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Space Science

Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the we're-doomed dept.
PipianJ writes "A recent preprint posted on arXiv by Vadim Bobylev presents some startling new numbers about a future close pass of one of our stellar neighbors. Based on studies of the Hipparcos catalog, Bobylev suggests that the nearby orange dwarf Gliese 710 has an 86% chance of skirting the outer bounds of the Solar System and the hypothesized Oort Cloud in the next 1.5 million years. As the Oort Cloud is thought to be the source of many long-period comets, the gravitational effects of Gliese's passing could send a shower of comets into the inner Solar System, threatening Earth. This news about Gliese 710 isn't exactly new, but it's one of the first times the probability of this near-miss has been quantified."
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Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:29PM (#31459398)

    It's WASTE, you goddamn illiterate moron.

  • Re:FSM SAVE US! (Score:3, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:33PM (#31459446) Homepage Journal

    Elron Hubbard?

  • Re:Nemesis (Score:5, Informative)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:39PM (#31459532) Journal

    Would stars like this be a better theory for sending Oort Cloud material to the inner Solar system than a hypothetical unseen Nemesis

    Yes.

  • Re:So.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by icebrain (944107) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:00PM (#31459778)

    But yes, we are currently in a race to see if we can establish sustainable populations off-planet before we or something else manages to wipe out all life here on earth.

    Don't kid yourself. Only a very few of us are in the race. The vast majority gave up about three steps into the marathon, plopped down on the couch, and tuned into American Idol.

    Frankly, I think space colonization needs to be a national priority, right up there with energy independence. I'm talking a national effort for those two issues that would make the WWII industrial and military effort seem like an elementary school field day in comparison, because I think humanity will face an extinction threat by the end of the century (biological warfare). It's only a matter of time before some terrorist or crazy religious group (or a nation comprised of such) gets hold of some bioweapon like ebola or Spanish flu, genetically tweaks it, and lets it loose; I can only hope we have somewhere to go when that happens. It just pisses me off that we were moving towards that and had made some measurable progress, only to give up and sit on our fat asses.

  • by gront (594175) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:43PM (#31460136)
    At closest approach it will be a first-magnitude star about as bright as Antares. from the wikipedia article link in the post. more about antares: http://www.universetoday.com/guide-to-space/stars/antares-star/ [universetoday.com]
  • by Nutria (679911) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:01AM (#31462780)

    I mean, we didn't sit there after the Wright brothers flew and decide that pursuing airplanes was a worthless endeavor, that we should just wait until we could build the 787, did we? Well, that's what we're doing with space. We've taken our first baby step, then given up on trying to walk because we can't yet run a marathon.

    That's a very bad analogy, since it's 10 metric butt-loads easier and simpler to fly than it is to get into orbit: planes don't need to worry about cosmic radiation, gravity, little holes in the fuselage, etc, etc.

    that we should just wait until we could build the 787

    There have been only a handful of new commercial aviation designs in the last 30 years. The Boeing 737 & 747 were designed in the 1960s, the 757 & 767 in the 1960s. Since then, nothing but incremental improvements. Same on the military side.

    Hell, even the Concorde design is 45 years old!

    Aeronautical science and engineering are bordering practical and economic limits enforced on us by physics. For example: sure "we" could build another supersonic commercial aircraft, but there's no real purpose to expending all that energy to push through the atmosphere at 1400 mph, when 550 mph is oodles cheaper, and it's still 550 miles per hour!!! My (RIP) grandparents remembered Lindbergh and crossing the country in coal-powered trains.

    And this isn't even mentioning that supersonic travel over land is prohibited because it's just not nice to shatter a jillion window panes 4 or 5 times a day!

  • by throughwithit (897185) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:15AM (#31462826)
    ...so, he isn't necessarily saying that it will be 1.5M years before this happens, or even in ~1.5M years, but sometime within that timeframe. We ought not deduce that we have such a long time to prepare, nor fail to account for the possibility of other intruding or impacting bodies headed our way even sooner.

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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