In February last year I was a bit shaken that, on the same day that asteroid 2012 DA14 passed about 30,000 km from the Earth, another rock slammed into Russia over Chelyabinsk. It got me wondering whether the two rocks were companions, and there were clouds of rocks through which the Earth periodically passed. I’ve spent much of the last year trying to connect DA14 with the Chelyabinsk meteor, and I’ve very nearly (but not actually) succeeded. And I’ve been wondering if there’s actually a considerable threat to the Earth from clouds of large rocks, with some landing on metropolitan regions.
But nobody is predicting any such event, so nobody is much bothered about it.
H/T MJM, it seems that a few other people are getting a bit concerned.
A press release from some former NASA astronauts on the current asteroid impact threat to earth, based on data on in-atmosphere detonations since 2001, gleaned from a nuclear weapon detonation detection system has yielded some startling numbers.
The threat is 3 to 10 times higher than previously predicted. The data will be presented at the Seattle Flight Museum, Tuesday April 22, at 6:00pm PDT.
Just last night, another fireball was seen over Russia, caught on a dashcamera
Now it becomes apparent why this press release is important.
This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… three to ten times more, in fact. A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, shows that “the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”
Since 2001, 26 atomic-bomb-scale explosions have occurred in remote locations around the world, far from populated areas, made evident by a nuclear weapons test warning network. In a recent press release B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu states:
“This network has detected 26 multi-kiloton explosions since 2001, all of which are due to asteroid impacts. It shows that asteroid impacts are NOT rare—but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought. The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck. The goal of the B612 Sentinel mission is to find and track asteroids decades before they hit Earth, allowing us to easily deflect them.”
And here, H/T Roobeedoo, is a video of the Russian fireball a few days back:
So bright a fireball that the night sky turned blue.
I think that there’s a much greater threat from these big rocks than there is from global warming or environmental tobacco smoke. Because at the present rate, sooner or later one of these things will come down over some city, and do enormous damage, and kill a lot of people.
And the science is all quite simple and straightforward. It’s simply the laws of motion and gravitation. And it requires the accurate measurement of the position and velocity of rocks in space.
Climate science isn’t simple and straightforward. There are all kinds of climatic processes – like clouds – which aren’t very well understood. And so the science is as much speculative in parts as it is solidly founded in other parts.
And tobacco ‘science’ isn’t science at all, because nothing is measured accurately, and the resulting fuzzy data is then tortured to reach predetermined conclusions.
Celestial mechanics is clean science. This other stuff is all dirty.
Which is also maybe why I like watching snooker (the Snooker World Championships started yesterday), and golf (The US Open was played at Augusta a week back) and even playing online golf (WGT golf is really very realistic, and also free). There’s a purity about both games. They’re both just spherical bodies in motion. They’re celestial mechanics brought down to earth. Golf is just a ball bouncing on the surface of the earth. And snooker is a ball rolling on the flat surface of a table. And the ball either drops into the hole, or it doesn’t, and there isn’t a Statistically Significant Relative Risk of the ball dropping in the hole that gets treated like it’s more important than the guy actually knocking the ball in the hole.
If the US Open golf tournament was run on epidemiological lines, there would masses of data collected on every golfer and all the courses, and it would all be run through a statistical mangle to show that most likely Tiger Woods or somebody would win it. And these predictions would then usurp the place of the actual tournament. Because now that – thanks to statistical science and computer models written by accredited golf scientists – Everybody Knew who was going to win, there was no longer any need for any real golfers to knock balls round an actual golf course. The prediction replaces the reality. People decide whether or not to go to the beach next Tuesday based on the weather forecast for that day, not the actual weather on that day. And once actual reality ceases to matter, and the models are the only things that count, there’s going to be a lot of money riding on those models, and a powerful incentive to ensure that they produce the ‘right’ answers (i.e. Tiger Woods to win, 9 under par).
In fact, Tiger Woods wasn’t playing at Augusta, so he didn’t win. And it was instead won by a guy who’d never had any golf lessons from accredited expert golf scientists, and with a distinctly unorthodox (and therefore incorrect) swing, but who could nevertheless drive the ball 100 yards further than anybody else. And drop it in the actual hole.