Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hits and Near Misses

Yesterday was quite the day for cosmic encounters, and I'm not talking about green alien babes. Yesterday, a meteor believed to be the size of a bus caused injuries to approximately 1,000 people in Russia and an asteroid about 45 meters in diameter passed close to the Earth. Alarming chunks of space rock certainly dominated the news yesterday.

Of course, asteroid monitoring is crucial if we wish to avoid the (probable) fate of the dinosaurs, although one of the most ambitious asteroid monitoring proposals is coming from a private non-profit organization. It's especially crucial that an agressive monitoring plan is put into place, as it's possible that an asteroid will hit the planet in a few decades. It's not like a near-Earth object monitoring project is a new thing.

If an asteroid is found to be on a collision course with the Earth, there are several proposals for altering the course of the rock, perhaps the best proposal I've heard, in person from (you're going to be jealous) Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is sending a small spacecraft to rendevous with said asteroid in order to use gravity to "steer" it. No need for massive nuclear bombs, which could compound the problem.

Of course, I can't finish this post without getting in a political dig. I'm willing to pay extra taxes for a government project which could save the human species from potential extinction, and most people would agree with me unless they're Austrian school libertarians.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

...unless they're Austrian school libertarians.

Which is to say, unless they're fans of a completely fraudulent branch of economic thought.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

There's got to be a "Near Mises" joke here.