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April 13, 2036: 1-in-6,250 chance Apophis hits


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tie up any loose ends you might have

i say it's time vegas starts taking wagers on this one. :rolleyes:

 

 

chicago tribune :banghead

 

Scientists keeping wary eye on asteroid

(The headline above has been corrected.)

 

NASA studies remote chance of 2036 impact

 

By Michael Cabbage

Tribune Newspapers: The Orlando Sentinel

Published May 19, 2006

 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mark your calendar for Sunday, April 13, 2036. That's when a 1,000-foot-wide asteroid named Apophis could hit the Earth with enough force to obliterate a small state.

 

The odds of a collision are 1-in-6,250. But while that's a long shot at the racetrack, the stakes are too high for astronomers to ignore.

 

For now, Apophis represents the most imminent threat from the worst type of natural disaster known, one reason NASA is spending millions to detect the threat from this and other asteroids.

 

A direct hit on an urban area could unleash more destruction than Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake combined.

 

The blast would equal 880 million tons of TNT, 65,000 times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

 

Those kind of statistics have moved the once-far-fetched topic of killer asteroids from Hollywood to the halls of Congress.

 

"Certainly we had a major credibility problem at the beginning--a giggle factor," said David Morrison, an astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. "Now, many people are aware this is something we can actually deal with, mitigate and defend against."

 

In 1998, lawmakers directed NASA to identify by 2008 at least 90 percent of the asteroids more than a kilometer (0.6 mile) wide that orbit the sun and periodically cross Earth's path. That search is now more than three-quarters complete.

 

Last year, Congress directed the space agency to come up with options for deflecting potential threats. Ideas discussed include lasers on the moon and Hollywood's old standby, nuclear weapons.

 

Few outside scientific circles took the threat posed by near-Earth objects seriously until 1980.

 

Then, Luis and Walter Alvarez published a study based on geologic evidence that concluded a cataclysmic asteroid or comet impact 65 million years ago caused the mass extinction of two-thirds of all plant and animal life on Earth--including the dinosaurs.

 

NASA scientists studying satellite photos bolstered the Alvarezes' theory with the discovery in 1991 of an impact crater 125 miles wide buried beneath the northwestern corner of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

 

Spectacular images three years later from the Hubble Space Telescope of Comet Shoemaker-Levy's collision with Jupiter showed 21 comet fragments, some more than a mile wide.

 

"I think the most important development for getting this [public awareness] going was the Alvarezes' research that the dinosaurs went extinct as the result of an impact," Morrison said. "We were faced with a real example where an impact had done terrible damage."

 

 

 

Copyright ? 2006, Chicago Tribune

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationw...nationworld-hed

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Guest Fritz

People who worry about this stuff are losers.

 

You're an idiot.

 

I'm sure you won't think so if this thing actually does hit your town in 2036.

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