Thursday, February 10, 2011

Asteroids & Missing Information

DHS 169

Lacking perfection
Beauty dwells amidst absence
One lost character

I find this a fascinating story:

In short, an asteroid called Apophis is headed in the direction of our home planet. It's bigger than the one that hit in Siberia that you've probably seen pictures of with all the trees blown down. It's smaller than the one that hit off the Yucatan Peninsula a few hundred thousand years ago killing off the dinosaurs (and giving us humans room to survive). But, it is big enough to destroy an entire nation and, depending where it hits throw the world economy into a shambles.

It will first pass the earth in 2029 — within 20,000 miles — and everyone agrees that it will not hit the earth, although you will be able to see it pass with the naked eye, and it will probably be bright enough to cast a shadow. I.E., it will out shine the moon as it flashes through the atmosphere. That's close!

The problems come up on it's second pass in 2036. NASA says the odds are it will not hit us; end of story. A Russian scientist say, yes, the odds are against it, but they are not trivial odds so that shouldn't be the end of the story, we should be making 18 and 25 year plans on a) what to do to mitigate the chances and b) what to do in case it does hit.

Fascinating stuff. Big enough to take out an entire nation, with huge potential ripple effects on the world economy. Big enough to cause a tsunami that would take out the entire east or west coast of the US depending where it hit. And a non-zero probability of striking. Amazing.


Anonymous said...

Amazing. Non-zero probability and nobody seems worried?

But you aren't asking the pertinent question, what will it do to my favorite Bar in Limbe

Lao Bendan said...

I haven't decided if no one appears worried because they aren't or because they are afraid to admit they are, which could scare a lot of people. Just think what would happen if Ms. Palin decided to get her teeth into this story --- no one would walk away uninjured and the entire nation would be completely petrified! For 25 years!

But, in any case, if Limbe is on the northern side of the impact crater, then no problem, move upscale and go to the bars in Nkambe. :-) If the entire country disappears, then, well, everyone meets in Bamenda or Buea to celebrate together over their last beers.

Dan said...

But I'd hate to think the beach house would be gone, or Mars bar destroyed. Heck, I'd even miss the house you had in Buea, even though it's been 20 years since I've seen either.