Suppose NASA scientists find an asteroid that may collide with the Earth in 2029?

Question by cosmo: Suppose NASA scientists find an asteroid that may collide with the Earth in 2029?
It’s a pretty big one, 10 miles across, big enough to cause mass extinctions but not to wipe out all life on Earth. NASA scientists believe it has a 90% chance of hitting the Earth. This calculation is confirmed by scientists from all over the world, but some think the chance is a little higher, and some think the chance is a little lower. One professor from MIT thinks the chance of it hitting the Earth is only 5%. A number of high-school physics teachers say that there’s no chance at all—it’s not going to hit the Earth at all. Some religious leaders say there’s no need to worry—God will protect us.

Al Gore puts forward a proposal to deflect the trajectory of the asteroid. The plan will cost 4 Trillion dollars, to set up a base on the asteroid with an ion rocket to nudge it out of its current orbit. The plan will be paid for by a special tax on people all over the world.

Do you:

a) Deny that there is a potential problem.
b) Denounce the whole project as a hoax and conspiracy to deprive us of our freedoms.
c) Ask for additional studies to confirm if there is a problem.
d) Get with the program, and do your part to possibly save the Earth.

Best answer:

Answer by God can kiss by butt :P
I’d do C. We should confirm it, and try something less pricey. Maybe we can just nuke the asteroid, we have plenty of those.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Suppose NASA scientists find an asteroid that may collide with the Earth in 2029?

  1. A true environmentalist would do nothing as a cure to reduce the worlds over population.

    I wonder if I could use a different example.

    97% of all scientists say that an airplane is safe to fly. 3% of scientists say the plane is unstable and could crash killing everyone on board.

    Would you

    a) Say that since 97% of all scientists believe it is save than that’s 100% proof that they are right, and let your kids fly to grandma’s house.
    b) Say that if the government wanted man to fly, they would give us tax credits to do so.
    c) Denounce those who say there’s a problem as working for “Big Auto” and let your kids get on that plane to go to grandma’s house.
    d) Ask for objective proof that the design was correct before you let your kids get on that plane?

  2. I think you forgot some possible answers:

    e) (The Russian answer) Since the asteroid will hit someplace else, it will actually be good for us.

    f) (the Indian answer) Look, 40% of us don’t even have electicity, and we can’t possibly have electicity unless somebody else pays our share for the asteroid defense.

    g) (the American response) That thing probably won’t reach the earth in my lifetime. Let the kids figure out how to stop it; it’s their problem not mine. I need a job.

    h) (The Chinese response) We were going to shoot a little rocket anyhow, we’ll just call that our contribution.

    i) (The GOP reponse) Al Gore is creating a whole company to build an asteroid deflector. He started first, so we won’t do anything.

    j) (The EU response) We’ll do what we can, as soon as we can, but we don’t have the resources we need to stop it without the US, China, Russia and India. Oh wait, since we can’t really stop it anyhow, we’ll just do a fraction of what we can until other countries decide to help.

  3. The alarmists response will be, if the asteroid hits, women and children and the poor will be hit hardest.

    This has nothing to do with global warming. The costs associated with saving us will be a drop in the bucket and will not significantly reduce CO2. A better analogy would be, would we spend 3 trillion to fool people of the Earth into thinking we are really serious about doing something about it but in reality we just want to do something symbolic.

  4. Did global warming cause the asteroid to aim at the earth
    What about if we reduce CO2 emissions will it miss us?

  5. D immediately, assuming that “the program” doesn’t pose an even greater threat.

    Of course, with regards to the AGW fraud, the proposed “solution” – low-technology, ultra-low energy flux dense “green” power sources – has a 100% chance of destroying industrial civilization, and with it about 5-6 billion people. Ergo, this is a totally dubious analogy.

  6. I’d go with

    (e) See if this sort of thing has happened before, and what transpired then.

    And funnily enough, it has happened before. This from Discover Magazines “20 of the Greatest Blunders in Science in the Last 20 Years”: [QUOTE]

    “”The Sky Is Falling Again
    Um, never mind. On March 12, 1998, on the front page of The New York Times, a headline read: “Asteroid Is Expected to Make a Pass Close to Earth in 2028.” Brian G. Marsden, director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, predicted that on October 26, 2028, an asteroid about a mile in diameter would come within 30,000 miles of Earth. That’s within spitting distance, spacewise, which evoked comparisons to the asteroid that crashed on the Yucatàn peninsula 65 million years ago, allegedly wiping out all the dinosaurs. “When you first discover a comet, or any kind of body, you start measuring its position,” notes Robert Park. “From that you extract its trajectory. The more measurements you make, the more accurate your trajectory gets.” Marsden issued his warnings based on very early trajectory measurements. Now he anticipates the asteroid will pass Earth at a safe distance of 600,000 miles””

    ~ Those whacky scientists, ey? Give ’em a few hundred billion to play with and who knows that they’ll find.

  7. D, if there’s that kind of global scientific agreement that the asteroid is going to impact the Earth, we need to do what we can to prevent it. We should also continue to monitor it to ensure that it’s going to stay on a collision course, and look for potential cheaper solutions to prevent the impact.

  8. you forgot e) form a committee to plan a conference to explore the possibility of putting the work out to tender.

    d of course, followed by c. the precautionary principle would kick in at 10%.

  9. Let’s look at Meadow’s example: given the earth’s radius of around 4,000 miles, the original prediction was of a 1.3% chance of a hit (4^2/34^2), revised down rapidly as a result of careful observation.

    So what’s Meadow’s point?

  10. Before asking these sort of questions it might pay to check some facts

    The asteroid in question is 99942 Apophis, I don’t know who your scientists are but it was reported some time ago in Astronomy circles that there was a possibility it’s orbit may be shifted by the 2029 pass, no chance of an impact. There was a slim possibility that if it’s orbit was changed that may be a problem when it passes us the next time 2036. Further calculations have since since reduced the chance of an impact to 0.
    Give that even if the 2036 pass was a problem we have thousands of nuclear weapons and 26 years to do something, at 10km this is hardly a (Bruce Wills- size of Texas problem)

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