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13020 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Mar 2012 at 2:07 PM   |  Favorite    |   share:    more»

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Maybe Ben can throw an animal cracker at it

I am certain that if this hits the earth and dooms mankind, I am somehow, however miniscule, going to be at fault.

JustSeanV67: Jubeebee: dopeydwarf: vpb: If we launch Bruce Willis on a collision course at a high enough velocity would that deflect it?

Yes. Yes he would.

Emergency Bruce Willis Asteroid Deflection Projectile:

Assume Bruce Willis weighs 90kg.

We accelerate Bruce Willis to 15km/s relative to the asteroid (Earth escape velocity is 11.2km/s, and we want to do things right, so we'll go a bit faster than that, plus the velocity of the oncoming asteroid).

Kinetic energy = 1/2 mv2

Kinetic energy for the Emergency Bruce Willis Asteroid Deflection Projectile: 1/2 90*15,000^2 = 10,125,000,000j

1kg TNT ~4200j

Bruce Willis will impact the asteroid with the force of 2,410,714.3kg of TNT, or roughly 1.2 megatons.

The asteroid, and Bruce Willis, will be vaporized in the explosion.

You magnificent Bastard!

Well, for someone like Bruce, that would be the ideal way to go out. I bet he'd be willing to do it as well. He's still at the top of his game, but he can't be a bad-ass forever. And what would be more bad-ass then kicking an asteroid right in the daddy bags?

Of course if we didn't want anyone to be killed, we could always use Chuck Norris. But using Chuck Norris has inherent problems too.
Chuck Norris, farkers, is a 90-kilo hard-as-steel man, feel the weight. Assuming we accelerate him to 1.3% of light-speed. He will impacts with the force of a 1.2 megaton bomb. That is six times the yield of the city-buster dropped on Hiroshima back on Earth. That means- Sir Issac Newton is the deadliest son-of-a-biatch in space. Now, what is Newton's first law? An object in motion stays in motion, unless acted on by an outside force.
I dare to assume you ignorant jackasses know that space is empty. Once you fire this hunk, he keeps going til he hits something. That can be a ship. Or the planet behind that ship. He might go off into deep space and hit somebody else in ten thousand years. If we pull the trigger on this, we are ruining someone's day, somewhere and sometime. That is why we need to check the targets. That is why we wait for the computer to give you a damn firing solution. That is why, fellow Farkers, we do not "eyeball it". This is a weapon of mass destruction. You are not a cowboy shooting from the hip!

aphexcoil: Roadogs: make me some tea: Eh, it'll likely hit in the ocean or Africa or somewhere worthless anyway. Why waste money on a deflection campaign?

Because of the tsunami, silly.

[i43.tinypic.com image 640x480]

Just for comparison, the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake had a total energy release of 9,600 gigatons.

trollface.jpg

RexTalionis: Without knowing more, putting a 140 meter asteroid of dense rock into the asteroid impact calculator using average results yields a potential impact force of about 149 megatons.

meh only 100MT (new window)
if it hits

now
if it hits, it will hit the ocean (better than 70% chance?), that will put a shiat ton of water and particulate into the atmosphere. hello global cooling. what'cha doing??

Sir Vanderhoot: This isn't a war, where all your resources are spent in a vacuum and don't come home.

Actually, that doesn't even describe a war. Technical innovations that come out of major wars are *VERY* valuable.

MooseUpNorth:
a) You can't complete a journey by never taking the first step.
b) What's the point of sending robots if we're not looking to go ourselves?

The goal of expanding (or preserving) life will probably be accomplished by sending out replicating molecules tended for thousands of years by AI. The scale of 'light years' is simply too daunting, the limits on speed, limits on the fuel budgets for of human requirements etc.; things machines don't need.

Sending AI and robots is easier, cheaper, safer and the information gained can be essentially the same.

Astronomers find an asteroid that has a 1 in 625 chance of hitting the Earth in 2040. Do they a) call Bruce Willis, b) panic, or c) thoughtfully debate what to do about it?

d) RON PAUL,his son Rand, and their followers convince everyone that the asteroid is not our problem, so the US does nothing about it; the other countries of the world band together, reach a consensus on how to solve the problem, and solve it; their collaboration and success bring those nations together to form a global economic and technological alliance which includes all nations except the United States. The rest of the world lives in peace and prosperity while people here in the US try to figure out whether or not life begins when a woman agrees to go out on a date with a man.

namatad: RexTalionis: Without knowing more, putting a 140 meter asteroid of dense rock into the asteroid impact calculator using average results yields a potential impact force of about 149 megatons.

meh only 100MT (new window)
if it hits

now
if it hits, it will hit the ocean (better than 70% chance?), that will put a shiat ton of water and particulate into the atmosphere. hello global cooling. what'cha doing??

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

just passing through: [chrispetersen25.files.wordpress.com image 402x175]

Maybe Ben can throw an animal cracker at it

Or possibly N'Sync.

oren0: Given that they know when and from which direction the impact would be in 2040, shouldn't they have a decent idea of roughly where on the Earth this would hit (at least which hemisphere would face it)? It would seem silly for the US to borrow money from China to deflect this if it's going to hit the other side of the world.

lol
no

we have no idea what minor orbital variations will happen in the next 28 years and no method to calculate the many body solution required to perfectly predict if it will hit and at what time. figure that the estimate of what time it would hit is +/- 12 hours, which covers the whole planet.
a land hit would put billions of tons of ash and dust into the atmosphere. an ocean strike would add billions of tons of water to that blanket

Bit'O'Gristle: The asteroid, called 2011 AG5, was discovered in early 2011 by a telescopic survey of the sky designed to look for asteroids that can get near the Earth. Although its exact size is unknown, it's roughly 140 meters across - the size of a football stadium. As you can see from this diagram, it orbits the Sun on an elliptical path that brings it out past the orbit of Mars and inside the orbit of Earth. It circles the Sun once every 1.7 years.

Let's see..orbits us once every roughly 2 years, been doing that for millions of years and has not hit us..ya..im not sweating.

An asteroid of that size hits us occasionally, last such hit was 1908 in Tunguska, Russia.

aphexcoil: Again, it makes no sense to single out one 140 meter wide asteroid when a few 400-500 meter wide asteroids are on a collision course towards Earth within the next 1,000 years and yet we don't have a clue as to where they are right now. That's great if we spend the resources to deflect one asteroid, but what we really need are the resources to find and catalog all threats so that we know exactly how much we really need to invest in an Asteroid Deflection Program.

I am pretty sure 400-500 meter asteroids don't hit that frequently, since such an impact would probably kill half a continent or more.

way south: namatad: RexTalionis: Without knowing more, putting a 140 meter asteroid of dense rock into the asteroid impact calculator using average results yields a potential impact force of about 149 megatons.

meh only 100MT (new window)
if it hits

now
if it hits, it will hit the ocean (better than 70% chance?), that will put a shiat ton of water and particulate into the atmosphere. hello global cooling. what'cha doing??

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

and you are a troll or stupid??
the CLOUD cover would block out the sun, causing massive cooling.
this would be similar to the cooling which happens when volcanoes erupt.

evaned:

Aphexcoil: Spending billions of dollars on something that has 1 in 625 chance of becoming a problem doesn't seem like very good math to me.

And this is why TFA had a notice to actually read it before commenting.

No one (except you, apparently) is proposing actually making a craft to deflect it. They're not even proposing designing such a craft at this point. The "we should do this now" proposal is merely to look at things like when we'd want to launch, how much delta-V needs to be applied, that sort of thing, in case AG5 emerges from behind the sun in 2013 and we go "oh shiat".

My guess is you're looking at low six figures at worst. And that definitely sounds like a good bet to me... heck, even if you assume we can deflect it after it goes through the keyhole, if the after-keyhole mission would cost more than about \$60 million more than the before-keyhole mission, you've statistically won out. And that's not even looking at cost-of-impact.

No one is proposing building something to deflect this one.

However, it happens to have a few million friends out there and sooner or later we're going to need that skill rather urgently. I'd rather we be working on it now rather than at the 11th hour.

Sir Vanderhoot: aphexcoil: Spending billions of dollars on something that has 1 in 625 chance of becoming a problem doesn't seem like very good math to me. Furthermore, a rock that size isn't going to do much damage globally, but I definitely wouldn't want to be in the same country that it hit. Are other countries going to contribute to asteroid deflection? It has a greater chance of hitting the ocean which means coastal cities would be more at risk. Since I live in Denver, I doubt I'll see much flooding from it.

Also, what if we're wrong in our calculations, send some sort of probe or nuclear weapon up to greet it and actually knock it into the keyhole? Wouldn't that be awesome -- our very attempts to save a few million people are the very source of their deaths.

140 meters isn't that much bigger than the one that caused the Tunguska event. At what size does it become economically beneficial to deflect an asteroid? 50 meters? 100 meters? 500 meters? If it's not a global scale event, how are we going to fund a worldwide defense system among other countries?

You assume that any money spent on this is instantly lost. This isn't a war, where all your resources are spent in a vacuum and don't come home. The moon landings didn't bring all that much science knowledge directly, but it brought a metric ton of engineering tech with it indirectly. For every dollar you sink into this plan you'll get a whole lot more in return later, it just won't be obvious until afterwards.

And no, it won't do much on a global scale, but on the off chance it lands near civilization you'll be singing a different tune. Tunguska was on the order of tens of meters, across, this is quite a bit larger, and can do a lot of damage if it lands in an unlucky spot. Well worth putting serious thought into.

People like Quantum Apostrophe and Doubled99 have assured me that nothing of value has ever come from a space program. Vociferously. Repeatedly. So they must be right.

I'm betting it hits a supervolcano, Yellowstone or Lake Taupa are likely targets.

/if only it was carrying a virus too

aphexcoil: Spending billions of dollars on something that has 1 in 625 chance of becoming a problem doesn't seem like very good math to me. Furthermore, a rock that size isn't going to do much damage globally, but I definitely wouldn't want to be in the same country that it hit. Are other countries going to contribute to asteroid deflection? It has a greater chance of hitting the ocean which means coastal cities would be more at risk. Since I live in Denver, I doubt I'll see much flooding from it.

Also, what if we're wrong in our calculations, send some sort of probe or nuclear weapon up to greet it and actually knock it into the keyhole? Wouldn't that be awesome -- our very attempts to save a few million people are the very source of their deaths.

140 meters isn't that much bigger than the one that caused the Tunguska event. At what size does it become economically beneficial to deflect an asteroid? 50 meters? 100 meters? 500 meters? If it's not a global scale event, how are we going to fund a worldwide defense system among other countries?

Perhaps you missed the part in Phil's article where he says that nobody is advocating actually building the mission yet. They're primarily advocating that we begin the academic exercises need to prepare for a mission should we find out it's going to be required. That doesn't cost billions of dollars.

I tend to agree with Phil in this case. It's kind of like war planning, in that we have a potential threat looming off in the distance. There is no harm in performing mental exercises to prepare ourselves in the event it becomes an actual threat. That way we're already a few steps ahead of the game, giving us, in this case, an additional 18 months or so to design and build the actual mission vehicles themselves. If we find out, as is most likely, that there actually is no threat, then no harm is done and we'll be able to draw a number of lessons from the process, better preparing us for the next time a threat such as this comes along.

Will it cost money? Sure, a little bit, but definitely not billions.

whither_apophis: I'm betting it hits a supervolcano, Yellowstone or Lake Taupa are likely targets.

/if only it was carrying a virus too

Lake Taupo

ftfm

The author seems to suggest that we can't wait until 2013 to refine the numbers, and have to start planning now for 2040. Really? That one year is going to be the difference between being able to do something and being completely screwed?

Raoul Eaton: Can someone please put this into an arbitrary political context, so I can know whether I'm pro-asteroid or anti-asteroid based on my ideological loyalties?

Well, if we pray hard enough, God will save us from the asteroid.

It's not if something will hit us, it's when. If not 2040 it will be some other time, but it will happen.

MindStalker: An asteroid of that size hits us occasionally, last such hit was 1908 in Tunguska, Russia.

No, that was actually Azathoth.

Virtuoso80: The author seems to suggest that we can't wait until 2013 to refine the numbers, and have to start planning now for 2040. Really? That one year is going to be the difference between being able to do something and being completely screwed?

No, it's to start planning for 2023, when the asteroid would potentially hit the keyhole. If we miss that date and the asteroid hits the keyhole, deflection becomes much harder.

namatad: way south: namatad: RexTalionis: Without knowing more, putting a 140 meter asteroid of dense rock into the asteroid impact calculator using average results yields a potential impact force of about 149 megatons.

meh only 100MT (new window)
if it hits

now
if it hits, it will hit the ocean (better than 70% chance?), that will put a shiat ton of water and particulate into the atmosphere. hello global cooling. what'cha doing??

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

and you are a troll or stupid??
the CLOUD cover would block out the sun, causing massive cooling.
this would be similar to the cooling which happens when volcanoes erupt.

The humidity would trap heat closer to the ground, probably nulling out the temporary effect of cloud cover. I don't think it's the same thing as blowing sulphur into the upper atmosphere.

Carousel Beast: People like Quantum Apostrophe and Doubled99 have assured me that nothing of value has ever come from a space program. Vociferously. Repeatedly. So they must be right.

That's because QA is 2500 years old and has seen everything, man.

way south: The humidity would trap heat closer to the ground, probably nulling out the temporary effect of cloud cover.

If the sunlight is reflected before it gets to the ground, what heat is being trapped again?

I say let BP have a chance at drilling the hole.

Raoul Eaton: Can someone please put this into an arbitrary political context, so I can know whether I'm pro-asteroid or anti-asteroid based on my ideological loyalties?

Let's just go with the following. If it hits, it's going to fark up your party of choice.

abb3w: Start the basic design process, already. An asteroid redirector is something humanity is likely to need eventually. Worst come to worst, the government can leave the outline on file and update the details periodically until it's actually needed. Sort of like the US plan for invading Canada.

/I wonder what their current counter-invasion plan looks like these days....

Yeah, like the criminal organization called government is interested in actually providing valuable goods and services instead of pretending to do so while pocketing the loot. Honestly, if they were that capable, they'd never bother to get into government.

/go ahead though, and pretend criminals aren't really into crime...

Knows the odds...

\hot like a cracked mantle.

dittybopper: Sir Vanderhoot: This isn't a war, where all your resources are spent in a vacuum and don't come home.

Actually, that doesn't even describe a war. Technical innovations that come out of major wars are *VERY* valuable.

When someone budgets for a war, or votes for money "for the troops", does that include R&D? I always assumed that research was a much steadier income than the big budget war operations spending.

But fair point, I wasn't sure how to phrase briefly that war spending was a much worse ROI than space spending. NDT has been on a media blitz recently and tosses around the number of 1.7 (I think?) as an ROI for every dollar invested in space. When you're only looking to make one of something (instead of thousands or more) a greater proportion of money goes to research versus manufacturing. Manufacturing money doesn't really come back (re-purposed post-WWII factories notwithstanding).

I'll be almost 80 by then, you're on your own.

namatad: RexTalionis: Without knowing more, putting a 140 meter asteroid of dense rock into the asteroid impact calculator using average results yields a potential impact force of about 149 megatons.

meh only 100MT (new window)
if it hits

now
if it hits, it will hit the ocean (better than 70% chance?), that will put a shiat ton of water and particulate into the atmosphere. hello global cooling. what'cha doing??

Tsar Bomba was 50 MT. No lasting environmental effects.

abb3w: Start the basic design process, already. An asteroid redirector is something humanity is likely to need eventually. Worst come to worst, the government can leave the outline on file and update the details periodically until it's actually needed. Sort of like the US plan for invading Canada.

/I wonder what their current counter-invasion plan looks like these days....

They had to reevaluate their invasion plan when they lost their tank.

Well, it isn't really lost. Jason has it, but he is fishing and not answering his cell.

Gabrielmot: Raoul Eaton: Can someone please put this into an arbitrary political context, so I can know whether I'm pro-asteroid or anti-asteroid based on my ideological loyalties?

I'll do you one better... (a few Fark perspectives before they post)

1. If I can't see it with my naked eyes, it must not exist, and therefore I'm smarter than all of you mouth breathers out there who believe an all powerful sky rock is going to destroy you in 2040.

2. I believe in the all powerful sky rock and know it's going to destroy us all because homos are having too much gay abortion after worshiping Satan by believing in evolution.

3. This is all O'dumbo's fault and the only way to fix it is elect Jesus riding a Dinosaur in 2012 as President with McCain as Vice President of course.

4. It's Bush's fault.

You forgot:

5). RON PAUL

No skin off my nose... by 2040 I'll be pretty much done with this place.

The Bad Astronomer: RexTalionis: Without knowing more, putting a 140 meter asteroid of dense rock into the asteroid impact calculator using average results yields a potential impact force of about 149 megatons.

Assuming a density of about 2 grams per cc, the yield is 100 megatons, so that's about right. The density of AG5 isn't known; even the size is an estimate based on distance, brightness, and an average albedo (reflectivity). In September 2013 we may get better observations that nail down the spectrum, which will allow a better understanding of the composition.

As I point out in the linked article, the exact mass makes a difference in the deflection mission profile, so we need as much info as possible.

/dammit, and I swore I'd never write such a serious comment on Fark

Hey BA, is this really a 1D problem? (or 2D depending on what you are talking about) I mean is the keyhole really the distance between two points or is it an area? In other words do the sun, the earth (and it's orbit) and this asteroid (and it's orbit... and any other body that effects the asteroid's path) all lie in a plane? Well, obviously, they aren't exactly in a plane but is it enough so that the z direction doesn't matter? Just curious.

FTFA: "As it happens, the orbit of AG5 brings it close to Earth every few orbits. In 2023, it will pass us at a distance of about 1.6 million km (1 million miles). That's a safe distance, with no chance of it hitting us at all. However, you have to appreciate the gravity of this upcoming situation."

Am I the only one who heard a rimshot when I read that sentence?

Someone needs to market a chocolate bar with astronomical profiles inside the wrappers: the orbit and velocity of various asteroids; the declination, right ascension and magnitude of stars; or depth and location of maria and rills.

It will be called the H-Bar.

I will eat so many! Phil, use your marketing power to make this happen!

/Plancking is fun

Pffft. An easy problem to solve. We'll just all face the direction from which the asteroid is coming and blow really hard. That should take care of it.

Herbie555: FTFA: "As it happens, the orbit of AG5 brings it close to Earth every few orbits. In 2023, it will pass us at a distance of about 1.6 million km (1 million miles). That's a safe distance, with no chance of it hitting us at all. However, you have to appreciate the gravity of this upcoming situation."

Am I the only one who heard a rimshot when I read that sentence?

no

Coelacanth: Deal is, what if that thing has something we need? Like gold or copper?

Go get your baseball glove and try to catch it. You'll be rich!

FTGodWin: Yeah, like the criminal organization called government is interested in actually providing valuable goods and services instead of pretending to do so while pocketing the loot. Honestly, if they were that capable, they'd never bother to get into government.

Ehhh, I'l give it a 3.5/10. Needs more RON PAUL.

This text is now purple: namatad: RexTalionis: Without knowing more, putting a 140 meter asteroid of dense rock into the asteroid impact calculator using average results yields a potential impact force of about 149 megatons.

meh only 100MT (new window)
if it hits

now
if it hits, it will hit the ocean (better than 70% chance?), that will put a shiat ton of water and particulate into the atmosphere. hello global cooling. what'cha doing??

Tsar Bomba was 50 MT. No lasting environmental effects.

The volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 had a 200MT yield.

150 megatons? I don't think that's enough to destroy all of Florida. Unless I forgot to carry the 1.

Jake Havechek: It's not if something will hit us, it's when. If not 2040 it will be some other time, but it will happen.

It doesn't have to happen, we're perfectly capable of deflecting an asteroid given a properly funded space program. We think anyway. It would be nice to know that we're fully capable before one hits you know but so far all we've got are some strong ideas based on our limited understanding of these NEO's. We haven't done a bad job so far in detecting them, but the effort is underfunded (new window) and honestly, how much money would be too much for peace of mind as a species?

It'd still be a very small, affordable amount at any rate. Oh, and while you think about that. It isn't the big ones you have to worry about so much, we're pretty good at tracking those. The smaller ones that can still say take out a city, we aren't so good at tracking. the point is, it makes all the sense in the world because its an investment in our future.

Virtuoso80: The author seems to suggest that we can't wait until 2013 to refine the numbers, and have to start planning now for 2040. Really? That one year is going to be the difference between being able to do something and being completely screwed?

No, they expect to downgrade the threat of the asteroid but can't do that until they get a better look at it next year.

The space rock is currently located in the daytime sky, so astronomers cannot make more observations from Earth until its orbit swings into the nighttime sky. That will occur in a next year, Yeomans said.

"In September 2013, we have the opportunity to make additional observations of 2011 AG5 when it comes within 91 million miles (147 million kilometers) of Earth," Yeomans said. "It will be an opportunity to observe this space rock and further refine its orbit."

BitTwist: Damn bugs have been shooting things from Klendathu again.

You know what, I know this is a bit off topic but I never understood that part of Starship troopers. Now, guaranteed I never read the book and only watched the film so maybe the book explained this but, how the hell did the bugs managed to push an asteroid against us in the film? They had no technology so I can't understand:

1. How they managed to push the asteroid in the first place
2. How they knew where to aim it even if they found a way to push one

Anyone wanna explain that for me?

Since people are making lots of random guesses about what the expense of a study like the one proposed by the ex-astronaut in the article would cost, lets see if we can get at least into the right ballpark. My hunch is it will fall between the "six figures" and "ten's of millions".

So, this is just a prep study, so figure mostly higher level program and project manager types, plus of course a few engineers and procurment types just to cover the whole spectrum of mobilization for a potential large Asteroid Deflection Project.

I'd guess all you would need is maybe 20 staff. They have 18 months, and no "product" is required, not even a finished design, just project planning and office work.

Lets say 5 guys that probably avg. 150K/year (this is government work, so the actual salaries can't get that high)

10 guys in the middle probably pull in 100K on avg. as experienced planners

and say 5 guys at the bottom making 50K avg. that includes some mid level guys and maybe an entry level grunt or two to make the coffee and print meeting agendas.

I don't think this job would require extensive travel or subcontracting. Nor would it need any new software developed or anything outside of what we can assume NASA has for its use in-house. Just because there are always some costs, big-wigs need to pitch the project in DC, gonna cost some change for a nice suite in Crystal City and a cab into town. Lets say 100K per year, for all expenses relating to travel and project-specific overhead.

Now, these guys need a place to sit and work, that shiat ain't free, but they can certainly find a little nook somewhwere in an existing building, but providing office space, computers, conference rooms, phone systems, and possibly things like smart phones, lets guess that the total overhead per year for non-project specific items would be 250K. This depends a lot on the cost of commercial space whereever this project is headquartered, but it seems like a reasonably conservative estimate to me.

So, that gives us a per year cost of:

750K + 1,000K + 250K = 2 million/year labor by employee salary = X 2 because labor costs more to the employer than the paycheck the employee gets. Payroll taxes, FICA, insurance, etc.

=4 million per year total labor cost to the project
+350K in overhead = 4.35 million/year

18mo = \$6.525 Million

6.25 Million to put us in a higher state of readiness for a 0.16% chance that the asteroid hits the keyhole in 2023.

Not a big chunk of change in the grand scheme of things, but hey, who wouldn't want \$6M in their bank account instead of spending it on a long shot.

We should observe more, there is a good chance mystery science theater 3000 is engraved on the far side. We don't want to mess up the engraved side with any deflection mission.

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