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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 Kratisto (1080113) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:47PM (#31458786)
    ... I'll get right on it!
  • Nemesis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChefInnocent (667809) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:51PM (#31458856)
    Would stars like this be a better theory for sending Oort Cloud material to the inner Solar system than a hypothetical unseen Nemesis [space.com]?
  • Re:OH NOES! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Friday March 12, 2010 @07:18PM (#31459214)

    That's what you get for using the 4chan dictionary plugin.

  • by billstewart (78916) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:47PM (#31460190) Journal

    Over the past century, space travel's usefulness has been limited to war, boosting political egos, threatening war, communications satellites, Earth-observation satellites, and a bit of astronomy. Yes, there have been commercial spinoffs, like developing Velcro andTang(tm) powdered orange-colored juice, but the engineers and scientists who could have built us something useful, like the franistan, where busy doing militarized space programs instead.

    You can't colonize space unless you can build a sustainable closed ecosystem that runs on sunlight, and we're not even close. We've built a few toy terrariums that failed, like the Biosphere, but our one significant experiment in terraforming has also been failing, making this planet look less and less like the Terra that we started with. We're not going to be able to build space colonies big enough to house a significant fraction of humanity until we've learned how to keep an already-mostly-working planet working.

    Furthermore, real space colonization is an immense project - it's not just throwing a few canned monkeys into orbit that for a few billion dollars of investment per seat, it's a project about as big and economically transformative as, say, Agriculture or Cities, and unless the Great Nanotech Singularity saves our asses without burying them in Grey Goo, we're going to have to keep the planet working well for probably as long a timescale as we've spent on those experiments. It's a Really Really big project, not one of those quick and dirty experiments like the Industrial Revolution or the Nation-State. Fortunately, 1.5 million years is a respectably long time - it's 100 times as long as we've had Civilization, 30-40 times as long as we've been our current species, more along the scale of how long we've had modern Acheulean stone tools or maybe fire.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd[ ]org ['ot.' in gap]> on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:01PM (#31460348)

    There is a star moving close that is very different from ours. It moves to the oort could, and therefore definitely makes it visible. There is so much to learn.

    And all you can think about is how it “threatens” earth? Have you seen the space in the solar system? Have you calculated the likeliness? And in 1.5 million years? I wouldn’t be surprised if we manage to have a congested hyperspace freeway to Gliese 710 by then! Or if we are long extinct and replaced by ravens, other apes, dolphins and octopuses. Nature wouldn’t care anyway.

    Please stop the fearmongering, if you want to be taken seriously. And enjoy the wonders of nature.

  • by nextekcarl (1402899) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:14PM (#31460446)

    Wasn't that what the Reformation was about? ;^)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2010 @04:02AM (#31462616)

    Yes, on a scale that we can comprehend. Destroying people, buildings and maybe cities, but I doubt that we could destroy or move our own moon if we launched every single bomb in the world at it. Unless there is some breakthrough in spacetime manipulation, we can probably forget about destroying stars anytime, even in the very distant future.

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