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The Sky Really Will Be Falling One Day

If you're anything like me, you probably wake up in the middle of the night worried that an Earth-killer asteroid will be discovered that very morning, and that there'll be nothing the human race can do about it since we haven't bothered to prepare.

Fortunately, there are others like me out there. According to today's New Scientist article UN urged to coordinate killer asteroid defences, the Association of Space Explorers is concerned too. After two long years, during which an asteroid might have hit Earth on any day, they've released a report noting that we have the technology to save the world, we just don't have the agency set up to do so.


They're asking the United Nations to form a new NEO Threat Oversight group, where NEO stands for Near-Earth Object, to advise the Security Council on the threat. Should the group find an asteroid impact is imminent, presumably steps could be taken to try to deflect the asteroid and to evacuate cities, just in case.

Don't forget that this year, we noted the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska Event, which thankfully took place in isolated Siberia. Had the Event occurred over a populated city, hundreds of thousands of people (possibly even millions) might have died.

I urge all of you to contact your elected representatives and let them know how seriously you do take this threat. Sure, there are many other crises that are occupying the national and world psyche at the moment, but as Rabbi Hillel said, "If not now, when?"


Hey, good news! I despair of our society ever accurately perceiving threat levels, though.

NEO Threat Oversight group

Code-named the Thunderbirds? (Why do I have super-marrionation running through my head?)

Re: NEO Threat Oversight group

Thunderbursteins are go!
You're right. But at the moment, I can't conceive of us having a government with much foresight. Or sight at all.
At one Boskone, Brother Guy was talking about how killer asteroids are really a remote threat. When someone mentioned being afraid of killer asteroids, he said, he told them that they were better off just making sure to wear their seatbelt.

I raised my hand and pointed out that wearing one's seatbelt increases one's chances of being killed by a killer asteroid. After a moment's thought, he allowed as how that was true.


Reply to asteroid

there's not much the government will do unless one really does hit. Then they'll take precaution and unforseen measures to make sure it doesn't happen again.
I'm curious... are there statistics about just how likely a major impact in a populated area is? The planet really has an awful lot of surface area that has little to no human population. I'd be more concerned about an oceanic impact causing tsunamis.

Regardless, I certainly agree that we should have a plan of action ready, though I'm not overly optimistic. As a global community, we have an absolutely abysmal record for both preparedness and response to natural disasters.
hey, this post made the front page of boston.com!

December 2016

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