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3 Former Astronauts: Earth-Asteroid Collisions Are a Real But Preventable Danger 71

Posted by timothy
from the asteroid-survival-movies-are-great dept.
Three former astronauts — Ed Lu, Tom Jones, and Bill Anders — say that reassuring figures about the rarity of asteroid collisions with Earth are perhaps too reassuring. The B612 Foundation, of which Lu is a director, has been established to draw public awareness to the risks of a large asteroid hitting a population center -- which these three men say is a far more serious public danger than has been acknowledged by NASA and other agencies. And beyond awareness, the Foundation's immediate goal is to raise money to " design and build an asteroid-finding space telescope and launch it by 2017," and then, Armageddon-style, to follow that up with technology to divert any asteroids whose path would threaten earth.
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3 Former Astronauts: Earth-Asteroid Collisions Are a Real But Preventable Danger

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  • There is nothing else the planet. Should be working on. Except stopping these.

    Yes there is. Self sustaining off-world colonies AND asteroid deflection technologies go hand in hand to help fight extinction -- which should be priority #1 for any truly sentient race.

    Clearly asteroids are a very real threat, and I black-hole heartedly agree with the notion that Earth's space agencies are not giving them the level of public concern these threats should have: Humans are currently blind as moles to space. Any statement to the contrary is merely shrouding the issue in the Emperor's New Clothes. Earth's telescopes can study very small parts of space in some detail, but do not have the coverage required to make the dismissive claims that NASA and other agencies do about asteroid impact likelihood -- note that they frequently engage in panic mitigation. Remember that asteroid transit NASA was hyped about, meanwhile another asteroid whipped by completely unexpectedly closer than your moon, too late to do anything about? Remember Chelyabinsk? That one was 20 to 30 times Hiroshima's nuclear bomb, but it didn't strike ground. What kind of wake-up call is it going to take?! You'd probably just get more complacent even if an overly emotional alien commander committed career suicide in the desert to take your leaders the message that Earth was surely doomed without a massive protective space presence -- If such a thing ever occurred, that is.

    Seriously, the space agencies are essentially lying by omission to the public by not pointing out the HUGE error bars in their asteroid risk estimates. I mean, Eris, a Dwarf Planet, was only discovered in 2005! Eris is about 27% more massive than Pluto, and passes closer in its elliptical orbit than Pluto -- almost all the way in to Neptune! Eris is essentially why your scientists don't call Pluto a planet anymore. They deemed it better to demote Pluto than admit you couldn't see a whole planet sitting right in your backyard... And NASA expects you to believe their overly optimistic estimates about far smaller and harder to spot civilization ending asteroids? Eventually your governments won't have the luxury of pissing away funding via scaremongering up war-pork and ignoring the actual threats you face, like a bunch of bratty rich kids.

    Asteroids are only one threat, and one that we could mitigate relatively easily given advanced notice of their trajectories. However, Coronal mass ejections, Gamma ray bursts, Super Volcanoes, Magnetosphere Instability, etc. are all also severe threats that humanity can't mitigate with telescopes and a game of asteroid billiards alone -- Though fast acting manipulation of the gravitational matrix via strategic placement of asteroids could help with CMEs or gamma bursts too once you had a sufficient armament of even primitive orbiting projectiles. The irregularity in your magnetosphere should be particularly distressing because it is over 500,000 years overdue to falter and rebuild as the poles flip (according to reconstructions of your geo-magnetic strata) -- It could go at any time! Given the current very abnormal mag-field behavior you have no idea if it will spring right back up nice and organized like or leave you vulnerable to cosmic rays and solar flares for a few decades or centuries.

    You should be grateful that the vulnerable periods of mag-pole flops halted as soon as humanity began showing some signs of intelligence -- even if this is absolutely only a mere coincidence. Mastery of energy threats will remain far beyond your technological grasp for the foreseeable future, but your species can mitigate such threats of extinction by self sustaining off-world colonization efforts! In addition to getting some of your eggs out of this one basket, the technology to survive without a magnetosphere on the Moon and Mars could be used to save the world here on Earth. In the event of a worst case scenario, humans could then repopulate Earth all by themselves

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