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« Don't Look Right At It | Main | Space Needs Supermodels! »

Dangerous Mistaken Identity

Jay Manifold has been ahead of the curve on this one for months, but now Space News has a story by Leonard David about the danger of an asteroid strike being mistaken for a nuclear strike. It's particularly pertinent now, given the tensions in Kashmir.

It's actually a good overview of both the danger and promise of asteroids, based on discussions that came out of the recent International Space Development Conference.

Asteroids are interesting from a scientific and space industrialization basis, as well as being a threat, [General] Worden said.

"For fear?for greed?for curiosity. Asteroids are about the only thing in space that combine all three of those," Worden concluded.

And planetary scientist Clark Chapman echos the points that I (and many others) have been making for months (on this weblog) and years (in other venues):

"Unlike the dinosaurs, the big picture is that we do have the capability and intelligence to protect ourselves from this threat. The questions are?will we take a gamble and submit to fate? Or do we undertake a measured, rationale response? The first element is to educate ourselves and our leaders about this issue, and rationally decide what fraction of our budget should be devoted to protecting our planet," Chapman said.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 10, 2002 08:07 AM
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IIRC the late science-fiction writer H. Beam Piper wrote a short story which climaxed with the discovery that World War III had been triggered by a meteor strike mistaken for a nuclear attack. The story was published at least in the early 1960s -- possibly earlier.

Posted by Patrick Phillips at June 10, 2002 01:26 PM

It depends on the size of the asteroid. If it's big enough we might wish, that it were a nuclear war instead.

Posted by mark smith at June 10, 2002 02:53 PM

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