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NASA Space Science Technology

NASA Counts 4,700 Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Asteroids 99

coondoggie writes "NASA continues to get a better handle on the asteroids buzzing around in space saying today that there are roughly 4,700 potentially hazardous asteroids, or as NASA calls them PHAs. NASA says these PHAs are a subset of a larger group of near-Earth asteroids but have the closest orbits to Earth's – passing within five million miles (or about eight million kilometers) and are big enough to survive passing through Earth's atmosphere and cause damage on a regional, or greater, scale."
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NASA Counts 4,700 Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Asteroids

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  • Star Tram (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @05:49AM (#40025913)

    I'm going to beat the drum for Star Tram again here, we need this built to have a defence against asteroids, since Bruce Willis is a bit long in the tooth to be leading a gang of roughnecks to the rescue at this stage.

  • More of this please (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turing_m ( 1030530 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:07AM (#40025995)

    It kind of disappoints me when I read an article on slashdot that is about something worthwhile that humanity really needs to get behind and fund, yet there won't be many comments. This is one of those types of articles. Normally the surefire comment magnets are trolling articles, or feature a topic that has a lot of fanbois, or better yet a technological holy war between several factions of fanbois.

    However, that shouldn't be a sign that no one is interested or cares about such things. We do. This site is about Stuff That Matters. Researching and preventing low probability cataclysms now we have the technology to attempt it is a very important and noble goal. Whether the average person realizes it or not, those goals are more important than 99% of other charitable goals, because without a habitable earth or human population there is no point to any charity.

    So in future while I can't usually add much more than a boring "this is great, more of this please" or a dumb joke if at all, this stuff is important and yes, we need more of it. Don't take low numbers of comments for lack of interest or perceived priority.

  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:29AM (#40026079)

    Aren't we way ahead on this with asteroid mining?

    I mean the first step of that company is rolling out a mass-producible telescope specifically for spotting near Earth asteroids - something with a dangerous orbit also happens to be a great candidate for resource extraction, and their long term plan (deflect the targets into stable orbits around the moon) - has the benefit of developing the exact tools and techniques we'd need to employ for any type of practical asteroid defense.

    I mean, I'd say this is very much on its way to being a solved problem. Go go private sector (and potential piles of platinum).

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:31AM (#40026285)
    It always puzzles me how people invent all sorts of imaginary flaws in markets. For example, I got into this long argument [slashdot.org] with someone who was claiming that "free markets" created class structures and an exploited class on the bottom, but ignoring that both societies do that just fine on their own and markets actually help reduce such stratification. It's nonsense, but of a sort that's fairly pervasive in society.

    This complaint above is however of the biggest legitimate flaw of a market. Namely, if it doesn't trade on the market, it doesn't exist in the viewpoint of traders on the market. While there are (as I gather) a few businesses which can and do legitimately offer insurance or whatnot against asteroid impacts, the cost of such insurance is way out of line with the risk.

    It's much cheaper at this time to self-insure, that is, use your own resources to prepare against such low probability events.
  • Re:All well and good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:13AM (#40026511) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure your post was meant as a redneck parody, but in case someone takes it seriously:

    The damage to humans is likely to be worse if it hits water.
    A majority of the major cities of the world are near an ocean - 35 of the 40 largest ones are coastal.
    An estimated 700 million people live less than 10 m above sea level.

  • by AttyBobDobalina ( 2525082 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:21AM (#40026573)
    Whenever these stories get posted, there is always a calming disclaimer that none of the asteroids threatens Earth. But does anyone know whether NASA (or anyone else) is modeling asteroid orbits with each other? I realize it's not like a set of billiard balls, but is anyone checking to see if any current non-threatening asteroids could be diverting into Earth's path from colliding with another object?

Only God can make random selections.