March 4, 2009

From CNN: Asteroid passes close to Earth

Here's the quote I found scary: "If discovered in advance and with enough lead time, there is the possibility of pushing it off course, if you have decades of advance warning," McNaught said. "If you have only a few days, you can evacuate the area of impact, but there's not a great deal [else] you can do."

Armageddon with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck is one of my favorite movies. It's super dramatic, with a good balance of action and humor. But I don't know if NASA currently has astronauts trained to pull off that kind of stunt with a week's notice.

In fact, I don't think there is any kind of real life asteroid defense plan other than duck and cover. (Think about the other more boring doomsday asteroid movie, Deep Impact) With the millions of asteroids flying around space, it's a miracle a big one hasn't smashed into our planet yet.

My plan: Build a base on the moon and equip it with a giant laser (Austin Powers 2). Then search the earth for young men and women who display exceptional skill playing the Missile Command video game and have them defend the planet (The Last Starfighter). So when I become President, don't be surprised when I order video game tournaments for the sake of national security.


Issac Newton said...

Armageddon is a horrible movie.

But just so you can educate yourself, the "enough notice" plan would involve launching a satellite to intercept the asteroid. The satellite hopes to exert a minuscule gravitational force that will pull the asteroid off course.

Calvin said...

I think any asteroid big enough to be a threat to earth would probably smash any satellite in its way with very little deviation in its course.

I still like my moon base with lasers idea.