How Soon Is Too Late?
much warning will we need if astronomers find an asteroid on a collision
course with earth?
4 min, 46 sec?... Asteroid
9˝ hours?... Asteroid 2004
1˝ days?... No
time for the Oval
Office to react
3 weeks or 11
A scary list
20 years or more?...
we are to stand a fair chance of intercepting an incoming asteroid,
we need at least a couple of decades' warning.
in 1999 Professor Tom Gehrels of Spaceguard was asked if the XF17 scheduled for
2028 could have been stopped were it on an impact path.
luck," was his reply. That means that even with three decades at their
disposal scientists would have been hard
pressed to save our plant from an
incoming giant meteor.
from the fact that all our asteroid defence systems have yet to leave the
drawing board, scientists will need considerable time to reach
asteroid. So, it's not just a question of finding near-Earth
objects (NEOs), but they must be found decades before they are due.
we wait, the less time there is going to be "When" it happens. It's
short question with long-term implications,
as yet unanswered purely
because of lack of funding. Governments are doing comparatively
and astronomers need support from the private sector
Join us—together we can
beat the odds.
we learned anything from the Asian tsunami,
it must be that authorities
phenomenal events improbable
can get it wrong!
the MN4 will miss by minutes in 2029, it is doubtful we
could stop it
were it on course.
confirmed future near miss, this asteroid is still over two
decades away; anything sooner is too soon for comfort.