13 May 2007

The Odds of Asteroid 2004 QQ47 Hitting Earth in 2014 Are One in 909,000

If an asteroid 460 feet in diameter hit Earth, it would produce problems on a regional level, according to NASA. An asteroid 1,000 feet in diameter could harm countries, and one 3,280 feet in diameter -- or one kilometer -- could produce global problems.

If an asteroid that is 32,808 feet in diameter -- or 10 kilometers -- hit Earth, it could cause life forms to become extinct, similar to the asteroid that many scientists believe caused dinosaurs to become extinct.

Asteroid 2004 MN4 has a higher likelihood of striking the Earth in 2029--greater than 1%. Asteroid MN4 has achieved a threat level of 2 out of 10 on the Torino scale.

An asteroid strike is a real problem, not an ideological hobgoblin like CAGW. The consequences of an asteroid strike would not be subject to revisionist history, post-modernist deconstructualism, or simple human denial.

At the present time, there are no good or available means to divert a large, civilisation-ending asteroid or comet from its course. And to be honest, we will probably have insufficient time to prepare for it, if we wait until we have solid warning.

NASA maintains a list of near-earth objects, for those who enjoy keeping track of such things. And amateur and professional astronomers around the world are watching the night sky carefully for new and previously undiscovered space objects heading our way.
Throughout the world, asteroids have caused about 330 known craters on Earth, but there are probably many more that people haven't discovered yet or are hidden under the oceans, Ryan said.

"It's truly a problem," she said. "We have to worry about these things because we don't know. We have to prepare for any outcome."

....Possibilities for deflecting an asteroid include using a large mirror to focus solar energy on an asteroid and boiling off material, or positioning a spacecraft near an asteroid and using a laser to boil off material, according to the report.

The government could also use a spacecraft to attach mining material to an asteroid and eject material from the asteroid at a high velocity, the report says, or use a spacecraft to literally push it out of the Earth's path.

To dismantle an asteroid, NASA says using a nuclear-armed missile would be more effective than a conventional explosive. The study team looked at conventional explosives but found they would be ineffective in most situations.

The best way to minimise the threat of an asteroid impact is to already have a permanent large-scale space infrastructure in place, before any large asteroids or comets enter final approach to earth impact. If we wait until we are certain a large object will hit us, it will probably be too late.

Odds for QQ47 impact are from Daily Astronomy.

Graphic image is from Saturation.org

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