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Monday, March 21, 2016

Good News, not really.

This just in from the Life Explained Department of Things you Should Worry About (motto; Don't sweat the small stuff. There is no small stuff.) NASA has a department to track asteroids that might hit the Earth.

While that might seem like a comforting thought, until you read the article. Until you see the lackadaisical approach the space agency is taking towards these menaces hurtling towards the planet right now you will see the cause for alarm.

There are almost 14,000 near Earth objects being tracked right now.  Of course that is not counting the ones they can't see. Like, for example, the one that smashed into Russia in 2013. 

"Most of our survey telescopes are ground based, and so therefore they can only observe at night. This object came in daylight out of the sun... It was a very small object only a little less than a 20 meters and ours systems are really aren't capable of finding objects that small very far out in space." 

What?!?!? It smashed into our planet, which is in close space. In broad daylight and nobody could see it?

So, what do you plan to do if you are lucky enough to look up at the right time and see an object that is big enough to catch your eye? What then, NASA office of disaster aversion?

Well, in that case they would send the kinetic impactor out to persuade the object to move along, we don't want any trouble. 

Again, a NASA spokesperson,  “What you need to do ... is just change its velocity by a slight amount and if you do that enough years in advance you only have to change that velocity by a few millimeters per second. And so you just slam a kinetic impactor into it at the right velocity vector and that will impart the energy to either speed it up or slow it down, depending on which way you want to move it enough so that a hit becomes a miss.”

Well, that might work, but “years in advance” sounds a little troubling. How is testing so far?”

NASA hopes to launch a mission to test it soon. 


So, if NASA can spot something big enough and far enough away they can possibly avert it enough to keep it from destroying the planet, provided it is at night. I will sleep a lot better from now on.