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(The Daily Beast)   Probably good news for doomsdayers, but NASA is shockingly unprepared for a world-ending asteroid   (thedailybeast.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Asteroid, Meteoroid, Near-Earth object, asteroid surveyors, potentially deadly near-Earth object, space program, then-Russian prime minister, decade of its launch  
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585 clicks; posted to STEM » on 27 Sep 2022 at 9:02 AM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



29 Comments     (+0 »)
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2022-09-27 9:40:32 AM  
Yet NASA is unsurprisingly better prepared for it than anyone else.

When Musk and Bezos begin diverting asteroids in deep space, let us know.
 
2022-09-27 9:40:53 AM  
Did we tell NASA that world ending asteroids were their problem? Did we provide a legal mandate and funding appropriate to the scope of the problem to enable them to plan and make the necessary preparations? I'm guessing probably not.
 
2022-09-27 9:46:44 AM  
This whole article is predicated on the assumption that there is a way to be prepared, that detecting and destroying/moving a world-ending astroid is possible.

Not that I'm a fatalist, but there are a lot of things in the universe that are completely out of our control and could suddenly end all life on Earth.
 
2022-09-27 9:53:53 AM  
I've got a few bottles of good scotch and plenty of porn; so I'm prepared for an extinction level impact.
It also means I'm prepared for Tuesday.
 
2022-09-27 10:10:16 AM  
Hot Fudge Sundae falls on a Tuesdae this month.
 
2022-09-27 10:31:36 AM  
I'm woefully unprepared for Zoe Saldana and Allison Brie coming over and demanding sexual satisfaction.

🤔
 
2022-09-27 10:37:21 AM  

thornhill: This whole article is predicated on the assumption that there is a way to be prepared, that detecting and destroying/moving a world-ending astroid is possible.

Not that I'm a fatalist, but there are a lot of things in the universe that are completely out of our control and could suddenly end all life on Earth.


We have a much better chance of deflecting an asteroid than e.g. avoiding a wandering black hole or a false-vacuum transition.
 
2022-09-27 10:44:50 AM  
I hate to break it to you, Tony -- can I call you Tony? -- but we're far more likely to bring about our own demise than an asteroid doing the job for us.  The experts have been trying to tell us for decades how to protect ourselves from our "collective doom" in the form of our almost complete disregard for the environment, but few have cared enough to listen to them.  Rest assured, Tony, that should an extinction-level asteroid hit Earth, we probably won't be here to witness it.
 
2022-09-27 10:49:27 AM  

Dhusk: Yet NASA is unsurprisingly better prepared for it than anyone else.

When Musk and Bezos begin diverting asteroids in deep space, let us know.


Well, DART was launched on a Falcon 9 so Musk did have something to do with it

Waiting eagerly for the cubesat photos- the ground based stuff makes it look like there was a *huge* debris plume so it might well have been a Bennu-like liquid rubble pile.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1574583529731670021
 
2022-09-27 10:55:39 AM  
We were unprepared for the last 10,000 years or so of our history so no big.
 
2022-09-27 10:57:20 AM  
"IMPACT SUCCESS! Watch from #DARTMIssion's DRACO Camera, as the vending machine-sized spacecraft successfully collides with asteroid Dimorphos, which is the size of a football stadium and poses no threat to Earth..."

... As the aliens on the space rock shake the vending machine constantly since it didn't properly dispense their food product sending the rock harmlessly off course from Earth.
 
2022-09-27 10:57:31 AM  

Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: Hot Fudge Sundae falls on a Tuesdae this month.


Great book until things get all Libertariany.
 
2022-09-27 11:00:20 AM  
It's obvious that NASA is shockingly unprepared?

Isn't that an oxymoron?
 
2022-09-27 12:04:43 PM  
"NASA is shockingly unprepared for a world-ending asteroid"

I never thought they were.

not shocking at all.
 
2022-09-27 12:09:09 PM  
I hear world-ending-asteroid is up 3 points in the latest 2024 polls.
 
2022-09-27 12:17:36 PM  
The world-ending asteroid has already left the base. 🙂
 
2022-09-27 12:28:32 PM  
Hey, they already made the movie about that, but nobody liked it, because we all died at the end.  It was just too realistic for a nation that survives on fantasies.

Spoiler:  We all die in the end. You too, captain of industry.  If karma existed, you'd go first.
 
2022-09-27 1:04:23 PM  
If it's world-ending, how prepared can you be?
 
2022-09-27 1:08:37 PM  

thornhill: This whole article is predicated on the assumption that there is a way to be prepared, that detecting and destroying/moving a world-ending astroid is possible.

Not that I'm a fatalist, but there are a lot of things in the universe that are completely out of our control and could suddenly end all life on Earth.


It's a good assumption.  There are a large variety of scenarios where we could detect and deflect an asteroid with existing technology if we cared to allocate the funds.
 
2022-09-27 2:21:22 PM  

Dhusk: Yet NASA is unsurprisingly better prepared for it than anyone else.

When Musk and Bezos begin diverting asteroids in deep space, let us know.


You DO know that SpaceX launched DART mission, right?
 
2022-09-27 2:25:13 PM  

Unsung_Hero: thornhill: This whole article is predicated on the assumption that there is a way to be prepared, that detecting and destroying/moving a world-ending astroid is possible.

Not that I'm a fatalist, but there are a lot of things in the universe that are completely out of our control and could suddenly end all life on Earth.

It's a good assumption.  There are a large variety of scenarios where we could detect and deflect an asteroid with existing technology if we cared to allocate the funds.


IF we had enough lead time and IF the asteroid was small enough to make that feasible. Leas than 50 years warning for an asteroid bigger than a km in diameter, there's not much we could do about it except bunker up and hope to be on a different continent of the impact site.
 
2022-09-27 2:30:00 PM  
NASA was working on this problem yesterday. Anybody else dealing with it? I thought not.
 
2022-09-27 3:52:40 PM  

akallen404: You DO know that SpaceX launched DART mission, right?



You DO know that NASA has launched thousands of missions into space without SpaceX, right?  If there had been no SpaceX NASA would have just launched the DART mission by other means.

Don't confuse the rider for the horse.
 
2022-09-27 4:21:28 PM  

Dhusk: akallen404: You DO know that SpaceX launched DART mission, right?


You DO know that NASA has launched thousands of missions into space without SpaceX, right?  If there had been no SpaceX NASA would have just launched the DART mission by other means.

Don't confuse the rider for the horse.


Though by no other measure than cost-per-kilo, I'm glad SpaceX exists.

Tail landing reusable rockets are also a nice development that might have taken a long time to happen under the old status quo, too.
 
2022-09-27 5:05:44 PM  

Dhusk: Yet NASA is unsurprisingly better prepared for it than anyone else.

When Musk and Bezos begin diverting asteroids in deep space, let us know.


Yeah, but they not even at the kiddie-pool level yet.  World-ending asteroids need a long detection window and nuclear-tipped rockets.  Nothing else is even in the ballpark in terms of deflection per pound of payload.

akallen404: IF we had enough lead time and IF the asteroid was small enough to make that feasible. Leas than 50 years warning for an asteroid bigger than a km in diameter, there's not much we could do about it except bunker up and hope to be on a different continent of the impact site.


Orion.  You just need to keep the individual booms small enough to you don't end up scattering the target.
 
2022-09-27 6:35:24 PM  
shockingly

I have never once thought that NASA would protect anyone from a world-ending asteroid.
 
2022-09-27 7:16:53 PM  

Dhusk: akallen404: You DO know that SpaceX launched DART mission, right?


You DO know that NASA has launched thousands of missions into space without SpaceX, right?


Right.

THIS mission was not one of them.

And after the retirement of the Delta IV heavy and the Atlas V, and Vulcan centaur being dependent on a brand new engine that runs entirely on vaporware, the next one won't be either.
 
2022-09-27 7:21:49 PM  

Loren: Orion.  You just need to keep the individual booms small enough to you don't end up scattering the target.


Exactly. THAT would take at least 20 years of constant thrust to create the desired deflection, and it would take us 20 years or so to develop the vehicle capable of making the trip, and AT LEAST that long to manufacture enough nuclear warheads to do the job (in addition to the ones we already have).

If the asteroid is much bigger than about 900 meters, the necessary lead time gets exponentially longer. To deflect something as large as the Chixihlub impactor, we'd need about 150 years and 8 times more megatonnage than every nuclear power on Earth combined has ever actually produced.
 
2022-09-28 3:22:28 PM  

akallen404: Loren: Orion.  You just need to keep the individual booms small enough to you don't end up scattering the target.

Exactly. THAT would take at least 20 years of constant thrust to create the desired deflection, and it would take us 20 years or so to develop the vehicle capable of making the trip, and AT LEAST that long to manufacture enough nuclear warheads to do the job (in addition to the ones we already have).

If the asteroid is much bigger than about 900 meters, the necessary lead time gets exponentially longer. To deflect something as large as the Chixihlub impactor, we'd need about 150 years and 8 times more megatonnage than every nuclear power on Earth combined has ever actually produced.


Sure of those numbers?  I've never played with the math on keeping from disrupting the target but even using Orion numbers for drive efficiency (and they can do better--Orion cared about not destroying the vehicle, for asteroid deflection you don't care about damage so you can use a much lower standoff distance and get close to 50%.  Use Casaba howitzer charges and that probably goes a lot higher, but those numbers are still classified) produce surprising low numbers for the total boom needed if you have a good lead time.  Remember, the deflection is speed * duration--if you can shove the rock 1 m/s a year out it will miss.
 
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