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View Diary: Can we stop an object from hitting the earth? (108 comments)

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  •  If (5+ / 0-)

    it were a sizable object the debate over what to do and who would do it would be remarkable to say the least. One of the biggest problems would be gauging the risk, if there are years of lead time, there are deltas, windows of probability, probably big enough to miss the earth with room to spare. And a 500 mile miss is just as good as a 5 million mile miss when it comes to an impact.

    •  Agreed on both counts. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608

      "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

      by Wildthumb on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 09:21:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I heard on NPR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608

      We only need to slow it's arrival by 7 minutes or so and we'll be out of the way when it gets here.

      But my problem is, it seems under current technology, we don't have years lead times.  It doesn't do any good to predict a 50% chance of hitting.  If we slow that object down by 7 minutes, we might turn a miss into a hit.  So for schemes like this, if we have to wait until it's close to be certain of it's trajectory, we'll need lots of force.  Sort of a Titanic/iceberg situation.

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:19:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If we were all in for a penny for NASA we might... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, The Nose, Wildthumb

      ...have some back up plans ready to execute. Right now, what is arguably the most technically advanced entity in the US operates on an annual budget of about 1/2 a penny out of your tax dollar. An agency which during the Apollo program returned to the public sector about $7.00 for every $1.00 invested (full disclosure-NASA received up to 5% of our GDP for part of the 60's until dropping later in that decade). The microprocessor chip and a slew of electronic miniaturization may not exist without Apollo. Try running your PC without those.

      Yeah, that's a source of government funding we should be slashing right now, right?  Especially when we're trying to define what NASA should be doing over the next generation. I like Neil deGrasse Tyson's idea of a heavy booster platform which could be adapted for deep space asteroid stuff or Mars missions, or for the moon, or this, that, or the other thing. Spotting and providing an alternative to asteroid sheparding  could be part of  that vision. We still don't know if private companies can do the job. Cheaply or not. But then you have to ask yourself, what has NASA done for us lately. Nothing good can come out of a gubmint agency.

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