Dienstag, 3. März 2009

cold shower

This week a 30m wide asteroid narrowly missed our planet (moving from mid right towards top left in the video). It would seem that a rock the size of a tower block shouldn't worry a heavenly body with a mass of 6x10^24 kg too much, but a similar astro-pebble was responsible for wiping out a Siberian forest the size of Luxembourg 100 years ago. Still not bothered? What if an urban area was hit? Or the offshore of a built up coast? And consider that our policemen of the stars, NASA, can't currently detect objects under 140 metres across. Of which there are innumerable.

Another invisible threat to keep us awake at night.

Gaining some level of control over proximate micro asteroids, perhaps with a fleet of tug-satellites (which would be useful for a number of reasons), might ease the mind. But it would also give desperate politicians some interesting new options. They might decide to guide small asteroids into deserts, throwing clouds of dust and sand into the atmosphere in an attempt to stave off global warming. Hawks would hand out envelopes marked operation cold shower, suggesting the development of guided asteroid warfare technology, to maintain military parity. Only to be used as a last resort. Or preemptively.

Which threat is greater, blind ignorance or anastigmatic wisdom?

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