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Old 02-17-2013, 01:07 AM  
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The House to discuss the threat of asteroids.

Awesome.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefi...hreat-to-earth

House committee to hold hearing on asteroid threat
By Jonathan Easley
02/15/13 12:07 PM ET

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on how to “better identify and address asteroids that pose a potential threat to Earth,” Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said in a statement on Friday.

The announcement comes after a meteorite exploded in a massive blast above Siberia that damaged buildings, houses and cars and injured about 1,000 people on Friday.

"The light was so intense that it completely illuminated the courtyard of our apartment block," said Sergei Zakharov, head of the Russian Geographical Society in Chelyabinsk, according to The Wall Street Journal. "The sound, the shock wave came around six minutes later. No one could understand what had happened. I'd compare it to the explosion of a large flare bomb."

The blast was unrelated to another rare meteorological event on Friday — a 150-foot-long asteroid passed within 17,000 miles of Earth. It’s the closest encounter of its kind on record, passing within the orbit of many man-made satellites.

“Today’s events are a stark reminder of the need to invest in space science,” Smith said. “Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed just 17,000 miles from Earth, less than the distance of a round trip from New York to Sydney. And this morning, a much smaller meteorite hit near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, damaging buildings and injuring hundreds."

"Developing technology and research that enable us to track objects like Asteroid 2012 DA14 is critical to our future," Smith said. "We should continue to invest in systems that identify threatening asteroids and develop contingencies, if needed, to change the course of an asteroid headed toward Earth.”
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:32 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Dave View Post
HUGE waste of resource.
Wouldn't it be like an insurance? I'm sure your house or car insured. The probability that you need them aren't great. Isn't it the same with this. Chances that you will be personally hit aren't great but a hit by a meteroite could have devastating effects.
At the end of the day if there don't spend on this there will spend it on something else. There won't give the money to you.
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:04 PM   #32
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:39 PM   #33
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Meteor tax.


You're kinda like the new demonpenz.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:51 PM   #34
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At least I'm doing my part as an American. I go out almost every night and look at the lights in the sky to see if any are moving towards us. Haven't seen one yet but when I do I'll sure as hell call the police. I'm even thinking about buying binoculars just for this.
If you see something coming, start shooting at it with an assault rifle.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:52 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
“Today’s events are a stark reminder of the need to invest in space science,” Smith said.


There it is again! "INVEST" The liberal codeword for tax-and-spend. Do they really think they're fooling us by using this new euphemism?
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:07 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Awesome.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefi...hreat-to-earth

House committee to hold hearing on asteroid threat

Looks like the United Nations is discussing the threat of asteroids, too.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50840661/n.../#.USJAKbvzckg

Quote:
United Nations reviewing asteroid impact threat

Focus is on pushing forward on an international response to the impact threat of asteroids and other near-Earth objects (NEOs)

By Leonard David


The Russian fireball and the close flyby of the asteroid 2012 DA14 on Friday came at a moment in time when the United Nations is discussing international response to the near-Earth object impact concern.

Detailed discussions about the Russian meteor explosion and Earth's encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14 were high on the Feb. 15 agenda of Action Team-14 during the 50th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), being held from Feb. 11 to 22 at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna.

The multi-year work of Action Team-14 (AT-14) is focused on pushing forward on an international response to the impact threat of asteroids and other near-Earth objects (NEOs).

Up for discussion at the Vienna gathering is the report: "Near-Earth Objects, 2011-2012, Recommendations of the Action Team on Near-Earth Objects for an International Response to the Near-Earth Object Impact Threat."

Future threatening asteroids
"This event in Russia and the pass of the larger asteroid 2012 DA14 are good reminders that many thousands of objects like it pass near Earth daily," said Ray Williamson, a senior advisor to the Secure World Foundation and a participant in the Vienna gathering.

Secure World Foundation is a private operating foundation dedicated to the secure and sustainable use of space for the benefit of Earth and all its peoples.

Williamson said that some objects will be larger and cause considerable damage if they strike Earth. Furthermore, it is critical that efforts continue to identify and track asteroids in order to counter the largest ones before they do serious damage to population centers.

"Work is continuing within the United Nations on developing international responses to future threatening asteroids. Given the uncertainties concerning where such asteroids might strike Earth and how much damage they might do, international responses will be critical," Williamson told SPACE.com.
Also taking part in the UN NEO working group is space scientist, Detlef Koschny of the European Space Agency’s European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

"The day before we thought it is great timing that 2012 DA14 flies by in the evening … and were shocked when in the morning we learned about the Russia event," Koschny told SPACE.com. "What a coincidence. Was this a cosmic warning shot? It makes you think."

Timely warnings
For its part, the UN Action Team-14 has been deliberating over the years regarding the makeup and focus of an Information, Analysis and Warning Network (IAWN), designed to gather and analyze NEO data and provide timely warnings to national authorities should a potentially hazardous NEO threaten Earth.

That report and its findings are being shouldered by Sergio Camacho who chairs the Action Team on NEOs — a group that was established in 2001.
But gluing together a planetary defense strategy is not easy and includes a number of components: From finding potentially hazardous objects, predicting their future locations, and providing warning about future impacts with the Earth.

Furthermore, such a strategy also involves missions to deflect impacting asteroids by changing their orbit, as well as disaster preparedness management and, in the event of a NEO strike, shaping a mitigation and recovery plan to counteract consequences.

The need for an IAWN had been identified in the September 2008 report: "Asteroid Threats: A Call for a Global Response," a document prepared by an expert panel convened by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) to assist the work of AT-14.

Here is an excerpt of the 2008 asteroid threat report.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:15 AM   #37
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I can't believe nobody has said this yet:


BAN ASSAULT ASTEROIDS!
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:24 AM   #38
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HUGE waste of resource.
No, not really. Earth has already had several extinction level asteroid impacts. You may think that not much can be done, but you'd be wrong. Saying research into this is a waste of resource is short sighted and dangerous. Research such as this is done for future generations. But that doesn't mean it's of no value today.

Quote:
The world's third largest asteroid impact zone has been found in South Australia. According to scientists involved, the asteroid, which measured up to 20 km across, hit Earth approximately 360 million years ago. This was around the time of the Late Devonian mass extinction, strengthening the idea that asteroid impacts have been associated with many mass extinctions throughout the history of life on Earth.
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/...2-24059-2.html
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:29 AM   #39
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BAN ASSAULT ASTEROIDS!
We call them assaulteroids.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:40 AM   #40
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I don't think it is THAT ridiculous to discuss this in Congress. What is ridiculous is having an R-controlled science committee discuss anything related to science. I think we all know the likely determination of the committee--start banning gay marriage and God will stop threatening us with meteors.
I actually agree with your first sentence. Seems reasonable.

The rest of what you said...pure crap.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:19 PM   #41
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I actually agree with your first sentence. Seems reasonable.

The rest of what you said...pure crap.
That's kinda what I was saying.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:19 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
I don't think it is THAT ridiculous to discuss this in Congress. What is ridiculous is having an R-controlled science committee discuss anything related to science. I think we all know the likely determination of the committee--start banning gay marriage and God will stop threatening us with meteors.
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Originally Posted by alpha_omega View Post
I actually agree with your first sentence. Seems reasonable.

The rest of what you said...pure crap.
C'mon--the 2nd sentence is pure crap? The 3rd one might be a bit of an exaggeration, although it's not like natural disasters have never been blamed on sinful humans.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:30 PM   #43
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http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/russia-meteor/

There Is No Way to Stop Space Rocks From Hurtling to Earth and Killing You
By Spencer Ackerman
02.15.13 10:13 AM

Space is out to kill you. There is no way to stem its aggression. But it’s usually an incompetent killer, so don’t freak out.

The last thing residents of Chelyabinsk, in central Russia, expected on Friday was to see a flaming fireball from the heavens hurtle towards their industrial city. On-scene accounts make it seem like an angry deity enacted His vengeance for some unknown slight. The meteor was actually unrelated to the 2012 DA14 asteroid near Earth, according to NASA. (Which, by the way, you can watch soar by.) But 1,000 Russians were injured from the concussive blast and flying, shattered glass.

All the advanced air defenses that humanity has invested in? The interceptor missile that are (sometimes) able to stop an adversary missile from impacting? The early-warning monitoring systems that are supposed to give humanity enough time to plan a response? They are useless, useless against a meteorite onslaught. Do not believe the stories about the Russians shooting the cosmic rock down.

“The reason, simply put, is physics,” explains Brian Weeden of the Secure Earth Foundation, a former captain and missile expert in the U.S. Air Force Space Command. Asteroids orbit the sun like Earth does, and occasionally our orbits intersect, causing the rocks to enter the atmosphere as flaming meteors screaming toward impact. They are not flying like airplanes and missiles that air defenses target. Shooting them will not change their speed or trajectory — at best, a missile impact might change its direction somewhat or shatter it into more pieces.

But let’s say that happens. What then? “Now you’ve got a shotgun blast instead of a single shot,” Weeden explains, and “all those pieces are still traveling in the same direction and at the same velocity.” Gulp.

Still, it’s vanishingly unlikely that air defense systems would be able to even make the shot. The Chelyabinsk meteor was traveling at something like 32,000 miles per hour. (A 747′s typical cruising speed? 567 miles per hour.) By the time you notice it, it’s too late to stop it.

Not that you would notice it. Meteors like the one in Chelyabinsk are going to pass through the detection systems that humans have. Telescopes pointed to space are only going to be able to see a ginormous asteroid. Missile warning and air-defense radars run via software that ignores things that aren’t planes and missiles. And the eyes of U.S. military satellites are pointed the wrong way — down toward Earth. The Defense Support Program satellite constellation, for instance, is looking for launches of things like intercontinental ballistic missiles that threaten America, using infrared. But the asteroid is cold until it enters the atmosphere.

And in this case, the asteroid was relatively small, maybe eight to ten tons. The asteroid tracking networks — run by NASA, the European Space Agency and bands of amateurs — are looking for massive space rocks, some the size of moons, and calculating their potential intersection with Earth. That process can provide early warning — years and decades out. Something small enough to slip into the atmosphere like this one is unlikely to be detected. And there’s not a weapon forged by man that could do something about it anyway, short of calling Bruce Willis.

But there’s good news. Space rocks are lousy shots. The Earth is mostly ocean and uninhabited areas. The frequency of meteorite impacts is correlated with size, Weeden explains, and the smaller the meteorites, the more often they land. “But the places where people are is actually pretty small,” he says. Even the injuries that occurred at Chelyabinsk were mostly concussions and accidents from shattered glass, not from the meteorite itself. Close but no cigar, space: “Your odds of dying by a meteor are pretty damn small. You’re thousands of times more likely to die by car on way to work.”

Believe it or not, there is actually a United Nations team convening to spare Earth from the ravages of space. Weeden just met with it in Vienna a few days ago, and its meetings are ongoing. And it has a plan.

Within the United Nations Special Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is a subcommittee on science and technology. That subcommittee has an ad hoc advisory team of dozens of space experts from around the world who try to “figure out how to coordinate detections, warnings and response, and possible deflection” of asteroids that might impact Earth, Weeden says. They’re mostly focused on the big asteroids, the ones larger than 100 meters in diameter or bigger. And among their ideas — the one that “physics says should work,” in Weeden’s phrase — is something called a Gravity Tractor.

The idea is to launch a spaceship near a nefarious asteroid. The presence of the spaceship’s inherent gravitational field should impact the asteroid’s, to the point where it might be able to shift the asteroid’s trajectory and get it to avoid the path of Earth’s celestial journey. It’s untested — and apparently it won’t even host astronauts: it’s unmanned, so Bruce Willis can take a knee. But Weeden has faith the Gravity Tractor will work. Here’s a simulation. (It’s worth mentioning that other proposals include Armageddon-style nuclear detonations, laser-beam pushes and even attaching a big-ass cord to pull the thing out of the way.)

Oh, and the name of that United Nations advisory group that came up with the Gravity Tractor? It’s called Action Team 14. “They’re not superheroes,” Weeden helpfully clarifies. But right now, superheroes are the only defense Earth has against falling space rock.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:31 PM   #44
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ery-good-idea/

The world has no real defense against killer meteors (but it has one very good idea)
Posted by Max Fisher
on February 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm

In 1908, an asteroid ripped through the Earth’s atmosphere somewhere over Tunguska, a remote region of Russia’s vast Siberian interior. Like the smaller meteor that sent a shock wave over Chelyabinsk on Friday, breaking apart catastrophically under its own weight and 10 kilometers per second speed, the Tunguska object appears to have exploded mid-air. The force of it leveled 500,000 acres of Siberian forests and may have been 1,000 times as powerful as the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.

The odds of a similar object hitting a populated area are very low, but they are not zero. And the United States, like the rest of the world, is largely defenseless if that should happen.

Wired’s Spencer Ackerman explains that “all the advanced air defenses that humanity has invested in” are “useless, useless” against meteorites. The really dangerous space debris, like the Tunguska object, are too heavy and move way too quickly to be simply shot down. Hitting a giant meteor with a missile is only going to change its trajectory or shatter it into pieces, which could make it even more dangerous. “Now you’ve got a shotgun blast instead of a single shot,” a former U.S. Air Force Space Command office tells Ackerman.

Fortunately, there is an idea for a defense – an idea that Ackerman called a “gravity tractor” and has been around for at least a few years under similar names. It turns out that you don’t need to detonate a nuclear warhead on an asteroid to change its course, you just need to place a heavy object nearby to divert its course.

If the gravity tractor ideas sounds crazy, it’s only because Hollywood has been feeding us junk science on meteors for years now. “Many people think of a planet as a vacuum cleaner whose gravity sucks in everything in its vicinity,” Gregg Easterbrook explained in a great 2008 story for The Atlantic. But it turns out that space objects are more likely to be a slingshot away from the Earth by its gravity; actually hitting the Earth requires the meteor to slip into a relatively tiny window, called a “keyhole.” And knocking it away from that keyhole should be relatively easy. Here’s Easterbrook:

Quote:
For any space object approaching a planet, there exists a “keyhole”—a patch in space where the planet’s gravity and the object’s momentum align, causing the asteroid or comet to hurtle toward the planet. Researchers have calculated the keyholes for a few space objects and found that they are tiny, only a few hundred meters across—pinpoints in the immensity of the solar system. You might think of a keyhole as the win-a-free-game opening on the 18th tee of a cheesy, incredibly elaborate miniature-golf course. All around the opening are rotating windmills, giants stomping their feet, dragons walking past, and other obstacles. If your golf ball hits the opening precisely, it will roll down a pipe for a hole in one. Miss by even a bit, and the ball caroms away.

Tiny alterations might be enough to deflect a space rock headed toward a keyhole. “The reason I am optimistic about stopping near-Earth-object impacts is that it looks like we won’t need to use fantastic levels of force,” Schweickart says. He envisions a “gravitational tractor,” a spacecraft weighing only a few tons—enough to have a slight gravitational field. If an asteroid’s movements were precisely understood, placing a gravitational tractor in exactly the right place should, ever so slowly, alter the rock’s course, because low levels of gravity from the tractor would tug at the asteroid. The rock’s course would change only by a minuscule amount, but it would miss the hole-in-one pipe to Earth.
In other words, if the gravitational tractor works like it should, we don’t have to hit the incoming meteor with a nuclear space missile, and we don’t have to deploy a crew of tough-but-sentimental action heroes to the meteor’s desolate surface. We just have to launch something heavy and unmanned to float next to the object long enough to sent it a fraction of a degree in a different direction so that it misses the “keyhole” approach.

But there is one piece of bad news. “When it comes to killer comets,” Easterbrook writes, “you’ll just have to lose sleep over the possibility of their approach; there are no proposals for what to do about them.” That threat, however remarkably minuscule, puts other international security problems, the vast majority of which are preventable, in a little bit of perspective, doesn’t it?
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:01 PM   #45
Fish Fish is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/russia-meteor/

There Is No Way to Stop Space Rocks From Hurtling to Earth and Killing You
Ohh... bullshit. We've already demonstrated that we have the ability to alter the course of asteroids.

Here's a video showing it. ~8:55 mark, he talks about how we've already altered the course of a comet. This is a really good video for those thinking this is a waste of resources and we can't actually do anything about it....

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