Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A close case of asteroids -- fly me half way to the moon

If Guambat had known this a head of time, it would have put a tight fist around a certain sphincter:

April Fools' Day Asteroid Zips Close by Earth
The space rock may have visited Earth on April Fools' Day, but its flyby was no prank. The asteroid crept within 143,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach, which is just over half the distance between Earth and the moon's orbit.

Early Monday, the bus-size asteroid 2012 FP35 came within 96,000 miles (154,000 km) of Earth. It was followed a few hours later by asteroid 2012 FS35, which is the size of a car and passed Earth at a range of 36,000 miles (58,000 km).

Guambat doesn't much fancy getting creamed by an asteroid, and this following article doesn't give him much relief, either.

We Can Survive Killer Asteroids — But It Won’t Be Easy
Solar System debris rains down on Earth in vast quantities — more than a hundred tons of it a day. Most of it vaporizes in our atmosphere, leaving stunning trails of light we call shooting stars. More hazardous are the billions, likely trillions, of leftover rocks — comets and asteroids — that wander interplanetary space in search of targets.

[And how does the idea that interplanetary rocks are searching for you sit with Guambat? This next statement made Guambat stand up and exclaim, Guamn!]

More than a thousand known asteroids are classed as “potentially hazardous,” based on size and trajectory. Currently, it looks doable to develop an early-warning and defense system that could protect the human species from impactors larger than a kilometer wide.

Smaller ones, which reflect much less light and are therefore much harder to detect at great distances, carry enough energy to incinerate entire nations, but they don’t put the human species at risk of extinction.

Once in about a hundred million years, though, Earth is visited by an impactor capable of annihilating all life-forms bigger than a carry-on suitcase.

[If Mrs Guambat has been told once, she's been told a hundred million times she must learn to fit inside her carry-on Guambag, but that bit of advice also seems silly after this next bit of news.]

The chances that your tombstone will read “Killed by Asteroid” are about the same as they’d be for “Killed in Airplane Crash.”

If humans one day become extinct from a catastrophic collision, we would be the laughing stock of aliens in the galaxy, for having a large brain and a space program, yet we met the same fate as that pea-brained, space program-less dinosaurs that came before us.

Guambat doesn't take such mocking by aliens in the galaxy lying down, no sir. Not when there are so many aliens mocking him right here on Terror Firma.

He's off to have a nice hot sitz bath, where he'll ponder...

A universe without purpose

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