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Future Asteroid Interception Research Non-profit fund raising for astronomers hunting asteroids, meteorites, comets, and NEOs (near earth objects)

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Frontispace Articles

Good News!
Nearly all extinction-level asteroids have been found.

But did you know that an asteroid measuring as little as 60 meters across hitting the Earth will cause an explosion 1,000 times that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb?... [Continued]
 

Another idea joins the list of blueprints for preventing an asteroid impact!

This time it is a theory that scientists could 'lasso' the incoming space rock.  In April 2009, David French, a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), has thought up a way to divert asteroids and other threatening objects from hitting the earth. Just by attaching a long tether and ballast to the incoming object 'you change the object's centre of mass, effectively changing the object's orbit and allowing it to pass by the earth, rather than impacting it', French explained.

His hypothetical solution joins a long list of potential ways in avoiding a future lethal impact. Previous ideas (all covered within this site) include, hitting it with a nuke, landing an engine to thrust it off trajectory, painting one side so the sun's heat will cause it to shift, attaching space solar sail, the use of a gravitational 'tractor' to mention a few.

BUT, if we cannot see the punch coming, what use is even the most innovative defense system? These "comforting" ideas are all very well, and could one day actually save our planet from the inevitable catastrophe it faces; But without the foresight to have an adequate early warning system in place these ingenious ideas could be moot. Funding for this research is still drastically shy of achieving our goal to find all incoming space missiles... never mind turning a blue print into reality!!!

Why Are There No Pyramids or Ancient Temples
in North America?

Major manmade structures from ancient civilizations exist just about everywhere else on the planet, so why not on the greater part of the North American continent? A relatively new theory about the extinction of the Clovis peoples is perhaps the most viable reason for this phenomenon. They were wiped out by a comet and so mankind, (when it eventually re-migrated there), had to start from scratch, unlike Europe, North Africa, South America and most of the Far East where Stone evolved into Bronze and Iron Ages in situ. [Read more ...]

The Day Before the Clovis Comet
The Clovis people didn't survive a comet strike a mere 12 900 years ago
"After that maybe we could build a pyramid!"

Asteroids have impacted Earth before, and will do so again.
Art by Scott Alan

It's mathmatically impossible that an asteroid is not on a collision course
with Earth ...

 

It is mathmatically possible to alter the trajectory.

 

What’s wrong with this picture?
The only government actively doing anything in the search for hazardous asteroids is the United States. But consider this, current estimates of the cost of the war in Iraq range from $177 to $200 million a day (about $7.4 million an hour). Yet, the White House contributes only $4 million a year to NEO (near-Earth object) research. Despite growing and alarming evidence of the dangers NEOs pose, this area of astronomy is still largely ignored. In 2004, when the Asian tsunami struck, “authorities” in the region deemed the relatively small cost of an early warning system not worth the investment as they believed such a catastrophe was not due for another 70 years. If the citizens of the affected countries had had foreknowledge of the impending disaster, don’t you think the private sector would have done something about it? It’s up to us to lend a hand in all areas of global concern when bureaucratically hamstrung governments dither. Fixing global warming will entail a monstrous effort. Hunting dangerous asteroids only costs €15.
Bush asteroid comic

If you can read my lips - LOOK BEHIND YOU!

The Inevitable Can Be Avoided ... Unlike earthquakes, an asteroid impact can be prevented.

Isn’t it ironic that the biggest disaster we fear is the only one that we can actually do something about—and yet this science comes last in the funding queue.

Many incorrectly look at asteroid research as yet another environmental concern looking for alms, when in reality it is more of a call to arms. After all, this science advocates preemptive defence against an incoming missile that, if large enough, could spell our doom. ... [Continued]

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Deep Impact—False Impression!

From a purely defensive point of view, one could be forgiven for being under the impression that we have nearly licked this asteroid hazard thing after NASA’s phenomenal success with operation Deep Impact on July 4, 2005.

The tricky bit was being able to whack a comet bang on the nose 83 million miles from Earth with a projectile traveling at 23,000 mph. As scientist Don Yeomans said, "it was like trying to hit a bullet with another bullet, while filming it from a third." ... [Continued]

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Without an early warning system, the abililty ot hit distant targets is moot

Not even the cost of a jeep has been allocated to asteroid research.

Why Governments Do Almost Nothing

I initially thought that the powers that be, the blokes with budgets and degrees as long as your arm, must have some sort of emergency system in place. That some sort of real life Bruce Willis with an array of scientific wizardry would kick into gear and do stuff. The reality is that asteroid hunters don’t have the funds to hold a firework display, never mind to launch something orbitally. ... [Continued]

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Asteroids Could Help Save the World

Too often, the negative aspect of asteroids is highlighted on the big screen and in the media. Predictions of megacatastrophes associated with this phenomenon tend to focus on our fears rather than highlighting the fact that one day asteroids could save our planet.

Perhaps a Hollywood script that ends with Bruce Willis a billionaire instead of vaporising him into molecules would help? Perhaps movie about some brave entrepreneur who not only saves the world by deflecting an incoming asteroid by placing a thruster on it (as opposed to blowing it up) but manages to bring safely into Earth's orbit a giant meteorite rich in some high mineral commodity. ... [Continued]

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Giant Meteorites Not on Your List of Concerns?
Then, think of this as a project to save the donkeys!

In fact, one could choose one's favourite cause and still think of this as a project to save it because, ultimately, that's what this science is all about—protecting everything below the ozone layer from something that is ...

More dangerous than a pretzel! The odds against the president choking on a pretzel have got to be considerably higher than those against our being struck by a meteorite. Ask any bookie. ... [Continued]

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A WMD coming from WHERE?!

We need more telescopes Captian!

FAIR Warning, Horatio

As a kid, I got hooked on C. S. Forrester’s Horatio Hornblower series based on the life and times of England’s most famous admiral, Horatio Nelson. ... [Continued]

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4 minutes, 46 seconds

Barely time to change a light bulb—the difference between life and death for millions on July 13, 2029

The closing velocity of an incoming asteroid is about 12.6 km per second, and if it were to cross the Earth's orbit, a "near-miss" distance in thousands of kilometers would translate into a mere few minutes from impact. The 2004MN4 could have caused a catastrophe that would make the Asian Tsunami seem like a walk in the park. This isn't pie-in-the-sky doomsday-type speculation but documented scientific fact. ... [Continued]

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A Pyrotechnic Hint

At 2.40 am on June 3, 2004, over western Washington State, residents were awoken by a sudden pyrotechnic display more enthusiastic than the "shock and awe" missiles used on Baghdad. A bloke in Bellingham thought it was a nuclear bomb, and a woman near Monroe thought she was being beamed up by aliens; walls shook, windows rattled. Eighty seismic stations recorded the blast as 1.6 in magnitude, and 911 was swamped— the response, one could say, of an alarmed populace. ... [Continued]

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Tsunami

Tsunamis (tidal waves) are most commonly caused by seismic, volcanic, or landslide events and have the potential to wreak even more havoc than their land-based counterparts. But, analysts tend to ignore another natural phenomena that is not nearly as remote as previously believed. As the planet's land mass is pockmarked with more than 150 known asteroid impact craters, it is assumed that the majority of hits have occurred at sea. Speculation that many of history's tidal waves were caused by ocean based impacts is not as far-fetched as many would think.

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Spare a Small Thought for a Big Issue

After conception and birth, it can be argued that the biggest single event in life is death. It's a subject most of us don't like dwelling upon, even in individual circumstances, so expiry en masse, total termination, extinction, whatever we call it, is perhaps one of the most difficult subjects to broach ... an instant and understandable turnoff.[Continued]

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Will We Be Told?

Of course, NEO news is shared; keeping an incoming asteroid a secret would be impossible! As it is, too many premature scares about near misses have caused unnecessary hype and perhaps done the science a disservice. However, astronomers have devised coordinating systems which help avoid these false alarms. Hazardous objects like the 2004MN4 are now flagged, tracked, and allocated an impact warning level (the Torino Scale). Only once the asteroid has been double-checked will an announcement made ... [More Spaceguard News]

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Science Faction
 

Imagine the pilgrims landing on the East Coast of America five centuries ago and, instead of encountering bead-swapping natives, meeting their descendants of today.

What would Columbus’s crew have thought if, still miles from shore, a stealth jet streaked overhead and then a nuclear submarine, six times one of their ship's size, popped up next to them? ... [Continued]

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In 500 years things have changed beyond belief

Time in a Bottle

Scientists, philosophers, and dreamers have always contemplated variants in other time zones. They have shown us aspects from other points in time; historians and futurists have discussed and discovered elements of our existence past and future over which we can merely ponder. ... [Continued]

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'Ex lawyer - will litigate for food'

The Last Lie

The next giant leap for mankind may not be in the form of a footprint on Mars but a technological baby step here on Earth. ... [Continued]

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Retire a Tank, Build a Telescope

If governments of the world each retired a tank and reallocated the cost towards a global early-warning system, one epic question could be answered: when will an asteroid impact Earth, and will we have enough time to try and do something about it?

We shouldn’t be comparing this science to that conducted by other environmental organizations; instead we should be thinking of trimming our vast defence budgets. But if the UN struggles to convince governments to reallocate funding for immediate earthly concerns, what chance do a handful of astronomers worried about tomorrow have?  This is perhaps a good reason to take some of the responsibility upon ourselves and help a science that perpetually gets pipped in favour of a new tank, sub, or fighter plane.

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Predicted Crashes Don't Make the News . . .
Accidents Do!

For most of the last century it was common knowledge that hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in motor accidents. Yet even after engineers devised and proved that collapsible steering columns and seat belts could save untold lives (at no extra cost to the vehicle manufactures), the majority of people were still reluctant to use them. In fact, it was only when legislation was passed and folks were obliged to wear their seat belts did the number of road fatalities drop. “Accidents happen to other people” seems to be a fairly general human attitude. ... [Continued]

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Life’s a Gamble

Most of us are familiar with mild concern caused by the sensation of racing down a runway for takeoff. Even frequent fliers have at some point, if only fleetingly, thought about the consequences of something going wrong. Like millions of fellow travelers, however, we calculate the odds against a disaster as slim and sit back to enjoy the flight. We put our faith in the technology of modern airplane and, these days, airport security and know that there is insurance against disaster. ... [Continued]

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Splitting the Atom

Perhaps those scientists who so regretted splitting the atom in 1945 when it was used to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki would find some solace if they knew their invention was ultimately used for the protection of all mankind. In the event of an incoming NEO, at our current level of technology, the probability is that a nuclear device will be used in the name of peace (i.e., the defense of life on Earth) either to deflect or destroy the threatening rock.

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Founder's Footnote

I often get peculiar looks when it is mentioned that apart from writing and other business, I have also founded a nonprofit organization to look for asteroids. Its difficult to interpret, but the expression often seems to say “this bloke’s finally gone off his rocker”. Too long on the Rock. However it is precisely the fact that I live on this little island that probably helped produce the idea. ... [Continued]

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Wishes and Shooting Stars

What sparked the idea of forming a society to support asteroid research?

The first decent rains at the end of summer are often associated with electrical power cuts on Hydra Island, Greece, sometimes accompanied by pyrotechnics as wiring and water get reacquainted after a long, dry season. People from wet climates regard these high-voltage fireworks with alarm, while those of us accustomed merely shrug and wonder how long it will be before the lights are fixed. ... [Continued]

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Without Warning

If there is any doubt that unexpected stuff from outer space can inflict grievous bodily harm, just ask Brenda Archer in New Zealand. Her grandson had just left the living room as she was making breakfast when she heard an "almighty explosion." ... [Continued]

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By ignoring this threat we are gambling with the planet's future.Less Than a Dice Roll

If a documented one-in-four chance of a catastrophic asteroid impact in 2004 didn't inspire people to take this threat seriously, what will? A 50-50 chance of surviving an incoming collision? A confirmed impact date? Why wait until its too late? You can make a difference today.




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Fried or Frozen?

Debate about how horribly the dinosaurs died made the news in 2004. That mass extinction will occur following a large impact is no longer a debatable issue, but a fact past and future (unless we act).

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In Support of Hubble

Allowing the Hubble to demise is a bit like the explorers of old telling the bloke in the crow’s nest that his telescope was not needed … a bit shortsighted, perhaps? The case for the Hubble telescope is clearly defined by scientist and author [Robert Zubrin] of the Mars Society.

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"Throw them all overboard. We're not gonna use telescopes anymore". art by Scott Alan

Asteroid Scares: Why They Won't End... [more]

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Why We Fear Ourselves More than Asteroids: Why We Look the Other Way... [more]

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British Government Response to the Report of the Task Force on Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Objects 24/02/01 ... [more]

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BBC Horizon, New Asteroid Danger: Earth in the Cosmic Firing Line. Broadcast Thursday 18th March 1999, (archived) this was instrumental in FAIR's launch.

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Latest Asteroid News Worldwide: please follow this link for all the [latest news] on the subject of near-Earth objects (NEOs).

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How Soon Is Too Late | Introduction | Justification | How FAIR Works | Not Convinced? | In the News | Frontispace Articles | Frontispace Cartoons | Funded Projects | Links | Members | Comments | Join Here | About Us | Contact Us

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