Asteroid on collision path with Earth


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Asteroid on collision path with Earth

Email this storyPrint this story 7:25AM Tuesday February 20, 2007

By David Usborne

The United Nations will shortly be asked to take on a new and unfamiliar mission - to save the Earth, not from drought, war or disease, but from the cataclysm that could occur following a direct hit by an asteroid.

A group of former astronauts and cosmonauts is warning that at least one asteroid already identified in outer space is on a path that could indeed see it colliding with our planet in 2036.

They say work should begin now on considering a strategy to protect humankind from this and other asteroids.

Specifically, members of the Association of Space Explorers are planning a series of meetings over the next two years, to be attended by diplomats, astronomers, astronauts and engineers, to draft an international treaty on address the threat.

It will be presented to the UN for adoption in 2009.

"You have to act when things look like they are going to happen - if you wait until you know for certain, it's too late," Dr Russell Schweickart, an Apollo 9 astronaut, told a conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.

"We believe there needs to be a decision process spelled out and adopted by the United Nations." The United States Congress recently instructed Nasa to increase its efforts to identify asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth.

As of now, the agency is monitoring the paths of 127 so-called near-Earth objects (NEO) that have the possibility of striking the planet.

Among prominent figures who have been asked to participate in drafting a UN treaty are Lord Rees, the English Astronomer Royal as well as Roger Bonnet, the ex-director of science at the European Space Agency and the former British ambassador the UN, Sir Crispin Tickell.

Underscoring the peril, an asteroid named Apophis risks passing very close to Earth on 13 April, 2036.

Astronomers warn that as of now, there is a 1 in 45,000 chance of a direct hit.

Its impact would be enough to wipe out a country as large as England.

Debate over how best to deflect any asteroid headed to our planet echoes the science-fiction scripts of Hollywood films like 'Armageddon', which precisely told the story of an asteroid and the derring-do of astronauts sent on a mission to destroy it before it reached Earth's atmosphere.

Dr Edward Lu told the conference that notions of smashing asteroids before they reach Earth are risky.

"There is a random element to them," he said.

"Things like hitting them with a bomb or flying a spacecraft into them - you just do not know what the results of that are going to be." Scientists now favour deploying so-called 'Gravity Tractors', small spacecrafts that would travel close to a speeding asteroid and, with their own gravitational pull, try to drag it onto a different path.

- INDEPENDENT

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Not sure if this was already posted but wow.

Edited by Narutorocker
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Damo R.

sheesh I think its about time we had some plan for Asteroids :yes:

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Deathray

2036 and they're worried? psst... we're going to screw up our own water supply, and be going through a nuclear war well before then

fear not, only the unlucky will see apophis

:)

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strekship

1 in 45000 chance? I don't mind those odds.

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User6060

1 in 45,000 that something will happen in the year 2036, screw it I'll take my chances that it will never come close. And if it does it will most likely hit water (70% of the earth is water). It's hardly a pressing issue in my opinion.

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Deathray
1 in 45,000 that something will happen in the year 2036, screw it I'll take my chances that it will never come close. And if it does it will most likely hit water (70% of the earth is water). It's hardly a pressing issue in my opinion.

:blink: Just asking for a clarification, you think that if an asteroid hits the water instead of land that nothing would happen?

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Mouldy Punk

They should send Bruce Willis...except he's getting on a bit now. I don't think they make zimmer-frames for outer-space.

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sundayx

Finally.

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primexx

IIRC 1 in 45,00 chance is an EXTREMELY large chance in asteroid language. And that's the DIRECT collision. What's the probability of an INDIRECT collision? It's about time we had a defence plan for things like this.

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Whinges
1 in 45,000 that something will happen in the year 2036, screw it I'll take my chances that it will never come close. And if it does it will most likely hit water (70% of the earth is water). It's hardly a pressing issue in my opinion.

Ever heard of a Tsunami?

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AgEnTsMiTh

Moved Here

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Lasker

by 2036 I will be 59, nice age to die

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Ayepecks

Someone tell me what day that's going to be that it's scheduled for impact... I want to know when to use some booty calls.

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MrKuro

I'm sure I've seen this movie already :p

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McSmiggins

Wait, 2036, Bruce Willis might be dead by then! Who will save us?? :p

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Corris
Someone tell me what day that's going to be that it's scheduled for impact... I want to know when to use some booty calls.

I'm pretty sure I've read it before, it only said April the 13th, but on a different news site it was Friday the 13th of April.

Friday the 13th.

What a great date ay :D

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Captain Caveman
by 2036 I will be 59, nice age to die

And Your Kids and their Kids....

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macstorm

Yeeeeeeeeeee when will this happen?? Great news finally! :happy:

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d3nuo
I'm sure I've seen this movie already :p

lol nice one!

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ThePitt

by 2036 we will be destroyed by ourself this planet...

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Maiku
Ever heard of a Tsunami?

As a matter of fact, we would probably be worse off if it hit the ocean. Many?billions of gallons of water would instantly vaporize, forming an immense, think cloud of water vapor around the earth that would trap UV rays as well as any?combination?of greenhouse gases. The resulting tsunami would obliterate cities as far as 100 miles inland.?The?delicate?balance?of?ocean?currents?would?be?thrown?off,?possibly?causing?them?to?change?with?

potentially?disasterous?results?for?areas?(like?the?UK)?that?depend?on?the?currents?for?temperate?weather.

The marine ecosystem would be utterly destroyed, an event that would have dire consequences all the way up the food chain.

Not that the alternative is that much better...

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multimediatechy
Ever heard of a Tsunami?

i know hello!!

I think i remember hearing about this one before back in the late 1990s.

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Hum

We're toast. :laugh:

Nah .... Earth and the bulk of civilization will still be here beyond 2036.

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Zirus
I'm pretty sure I've read it before, it only said April the 13th, but on a different news site it was Friday the 13th of April.

Friday the 13th.

What a great date ay :D

Actually, if you bring up the windows calendar and change the month to april, and the year to 2036, the 13th falls on a Saturday.

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