Alan Boyle has a report on today’s House hearing on the asteroid threat.
[Update a while later]
Here‘s Clara Moskowitz’s report on the hearing.
“If it’s coming in three weeks … pray,” Bolden said.
No. The correct answer is evacuate. We need to be rational if we are going to spend resources the best we can and so get the best outcomes.
That was my thought as well, Doug … plan for an evacuation if you can get a fix on the anticipated impact zone, but in any case gear up for the emergency response.
Day 1. Order “Lucifer’s Hammer” from Amazon. I recommend next-day delivery.
Day 2. Read it.
Day 3 through 21. Anticipate and apply what you learned on day 2.
And, oh yeah, brush up on how to make mustard gas.
I invited the neighbor — he was out dog walking — to go out to the school athletic field to look for Comet Pan-STARRS.
“What comet is that?”
“Pan-STARRS. Comets are named after their discoverer. This comet was discovered by a robotic telescope. Don’t know what that telescope is for, maybe to tell us if we are about to be smashed by an asteroid?”
“Oh yeah? If they find such an asteroid, do you think they would even tell us?”
“For sure. They will even send Billy Bob Thornton, or what is that name of that guy from the Die Hard movies? They will send one of those guys up to take care of it.”
It turns out that the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is for real and so is the comet.
There is a short window of time to view the comet. It took until 8 PM local Daylight time, about one hour after sunset at 7 PM, for it to be dark enough to see. We were only able to see it until about 8:30 PM when it set. You also need an unobstructed view of the sunset in the west, and you need clear skies, which we have in Wisconsin right now with that winter blast we are getting on the start of Spring.
I was able to pick the comet out naked eye as a fuzzy smudge using the viewing technique of “averted imagination.” The naked-eye ID was confirmed with binoculars. If you have large aperture binoculars or a small telescope, the comet is golden colored with a nice dust tail.
Ask yourself: how many people have died from asteroid impacts?
Then ask yourself: how many dinosaurs?
Yeah, but dinosaurs were so huge that it’s not like the asteroid could miss.
Apparently, some people think 95% coverage of the planet killers is enough. Even if that number meant what they thought it meant – it doesn’t, all it means if that we’ve seen a given asteroid of the expected population at least once – it only takes one hit. No amount of Really Good Looking is going to defend the planet from the next extinction level event. We need to get into space.
If Ben Franklin were alive today, he’d know that, but nobody would listen to him. Ignorance is much more dangerous than asteroids.
Bolden says he needs $750/yr. (19x increase.) Does the B612 foundation need that much since they plan to launch their equipment in about three yrs?
Since protecting us is a constitutional required and the SLS isn’t, perhaps some of the $10b they’ve already spent could have been put to better use?
Bolden says he needs $750/yr.
Holdren, not Bolden, said NASA would need $500 to $750 million.
That’s total, not “per year.”
Other than that, you got everything right.
Must have been one of my good days.
Finding an incoming asteroid a decade or more in advance would provide sufficient motivation to get into space (at least a deflection mission).
Say you’re playing a form of Russian roulette where each person spins the chamber five times, points the gun at their head and pulls the trigger. Who is at greater risk?
1) The person who has one try left after having known himself to be lucky at having survived the first four tries or,
2) The person who has the full five tries remaining in the future?
Can’t even get most of the government concerned about THE imminent financial crisis….the one that’s happening before their very eyes.
So it’s hard to imagine they’d worry much about an potential asteroid hit.
Government, being run as it is by politicians, exists to exploit problems rather than solve them. If we want a government approach to the asteroid threat we need to point out the opportunities for, and potential quantities of, graft.
During the War of 1812, the British burned much of Washington DC. And to think, we never had the descency to thank them. While the odds are against it, perhaps our best hope is for a city-destroyer to hit DC while all the politicians are in town.
>While the odds are against it, perhaps our best hope is for a
>city-destroyer to hit DC while all the politicians are in town.
If that happened I’d have to reevaluate my atheist position as I could not imagine a stronger sign of a “loving God”.
I LOVE the smell of fear-mongering in the morning. It smells like . . . funding.
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