressing to know that the U.S. spent more on the bank bailout than the entire history of NASA's budget. Too bad there isn't enough money in space for NASA to have it's own lobbyists. Too bad our gov is more interested in profit than pure research in general.

  31. Ali on the Reg

    The Earth isn't doomed

    We are, but Earth will still be here.

  32. jarjarbinks
    WTF?

    So are we safe from the big ones for a long while?

    Since they are tracking 90% of 1 mile+ sized asteroids... other than the 10% we're not sure about yet.. is there any in the nexty sa 100 years that are going to impact us?

    I agree with a previous post, Leftwinger wrote about how there are plenty of countries, that if pooled together, could easily mass billions right now with minimal impact on their budgets. Shoot, I read that 212 more people made it to the billionaire list in 2012. If I had a 100 million, I'd like to donate 1 million to help. With 1000's of people earning that kind of money if not way more, why not put out some sort of tax writeoff to fund this project? I mean, think about it.. next to some sort of crazy disease, nucelar war.. there really isn't anything else that we know of that would wipe use out so quickly and easily. Why is it those in power always seem to not give a crap about anything well..frankly, of utmost importance to the existence of.. us? Do they have some super secret space ship they get to live in if the world is about to end so they don't care? I don't understand how something of such importance can be overlooked for the sake of money.. with which they could easily get 100x the needed amount to get this going in the next couple of years, not 20+.

  33. ecofeco Silver badge
    Trollface

    There was suppsoed to be a gaint "kaboom"

    Why isn't the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator working?

  34. Twitless
    Coat

    There's only one real solution

    As long as we are confined to one planet, then something will eventually wipe us out. War, super viruses, pollution, meteors, a nova - it is just a matter of time before something does the job. Self-sufficient colonies on other worlds are the best, and the only real, chance we have.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course

    This would be a perfect time to "repurpose" those spare multi-megaton nukes that the USA, Russia and China can't seem to dispose of into an Orion aka "nuclear pulse jet" asteroid nudge system.

    No need to drill into said asteroid, just impact it off axis at 0.05C and the inertia will do the rest.

    Simplez!

  36. Alan Firminger

    How can the quoted chances be known

    The NASA website tells us that comets have orbits that extend up to millions of years : http://pds.jpl.nasa.gov/planets/special/smbod.htm .

    I am not surprised, all things are possible up to the extreme of the sun's gravity. It is a long way to our second nearest star.

    Loose rocks in space can have the same extremely elliptical orbits. From the limited sample af recent observations nobody can have the faintest idea what is out there, and could arrive on this planet within a few months of discovery.

    1. Tequila Joe

      Re: How can the quoted chances be known

      I dunno, but which do you think is easier to model:

      - the complex interactions of a system with unknown variables where new items are frequently popping up,

      OR

      - a set of numbers which would be effective for marketing and seeking funding?

  37. Tequila Joe
    Alien

    Solve it the way we always do IT

    Outsource the job to aliens who claim to have the advanced technology to have done it already! Simples, and big bonuses for the board!

    SPLAT!

    Hey Klarg, have we got a backup we can restore from?

  38. mr.K
    Facepalm

    Cereal?

    Is this cereal?

    I can't tell if this should be joke-tagged or moron-tagged, hard to know on the internet.

  39. praos

    A 1 km stone would be a planet-saver. By exterminating resources-gobbling human vermin, it would indefinitely postpone the oil-peak. Pray, Greenpeace, pray.

  40. John Angelico

    Hasn't anyone considerd...

    ...transferring all that money to the Vogons and asking them

    a) to relocate the hyper-space bypass just far enough out of original path to take out putative asteroid (say 5% of required total bribe err, development fund)

    b) to PLEASE not recite any of their poetry (remaining 95% of funds).

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arthur C Clarke

    Had this covered in a Hammer from God. All you need to do is pop a big f**k off rocket on the thing, while it's somewhere between Neptune and Jupiter, to deflect it and hope that a bunch of religious lunatics don't sabotage said rocket.

    If plan A fails, try to nuke it and remember to set the timer right on the big f**k off bomb you send towards it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Arthur C Clarke

      I'd love for someone to explain why my post got down-voted? Did I get the plot synopsis wrong?!

  42. You have not yet created a handle
    IT Angle

    "NASA believes it has discovered 93 per cent of the largest asteroids in near-Earth orbit, those one kilometre or larger. But what about the other seven per cent remaining"

    If NASA believes that's it's discovered 93% of the largest asteroids, and therefore must know that there are 7% more out there, doesn't this mean they have discovered 100% of the largest asteroids?!

  43. Syx

    Question

    How reliable is the "93%" figure quoted, if some slip through the net? Surely there are those that slip through and we fail to detect entirely?

    1. Syx
      FAIL

      Re: Question

      Ignore me I didn't realise there were three pages of comments before posting...

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