We ARE all going to die...

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Whew! Stealth asteroid nearly blindsides Earth A sizable asteroid zipped near our planet this month without anyone noticing because it traveled through an astronomical blind spot, scientists said.

The space boulder passed Earth within 288,000 miles (461,000 kilometers) -- or 1.2 times the distance to the moon -- on March 8, but since it came from the direction of the sun, scientists did not observe it until four days later.

The object, slightly larger than one that flattened a vast expanse of Siberia in 1908, was one of the 10 closest known asteroids to approach Earth, astronomers said.

"Asteroid 2002 EM7 took us by surprise. It is yet another reminder of the general impact hazard we face," said Benny Peiser, a European scientist who monitors the threat of Earth-asteroid collisions.

If it pierced the atmosphere, the approximately 70-meter-long rock could have disintegrated and unleashed the energy equivalent of a 4-megaton nuclear bomb, researchers said.

"If it were over a populated area, like Atlanta, it would have basically flattened it," said Gareth Williams, associate director of the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

The rock is considerably smaller than dozens of potential planet killers 1-kilometer in size or larger that lurk in the inner solar system.

Like its larger siblings, asteroid 2002 EM7 follows an elliptical orbit with an extremely low risk of Earth collision in the coming decades or centuries.

Nonetheless, astronomers maintain that constant surveillance is necessary to identify more killer rocks in our neighborhood and ensure that none take our planet by surprise, in particular those traveling near the blinding light of the sun.

"If one comes from the direction of the sun, we're not going to see it," Williams said.

"Often these objects are outside of the Earth's orbit for a significant amount of time. The key is to detect them when they are outside the Earth's orbit and predict whether they might hit us in the future from the sun side."

Even lesser rocks such as 2002 EM7 could do serious damage by plunging into the ocean and unleashing monster tsunamis on coastal cities, he said.

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2002 EM7 could smack into Earth in 2093.

But don't tell the grandchildren to head to the hills just yet. The odds of a collision are currently 1 in 10 million and could become even more remote with more refined calculations.

Read The Story:http://dailynews.netscape.com/dailynews/cnn/email_2.tmpl?story=2002031909355001093517&cat=&id=&psp=&sid=&shortdate=0319&shortdate=0319

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 19, 2002


It's a rock.

-- (what@i.think), March 19, 2002.


Some still know me.

Thatsa nice

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 19, 2002.

How do you know a between a rock or a nuke if Atlanta gets flattened all at once? How long do you wait for confirmation before you nuke the prime suspects just in case it wasn't a rock? And if we nuke the prime suspects and find out later it was a rock, do we apologize?

-- helen (glass@houses.prep.accordingly), March 19, 2002.

Hey FS! Nice to see ya in these parts!!

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), March 19, 2002.

The despicable attitude displayed toward asteroids on this thread is why I rarely visit this forum anymore.

-- FutureJock (big@muscles.work), March 19, 2002.

Why are Asteroids in outer space and Hemorrhoids on your ass?

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), March 19, 2002.

Because its a function of climate and fungus?

Hi, FS it's been a long time. How are things in the Big City?

-- Jack Booted Thug (governmentconspiracy@NWO.com), March 19, 2002.

"Why are Asteroids in outer space"?

Because they circle around Uranus.

-- (ass teroids @ around. yer anus), March 20, 2002.

On a somewhat related note, the fourth book in Michael Flynn's "star" series came out recently. This series has its space development program motivated largely by concern about earth being smacked by an asteroid. In this fourth novel, apparently the danger is instantiated, and Our Heroes must labor most excitingly to Do Something About It. I have the book but it's about 3 weeks down in my current reading pile. Will earth survive? I'll find out soon...

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 20, 2002.


I'm still recovering from Pelligrino's Killing Star; I'm not ready for another one yet. :)

In that one, an alien vessel comes into our Solar System. It doesn't say "hello," it does not pass Go, it does not even try to collect $200.

It just starts methodically killing every single human it can find, primarily with C-fractional meteorites. Then it digs down to get anyone in submarines or mines, and it scans and destroys all space installations. It's quite thorough.

It did take a couple of humans as specimens, and they asked the single occupant why he'd done it. "You MIGHT become a threat someday, and it's only logical that we eliminate you before you do." A lovely, cheerful book. I recommend it highly. :)

-- Stephen (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), March 20, 2002.

Ok, I was suspicious last night, but now I know. Not FS, merely a troll/poor imitator. Not really knocking over the money changers table, as is his usual. I could only hope! Disappointment to the max!

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), March 21, 2002.

What makes you think it is not FS?

-- (see@no.reason), March 21, 2002.

Well, you see... um... Aunt Bee has seen FS's... strike that... shall we say she has seen... er... certain personal... um... physical attributes of FS that cannot be... uh... faked and... This is just too hard! I give up!

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), March 21, 2002.

Kudos to the person who is anal enough to remember my last post before this one!

I posted this and then forgot. Bee- I am too busy to knock over the tables! I have recently moved, rescued a beautiful dog (white/apricot Jack Russell Terrier/Poodle Mix- He has the poodle hair and the JRT face and body). The dog has a very serious "cute" problem and we are afraid he will be stolen...

I am also rehearsing Elaine May's adaptation for community theater- I am the Gamesmaster-The role is essentially God in the play, and my friend and family are just telling me to be myself (Hmm- Maybe I need to take a look at that LOL).

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 22, 2002.

LOL @ Futurejock!

-- (well@it.WAS funny), March 22, 2002.

Hey FS, nice to ya! NOW I know for sure it's YOU!

I do hope the move went well for ya, and you're adjusting to the new environment!

Hugs to ya, and hope to see you and the missus soon!

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), April 17, 2002.

Aunt Bee,

Anybody ever tell you you're just a little bit sloooooow?

-- ho-hum (one@month.later), April 18, 2002.

Yes silly! Real life gets in the way of cyberlife sometimes, ya know!

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), April 18, 2002.

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