Asteroid Attack

Life Imitating Art?

The asteroid Apophis is 1,900 feet across, and has a 1 in 250,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2036.  That doesn't seem like that much, but in astronomical terms, that is a pretty good chance.  At least it's a bigger chance than I want to take in my 68th year.  To compare sizes, the Tunguska meteor in Siberia in 1908 is estimated to have been less than 100 feet across, and it felled 80 million trees from an air burst 3 to 6 miles above the surface.  Scientists estimate that an average of one meteor a year affects Earth with the force of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.  Most are very high altitude or involve ocean areas.  These can be as small as 15 feet across.

Like the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact (I like Deep Impact much better because it actually shows some prepping activities), the European Space Agency is planning to attack Apophis before it gets to close.  The mission name, Don Quijote (British spelling) doesn't give me much confidence.  According to an article in the Daily Mail, in 2015, the 600 lb. impact craft, Hidalgo, will strike Apophis at about 6 miles a second in an attempt to knock it away from Earth.  The impact will be analyzed by the craft, Sancho. 

If they really think it would be a success, why would they use the "tilting at windmills" analogies? 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I'm currently reading Lucifer's Hammer; I'm only a quarter of a way through it but it's a good read.



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