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back to article Another DEVASTATING Chelyabinsk METEOR STRIKE: '7x as likely' as thought

NASA has revealed fresh research on the Chelyabinsk meteorite that exploded over Russia in February, and the findings aren't good: not only does it look like the astronomic models about the number of similar-sized things reaching Earth are wrong, but also the damage they can do is much greater than expected. Chelyabinsk …

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Headmaster

Whether governments are willing to put up the relatively small amounts of money needed to take things further is another matter however.

I will say. There is always enough money for someone to get his arse gilded in the most penetrating way (if need be by "quick" military compaigns) but the important stuff falls by the wayside, even in these days of unbridled Keynesianism.

Examples?

Currently in immediate need of funding:

Chemweapon destruction in Syria

The mind boggles.

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Alien

It's not NASA's fault...

The Arachnids only found out we were here in 1997, and it takes awhile for those rocks to get here from the quarantine zone!!

P.S.--The use of a spacecraft to subtley pull an asteroid out of it's current orbit is called a "gravity TRACTOR".

P.P.S.--We're all going to die!!! (Statement of fact that may or may not have anything to do with meteorite bombardment, but I'm buying a heavy-duty umbrella just in case.)

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Nowadays, it doesn't matter what it is, experts have concluded that it's umpteen percent more frightening than they thought.

A fearful population is more easily controlled and placated. Yes, yes, the infrastructure is degrading, taxes are going up, your job is gone because some capitalist gave it to someone in India but look on the bright side. You didn't get hit by a meteorite today, even though you were 7 times more likely to.

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Headmaster

taxes are going up, your job is gone because some capitalist gave it to someone in India

NO!

your job is gone because taxes are going up

is what actually happens.

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@Grogan

My thoughts exactly - people only started getting scared of this when they made a few films about it! The dinosaurs may have had an issue with something large hitting earth, but we've been here thousands and thousands of years and we're still here by the looks of it. So probability tells us that the chances of it happening anytime soon are remote, right?

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Re: @Grogan

Have you stopped looking before crossing the road?

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Re: @Grogan

People have been scared of comets and meteors since Babylon and earlier. Their appearance traditionally caused consternation, human sacrifice and periods of intense supplication to the sky gods. Even Haley's comet was met with portents of doom into the latter 19th century. The recent concern you mention was triggered by comet Shoemaker-Levy that slammed dramatically into Jupiter in 1994 at which point them bits of rock have been studied a good deal more intensely, to the point that their profusion _should_ be perceived as scary by any sane human who has visited the site of the 1907 Tunguska impact virtually or otherwise. The think tank engineers of social destiny should begin to consider making the real danger potential of meteor impact a replacement for the idiot fear mongering bugaboo of our age, global warming/climate change. Only fools and mimes avoid confronting the historic reality of massive cometary destruction: http://cosmictusk.com/clovis-population-decline-at-younger-dryas.

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Re: @Grogan - probability is fickle!

Yes, the probability is remote, especially for an Extinction Level Event (ELE). However that doesn't mean it won't happen anytime soon. The probability of an ELE in any one dinosaur's lifetime was also remote, but that didn't help those dinosaurs who were around when it happened.

Whilst it's not worth beggaring ourselves to protect against a possible meteor strike, we have the technology and the collective wealth to drastically reduce the risk at very little individual cost. As we do not yet have the capability to guarantee that Humankind, let alone so-called civilization, would survive such an event, it makes sense to spend some money on precautions. Besides, even if Humankind did survive such an event I probably wouldn't, so I think precautions are definitely justified.

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Well..

I'm waiting for the blame to be apportioned to climate change.

Maybe the cash-cow of global climate change/warming/cooling is not attracting the cash anymore: quick switch to splatting meteors?

It ties in quite well to military spending as well, never forgetting that space spending is not increasing as much.

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Re: @WalterAlter @Grogan

"People have been scared of comets "

No, they have been scared of what they portend as omens of the future.

Fear of a hucking fuge rock smacking into the earth is a relatively recent phenomenon.

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Your comment might have a SHRED of truth...except that the stock exchanges, and CORPORATE PROFITS, are both at all time record levels. True, verifiable fact. With most companies in robust, almost obscene health, it would seem that taxes are not the problem...

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Re: @WalterAlter @Grogan

>>No, they have been scared of what they portend as omens of the future.

Fear of a hucking fuge rock smacking into the earth is a relatively recent phenomenon.

D%D, get some rigor into your chops. Why the ham sell do you think that there was an association between comets and portents of doom to begin with? Check the link in my post.

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Hm, seven times more likely to get hit by an asteroid?

No worries! I just taped a piece of cardboard on top of my hat, with an arrow labeled 'Hit Him instead'.

So, fair warning, don't stand next to me, OK?

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Re: Hm, seven times more likely to get hit by an asteroid?

Not hit him, be specific; HIT CLEGG

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Coat

Shock news!

I'll bet those NASA boffins had a blast analysing the data.

The results have burst all over the front page.

The Chelyabinsk meteor rocked my world.

Having said that, all the fuss about asteroid size is just mass hysteria.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shock news!

Much like the asteroids, I suspect your joke my have gone over most peoples heads....

Have an upvote

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More money, please

Well, since Mother Nature won't cooperate with the "Earth's gonna fry" scare, NASA has to find a new way to generate research funding (i.e., a way to fund their paychecks). So they just returned to the tried and true Chicken Little scare - the sky is falling.

Man's had a good run. Something's going to take us out. At least a huge meteor or astroid would be quick and painless. Life is short, anyway. Have another drink.

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Re: More money, please

You are the kind of person that makes me want to power up the FEMA trailers.

What's wrong with you! Greenery disguised as defeatism or the reverse. I can't tell.

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Quick and painless ? Hardly.

For those not in the blast zone, there would be waiting for the fallout to drop, waiting for the sky to darken, waiting for the crops to die, waiting for the food riots to start while donning a 4th blanket to try to keep warm, and, after all that, dying of hunger/thirst.

So no, quick and painless it would certainly not be.

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Pint

Re: More money, please

You beat me to it. Gotta keep that grant money flowing, one way or another!

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Re: More money, please

'At least it will be quick and painless' - only if you are standing under it when it hits...

The rest of mankind will either starve to death - due to the lack of light kicked up by the million tons of debris kickied up by the impact, no crops growing, no animals breeding or fish reproducing - or die in the resource wars that follow.

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Re: More money, please

Although I think the meteor problem is real, the same thought crossed my mind: to what extent are they PRing the number more because they are looking for money from scare tactics than because of the actual measurable threat? Maybe my prejudices do make me more likely to believe the meteor threat and they are trying to play me.

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Re: More money, please

I'm with him, tongue in cheek or not. We're a selfish, destructive, self important and pointless race that deserved to have been wiped out a long time ago - the planet would be in a vastly better state if we had been. Bring on a massive asteroid - just as soon as I've finished consuming and ruining and shuffled off this mortal coil.

That defeatist enough for you?

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Gaiafagging

"the planet would be in a vastly better state if we had been"

Thanky ou for having the temerity of declaring a perfect ordering of the planet's states.

Seeing how you are apparently pining for the fjords for everyone, why don't you start going there?

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Re: Quick and painless ? Hardly.

I like jtom's version better than the When the Wind Blows one.

Besides, if it happens your way I'm taking a few people at their word. Boy, will they be sorry that they ever replied "eat me" to a request.

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Re: More money, please

[4 fixit_f ] "We're a selfish, destructive, self important and pointless race ..."

Oi! Speak for yourself! Personally, I am a generous, creative, self-confessed genius and boudoir athlete of god-like prowess. When I am gone the world will be a smaller, sadder place, as it will have fulfilled its purpose and will have nothing left to do but to slowly spin down and get swallowed by the Sun grown large.

Unless a bloody great rock hits it first, of course.

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@Stevie

And, besides all that, sooo modest and humble.

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Instant climate change

Geological evidence shows that a giant meteorite about six miles wide smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula close to the current Mexican town of Chicxulub 65 million years ago. According to the standard theory, the impact set off volcanic eruptions, massive earthquakes and tsunamis that sent dust flying high into the atmosphere, where it lingered and blocked the sun's light for decades or centuries.

Deprived of the sun's life-giving rays, plants and animals began to die. The dark skies also caused temperatures to plummet and white-hot debris falling back to Earth ignited wildfires all over the globe, the smoke of which mixed with rain clouds to create a scalding acid downpour.

Many scientists believe the combined calamities killed off most of the life on Earth, including dinosaurs, in the so-called K-T extinction event .

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Mushroom

Re: Instant climate change

Don't forget the mother of all extinctions, the Permian–Triassic event ca. 250 million years ago where 96% of marine species where wiped out. This was most likely caused by an impact event.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Instant climate change

One ever bigger event according to Wikipedia:

The prevailing hypothesis today is that the Earth–Moon system formed as a result of a giant impact, where a Mars-sized body (named Theia) collided with the newly formed proto-Earth, blasting material into orbit around it, which accreted to form the Moon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Instant climate change

I remember sitting in a seminar as a student hearing a talk about how maybe a meteorite impact could have wiped out the dinosaurs. At the end of the talk, there was embarrassed silence, followed eventually by sceptical and even slightly hostile questioning. The disbelief was palpable. This was from a room full of physicists and astronomers.

Little did they know that one day that idea might be the source of their salaries.

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Re: Instant climate change

Geologists have something of a track record of being right!

Back in Victorian days, they became quite certain that the earth was billions of years old, by measuring sedimentary rock strata thicknesses and present-day deposition rates. Physicists, however, were equally certain that the Sun could not be more than tens of millions of years old, because no chemical reaction could fuel it for any longer. The Geologists insisted that if chemistry couldn't, something else must....

...and in due course, nuclear fusion was discovered.

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Re: Instant climate change

Perhaps we should be investigating ways to precipitate the dust from the atmosphere back to Earth.

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Re: Instant climate change

The cause of the Permian-Triassic extinction is not widely believed to have been an impact event. It was coincident with the erruption of the Siberian traps. This was the most colossal volcanic erruption probably since life evolved. It could hardly have caused less than a global ecological catastrophe due to the gases released into the atmosphere.

Of course it's possible that an impact event provided the final straw for a seriously damaged ecosystem. This is the probable fate of the dinosaurs in the more recent mass extinction. The Chixulub impact occurred at the same time as the eruption of the Deccan traps, another massive volcanic outpouring though considerably smaller than the Siberian traps.

Finally, at least one sort of catastrophic event exists that would leave no direct geological trace at a remove of hundreds of My: exposure of the Earth to a gamma-ray burst in a "nearby" galaxy. This would ionise some fraction of the N2 and O2 molecules over half the planet's atmosphere, followed by recombination into Nitrogen Oxides. The Ozone layer would be almost instantly gone, and decades of nitric acid-laden rain would follow. Land-based life would suffer worst, as almost all plant life would be destroyed. You can of course posit any quantity of NOx creation depending on the gamma-ray flux.

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Re: Instant climate change

We already have something. It's called "rain", it's automatic, and it doesn't cost the taxpayers anything at all!!

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Re: Instant climate change

Time to "dust off" Wilhelm Reich's machine, maybe? You've probably heard about it: Kate Bush wrote a rather excellent song about it

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Re: Instant climate change

"We already have something. It's called "rain", it's automatic, and it doesn't cost the taxpayers anything at all!!"

You really are a deep thinker phil8192.

So, if there is a dust cloud encircling the Earth, how is the water evaporated?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Instant climate change @ Nigel 11

It is possible as you have mentioned that an impact triggered large scale eruptions. It could have even been very unusual solar activity.

There are plenty of interesting hypothesis that all have the same scary and deadly conclusion with the prospect of whatever the cause, it will more than likely happen again at some point in the future.Now lets see if I can hitch a lift on a passing Vogon constructor fleet before then.

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Re: Instant climate change

@ Nigel 11

"The cause of the Permian-Triassic extinction is not widely believed to have been an impact event. It was coincident with the erruption of the Siberian traps. This was the most colossal volcanic erruption probably since life evolved."

Yes but the planet had just suffered a major impact, possibly more, and the crust of our planet, in geological terms is really no more than the skin on great molten custard ball, in would cause crust to move around, "bell rings" to be transmitted through crust, possibly causing Siberian Traps event ...

Gama rays, Meteors, asteriods, Mutant star goats, the universe is strange place, lots of little problems, my suggestion is get on with it, we need to spread out, all our eggs are in 1 basket, I watched scifi from 50's, we should have been off this rock by now, but somebody decided to sell us mobilephone/fridges/cars/pc etc instead or do any upkeep on the place .....

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Re: Instant climate change

Is it possible that the Chixulub impact triggered the eruption of the Deccan traps?

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Re: Instant climate change

Wrong altitude - the dust gets way up into the stratosphere where it doesn't rain often.

Standing sound waves might work, but with the air so thin up there you'd need some pretty big speakers!

Maybe a rain of seagel fluff?

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Re: Instant climate change

"Is it possible that the Chixulub impact triggered the eruption of the Deccan traps?"

Maybe it is, I need to look at that time frame of those events for me to comment but, I think we dont look at full effects of hits sometimes, when I say "bell rings" I mean like throwing a rock into a pool, all those concentric rings, same thing happens to crust, with a large enough impact, I can easy see it, tearing a hole in crust & via "bell ring" doing greater damage, but, I am no scientist, just a observer ....

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gjw
Holmes

The Chelyabinsk meteorite briefly outshone the Sun

Let's not exaggerate this, shall we? It was pretty dark on a winter morning (03:20 UTC) when the thing hit the atmosphere.

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Facepalm

Re: The Chelyabinsk meteorite briefly outshone the Sun

Yes because the entire world was on a winter morning at 3:20 UTC when it hit. *Rolleyes*

The fact that it hit over central russia (i.e. UTC +6) means it hit at about 9:20 in the morning. I think the sun was up then, dont you?

Muppet...

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gjw
Holmes

Re: The Chelyabinsk meteorite briefly outshone the Sun

Have a look at the pictures. The sky was a nightly dark blue, the horizon orange and the sun wasn't exactly at the zenith of it's possible brightness, was it?

Thought so.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Chelyabinsk meteorite briefly outshone the Sun @GJW

Stand as close to the Sun as the people on the ground were to the Chelyabinsk meteorite and see which is the brightest.

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Reference point

Apologies if I missed the explanation in the story... but 'Seven times more likely' than what or when?

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Re: Reference point

"Seven times more likely than previously assumed, natch".

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uhh.

03:20 UTC.... it was 0920 local... That's a good few timezones out

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7 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE HIT BY A METEOR!!!!!

There! Now the masses are all terrified, it's time to crowd source a new IR Sat.

Now may be a good time to buy up army surplus helmets and label them 'Meteor Proof.'

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