back to article Bruce Willis relaxes as asteroid skims Singapore

Bruce Willis's services will not be required today as a diminutive asteroid passes close to Earth, skimming over Singapore at an altitude of 45,000 kilometers (27,960 miles). Our planet's closest encounter with Asteroid 2010 TD54 takes place at 10:50 GMT (5:50 EST), but there's 'zero probability' of the 5 to 10 metre wide object …

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Interesting

Interesting, but not shocking. Don't objects of this size, and bigger, fall to earth all the time, but are just not spotted?

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Not often

The ones that are this size when they landed on Earth started off a lot bigger before they hit the atmosphere. This is just the right size to be smashed to pieces by aerodynamics. That's not to say NONE of it would have impacted, just nothing big enough to take out a city.

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Boffin

missed opportunity?

There's still no excuse for not sending him out in to space!

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Coat

Re: missed opportunity?

Yes there is, the cost.

Find somewhere quiet and nuke him down here.

It doesn't have to be Rocket Science you know........

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Grenade

Its a title, Jim, but not as we know it...

It does if you decide to nuke him from Orbit (its the only way to be sure).

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Alien

Phew...........

........... it missed

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Alien

How?

It's 10:50 GMT/UT not BST, there's 20 minutes to go - unless I missed the clocks going back somehow ;-)

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Phew....

.....It really did miss...

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min

damn..

does this mean that Obama does not have to do a Freeman'esque ''God help us all...'' speech?

it would have been nice to see how the real one measured up to the skills of the thesp.

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Pint

Hah!

He would probably call for a bailout.

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Anonymous Coward

Why would he do that?

He's a happily married man --- not some stupid banker!

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Grenade

Bush's Bailout

The economic bailout was start under Bush, you historical revisionist teabagger!

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It would have been nice ?

I'm sure you'd have appreciated the view if it fell in your area, hmm ?

By the way, the asteroid that caused the Tunguska event didn't make it to Earth surface either, but it sure made a lot of trees unhappy. I'm pretty sure people in New York or Tokyo wouldn't much like it to happen to them.

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Anonymous Coward

You forgot to mention the cause

(apart from the stupid bankers)

Oh, no, sorry: you did mention him.

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It Will Miss

As I post this, the close encounter is still 15 minutes away, so it hadn't missed yet. I think it's a good thing we can detect events like this, as it indicates we are approaching the capability of detecting other asteroid encounters that would be harmful, in time to do something about them.

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Coat

Not so good

Good that we can detect them, yes. Not so good that it was only three days before the flyby perhaps.

Mine's the one with the express ticket to Elsewhere in the pocket.

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Headmaster

In timeto do something about them?

It was spotted at 3:50 AM on Saturday morning, so by my reckoning, that's 74 hours 55 minutes warning.

But, yes, hopefully the boffins would have spotted it sooner, had it been (to use the scientific term) "very very large".

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Alien

Damn...

...it missed.

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Coat

That's all very well, but

Did they really only spot it three days ago? I'm assuming a larger (and more devastating) asteroid would have been spotted sooner, giving us a little more warning of our impending extinction...

Mine's the one with 'Asteroid Spotting for Dummies' in the pocket...

V.

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Alert

Thats prescisely the problem

Unforutnately building bigger guns to kill each other is more important than watching the sky for falling rocks. There's so much of the sky that we aren't looking at that a mankiller could be not so far away....

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Troll

Skimming?

This is obviously some new definition of the word "skimming" that I wasn't previously aware of.

I clicked the article link fully expecting to see photos of it zooming between two skyscrapers...

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Probability

In nature, there is no such thing as 0 probability (or 1 probability for that matter)

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Grenade

so...

the probability of zero-probability events occurring is zero?

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However...

...probability of politician opening mouth and lies coming out is as close to 1 as makes no difference. Conversely, probability of politician opening mouth and telling truth is pretty much 0.

Of course, politicians probably don't count as a natural phenomenon.

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Headmaster

In nature.... WAIT.

This is not true.

Consider this assertation: Every man will die.

In every case, this is and will be true. This is holds true even if you are religious, Jesus died. (Ok I am being a bit flippant but you get the point).

Probability - unity.

Now, the more philosophical amongst you will probably argue that that depends on how exactly probability is defined, but as you can see, from a practical point of view, I have proven your statement to be false.

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"NASA assures"

Famous last words I am sure

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This post has been deleted by its author

Maybe next time...

What's the word on the orbit of this little sucker? Decaying or increasing relative to Earth's own.

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Buck up, it is cause for celebration

Hoist a pint and celebrate ... should be an earth wide event !

(any excuse for a pint)

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@Bugs R Us

The orbit of this little sucker is rather irrelevant, it is unlikely it could cause any serious damage on the ground, even if it did come down right at a major city.

More importantly, we need to spot any big asteroids coming at us years in advance if we want to have any serious chance of altering their orbit in order to save ourselves. A month of warning won't do, a few years might just give us enough time to hit it with a few nukes a couple of months before it hits and alter its course enough to make it miss.

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Unhappy

But of course....

with the usual 'friendly fire' accuracy hit the wrong side and send it plummeting in for a direct hit on dear old home planet.

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You'll need more than "a few good nukes"

Outside of an atmosphere, a nuke is just a big flash light. If these things have been anywhere near the sun, in their history, they'll have seen a lot more 'nuke' than we can throw at it.

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FAIL

We're Boned.

Yep, sorry people. Any asteroid big enough to cause serious damage to the Earth and/or the human race pretty much travel so fast that you could fire millions of nukes at them and it wouldn't even skip a beat (imagine trying to stop or alter a bullets trajectory by blowing on it). Any Bruce Willis'esque space mission would only cause it to just fracture causing us to parish from a downpour rather than a single impact.

Our only course of action would be to somehow either use some kind of device to land on the asteroid and use solar sails or propulsion to slowly alter its trajectory or to use said device on another massive object to cue ball the impending doom, assuming we get that device to the asteroid in-time. Which you are right Remy, would probably require years of advance notice.

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@Daniel 1

Untrue. Nukes are grand for making a great big punch. It is all a question of directing the energy. A bunker buster is for all intents and purposes a focused nuke, and that would impart enough energy in many cases to "nudge" a threatening asteroid a few meters in a given direction. Remember that if you do it right, at the right part of the object’s orbit, you don’t need more than a nudge.

The Sun is great and all, but apart from periodic coronal mass ejections, getting hit by solar radiation is like being on the receiving end of a slightly more irritable ion drive. Solar winds just aren’t powerful enough to really affect something with the mass of an asteroid but a low surface/mass ratio. The only exception to this is if the asteroid in question is chalk full of volatiles. At that point, enough solar radiation will vaporise the volatiles. This can lead to the volatiles reaching escape velocity and thusly exerting thrust on the mass in question.

Apart from the sudden specific impulse method of lobbing a few largeish bunker-busters at your asteroid of choice, nukes also offer a grand method of creating an interstellar shotgun. Think of a properly outfitted spacecraft as being a sort of spacebourne claymore. You detonate a directed charge into a pusher plate. This plate translates the force of the explosion into a large array of kinetic impactors (“bullets” for lack of a better term.) The pusher also deals with blocking most of the ionising radiation from the blast, thus preventing vaporising your payload. The kinetic impactors rip into your asteroid of choice at relativistic velocities shredding the object and imparting different angular velocities to the remnant bits.

Whilst turning one dangerous falling object into many is generally a bad plan, if you do it far enough away from earth, by the time it arrives you have a fairly harmless and largely dispersed cloud of smallish debris that will harmlessly burn up in the atmosphere.

In short, nukes are plenty useful in space. You just have to understand their characteristics. Trying to use them in space the same way we would use them here on earth is pointless. On Earth, it isn’t the nuke that kills you. It’s the wall of unimaginably hot plasma that gets you. No atmosphere in space to create a plasma shockwave means totally different rules about how you use a nuke.

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Joke

Bruised Willy?

Sorry!!!

Arm-a-gedin out-a here...

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Stop

No mission!

Of course they're getting rid of all the shuttles, so we won't be able to send two up with Bruce to sort it all out when the Big One comes!

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Joke

Reminiscent of a recent entry on Lamebook

http://www.lamebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/dumb-assteroid.png

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*this* close to geostationary

And it didn't even have the decency to take out a Murdochsat.

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Anonymous Coward

Klendathu

I blame the arachnids, good job the targeting software is less accurate than 1-13 meters.

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I still maintain

the best way to deal with the killer 'roid from blazing through our atmosphere and causing complete destruction, is to fill the shuttles with as many lawyers, solicitors, politicians and religious zealots as you can.

rather than sinking nukes into the asteroid. we ramset those bastards to it. If my calculations are correct ( and they usually are) we're still screwed, but, we have reduced the population of oxygen stealers that will contrbiute to the famine that will follow

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Pint

DO NOT PANIC

My Hitchhiker's Guide doesn't mention avoiding planetary

destruction by asteroid but I have a towel and a

packet of crisps handy and will continue slamming down

beers as fast as I can just to be safe.

Do join me...

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