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back to article Asteroid could SMASH INTO EARTH in 2040

Top space boffins are keeping a close eye on an asteroid that could collide with Earth in 2040. Orbiting rock 2011 AG5 is about 140 metres wide and could come close enough to spur on a crack team of drill-wielding heroes to save the world. The Scientific and Technical subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful …

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Anonymous Coward

Hypothetically speaking...

... what kind of damage could a 140 metre wide asteroid do if it struck Earth?

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Re: Hypothetically speaking...

Depends on what it's made of, how fast it's going and what angle it hits at. But to give you some perspective, here's what happens when a 50-metre nickel-iron meteor hits:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_crater

Not so bad if it touches down in the middle of nowhere, not so great if it happens in the middle of your road.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

Depends where it landed or if it exploded in the air.

If it happened over a city it would be catastrophic to the point of no more city

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Devil

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

50-100MT of TNT or so, depending on speed, density, etc.

Enough to wipe out a megapolis of your chosing if it lands on top of one. Sizeable tsunami at sea too.

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Re: Hypothetically speaking...

why is this more news-worthy than Apophis? Is it just because we can practice something on this little rock before the next bigger one comes by?

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Re: Hypothetically speaking...

It could wipe out an area the size of Greater Manchester.

Although I doubt we will be that lucky.

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Unhappy

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

Manchester is probably safe. It's due to hit at about 4am, on Feb 5th 2040, UTC.

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/2011ag5.html

That means that Manchester will be on the side of the Earth away from the impact. Also, I think the important keyhole approach is in 2023. That's when any necessary intervention should happen.

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Mushroom

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

Any chance of getting it re-routed towards Cupertino, CA?

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Happy

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

I think all of North America is in range. More or less anywhere the time is between noon and midnight at 4am UTC. So, from about Beijing to New York. I say we should aim it into the Gulf of Mexico where the dinosaur one went. That worked out just fine.

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Re: Hypothetically speaking...

A rule of thumb for impacts is to take the size of the object and multiply by ten to get the size of the impact crater.

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Headmaster

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

A lot more than glubble werming, but not as much as a Green World government...

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Re: Hypothetically speaking...

Catastrophic? Depends on the city.

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Mushroom

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

"That worked out just fine" - So, by fine you mean "dominant life-form wiped out, to be replaced by currently insignificant small hiding thingies". Are you, by any chance, not human, but insectile?

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Re: Hypothetically speaking...

Even if the odds of it hitting are remote, it could be a good opportunity to use it as a "practice run" for when the inevitable happens and we do get a rock that could be a problem.

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@Allan George Dyer...

...look up irony. And then re-read.

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Anonymous Coward

In 2040 humanity will be looking up at the sky with a same stupid expression the dinosaurs had when the rock hit them. Instead of terra-forming Mars we'll have wars for oil and water.

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I kind of like the idea of civilisation being resetted just before having gained the ability to deflect an asteroid...

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PT

Morons

"In 2040 humanity will be looking up at the sky with a same stupid expression the dinosaurs had when the rock hit them."

As usual, The Onion brought us that news first.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/republicans-vote-to-repeal-obamabacked-bill-that-w,19025/

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Happy

A group in need of a theme song

"Former Apollo astronaut and NEO specialist Rusty Schweickart, representing the Association of Space Explorers"

Sadly I have a feeling their numbers will be dwindling in the coming decades... I can see earth, in 2039, people screaming in the streets, looking to the sky and wailing "Association of space Exlporers, where are you?" Before some terrific voice yells out "Explorers...... UNITE!" followed by a montage and associated music, with a few men in their eighties zimmerframing their way to the nearest bus stop.

On a more serious note, is it wrong to hope that there will be a collision just to see what happens? The rate of "OMG ASTEROID" headlines is only increasing, it's going to be a massive anticlimax if nothing ever happens. El Reg needs a collision or two to get the strike rate up.

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Re: A group in need of a theme song

It'll happen eventually. The likelyhood of it being in any of our lifetimes is pretty slim, but at some point in the next 20 million years or so the Earth will be hit by an ELE sized asteroid.

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Joke

Re: A group in need of a theme song

They can try:

http://www.metrolyrics.com/you-can-do-magic-lyrics-america.html

If an asteroid hits, they can put out the fire with magic, hehhehe

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Let's not get off track.

I think we're all beginning to lose sight of the real issue here, which is: what are we going to call ourselves? I say it's time to start the Campaign for Lessening Impact To us Of Rocks In Space.

I'll get some t-shirts printed up, someone go down to the ammunition stores, get the nuclear warheads and then strap one to Bruce Willis's head, he can nut the smegger to oblivion.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Let's not get off track.

I believe that you, Sir, owe me a new keyboard.

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Go

Re: Let's not get off track.

That's it, I'm breaking out the Red Dwarf DVD's later. I haven't seen it in ages, and you've just made me laugh quite hard!

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The most important thing...

...is Bruce Willis still going to be alive by 2040?

If not we're doomed I tell ya, DOOMED!

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Re: The most important thing...

We can send Bieber up there. It won't change the course of the KILLER SPACEROCK but it'll be a definite improvement.

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Go

Re: The most important thing...

Best freeze him now!

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Happy

Re: The most important thing...

That's a very good idea. Wouldn't want to be Bieberless when we need to use him for kinetic deflection.

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Mushroom

Re: The most important thing...

Every little bit helps, and if not, it's not a great loss...

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FAIL

According to the Telegraph...

"NASA has said that options include deflecting the asteroid by attaching a probe to it and using the extra gravity this would create to steer it away from Earth over the course of millions of light years."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/9111608/Asteroid-heads-towards-Earth-with-one-in-625-chance-of-hitting-planet.html

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Re: According to the Telegraph...

Well that's alright then - I was worried there.

So do they mean it's many years away (time), many light years away (distance), or the course will be deflected by (whatever unit they really mean) I wonder?

I'm stopping now, thinking down at that level makes my head hurt.

ttfn

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Anonymous Coward

Re: According to the Telegraph...

Strange, the Daily Fail has *exactly* the same nonsense text in their article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2107654/Nasa-identifies-new-asteroid-threat-hit-Earth-2040--UN-begun-discussing-divert-it.html

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Pint

"over the course of millions of light years"

What's that in linguini?

Beer, well, because.

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If we lived in a Doc EE Smith universe

We'd simply turn on a inertia nullifier and move our planet out of the way.

What could possibly go wrong?

ttfn

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Re: If we lived in a Doc EE Smith universe

Almost anything. You would have to do a galactic risk assessment study first.

And remember Asteroids Have Rights Too, You Know.

The final nail in the coffin would be of course when some wiped out nutter with a telescope discovers the face of Jesus on the bright side..

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Coat

Sounds like a job for Loyd Grossman...

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Joke

Surely

If enough people unfriend AG5 on Facebook, it will go away!

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Anonymous Coward

Don't forget to smoke Bruce a kipper.

He'll be back for breakfast.

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Alien

re: Hypothetically speaking...

It has been calculated that the Tunguska event could have been caused by an asteroid with a diameter of 60 Metres with solid composition. So, depending on its composition it could cause a lot of damage but not capable of wiping out the planet.

Unless the Tunguska event was caused by something far more exotic, like a black hole or UFO

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Happy

Re: re: Hypothetically speaking...

>Unless the Tunguska event was caused by something far more exotic, like a black hole or UFO

I'm pre-ordering the History Channel documentary on Blu-ray...

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Go

What a fantasitc opportunity for the entire world to pull together to fend off an external threat.

We're all in this one together ...

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Mushroom

@BilboBobbins

So what you're basically saying is, we're fucked.

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Re: @BilboBobbins

Well, there's not much chance of the world governments getting their acts together by twenty to nine is there?

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Pint

@Bilbo

That's the most magnificently cynical post I've ever read in these pages.

*Applauds*

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IT Angle

None of this matters because...

...We will all have been wiped out 2 years earlier by the 2038 bug.

PFS!

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Boffin

Damage

For something this size it will probably have a yield of between 100 to 1000 megatons, a 3km crater and a land impact would destroy a large urban area (e.g. New York/Tokyo/London).

Of course the chances of it hitting a major population zone are slim, a more likely oceanic impact would create a sizeable tsunami that, depending on its location, could affect a considerable number of people.

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Re: Damage

Just started reading Arthur C Clarkes "Rendez-vous with Rama" and as usual he's almost spot on with his predictions ... that has a catastrophic meteor strike in 2077 which wipes out most of North-Eastern Italy.

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Coat

Re: Damage

I had thought that it Rama would hit in South America, killing pack animals and causing church bells to ring. A regular Rama llama ding dong, if you will.

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Trollface

Re: Damage

that yield similar to wot stiffed Japan. Richter 8-10 sort of scale. BIG but not the end of life as we know it.

So basically, it wouldn't do a lot really. Not on extinction of the species terms anyway.

Is there anyway to make sure it hits, for example, Scunthorpe?

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Unhappy

Re: Damage

I thought the Italians had already achieved that?

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