This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

01 November 2007

Article: What to Do Before The Asteroid Strikes

Good summary article, selections from the article...

Because Apophis was discovered during one of the world’s greatest natural disasters, the worries about the impact went largely unnoticed. But that tense day, December 26, 2004, stunned the small group of astronomers who dutifully detect and plot trajectories of hundreds of thousands of the millions of chunks of rock whizzing around the solar system. Though too small to end civilization—unlike the asteroid that may have doomed the dinosaurs—Apophis could pack a punch comparable to a large nuclear weapon. Traveling at 28,000 miles per hour, it would heat up as it passed through Earth’s atmosphere, turning the dark rock into a fiery sun as it arced across the sky. Then it would either explode just aboveground—as one most likely did in 1908, leveling a vast forest in the Tunguska region of Siberia—or gouge a crater 20 times its size. “If it hit London, there would be no London,” says Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, who had closely followed the discussion of the potential 2029 impact. Slamming into the ocean, Apophis could create a tsunami dwarfing the one that killed more than 200,000 people around Indonesia.

Schweickart was deeply shaken by the Apophis experience. “I don’t know how to transmit to you the emotion, the level of intensity of a group of people you could name on two hands during those days in December 2004,” he says. His interest in the asteroid threat extended back to 2001, when he and a few colleagues sat down at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston just six weeks after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington to discuss ways to deflect an incoming asteroid.

"What to Do Before The Asteroid Strikes: The doomsday rock is out there. It’s just a matter of time..."
Andrew Lawler
01 November 2007
Discover Magazine

Link: Article (Discover Magazine)

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