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“An asteroid photographed by the a passing deep space probe Stardust proved twice as large as expected, according to NASA scientists. After the Stardust craft passed within 2,000 miles (3,300 km) of asteroid 'Annefrank', mission researchers determined that it is about 5 miles (8 km) in diameter…The oddly shaped boulder turned out to reflect much less sunlight than originally thought, which accounted for the error of the earlier size estimate. ‘It was a challenge for the navigation camera to see Annefrank during approach,' said Stardust scientist Ray Newburn of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Added Mike Wang, optical navigation specialist at JPL: ‘Annefrank was not cooperating. It was just too dim.’”

- CNN 11/5/02

[NOTE: This incident is yet more evidence that today's scientists are decades, if not centuries, away from being able to protect Earth from asteroids, much less even detect the rock that will destroy our civilization. Annefrank is just one of millions of rocks for which we don’t know their true size, and don’t even know where they are.]

In this next report we learn that even nuclear missiles will have little or no effect on an asteroid aimed at Earth...

The New York Times article is titled "Armageddon Can Wait: Stopping Killer Asteroids"...

"It is becoming clear that a longtime assumption of many scientists - and of Hollywood filmmakers - that a nuclear weapon is the best way to save the planet from a threatening asteroid is no longer in such favor…A nuclear detonation, some scientists say, could break the asteroid into several large pieces, increasing, rather then eliminating, the threat. And a blast some distance from the asteroid, designed to shove it into a slightly different orbit, might not work either; the asteroid might soak up the energy like a sponge. "I'd say forget that," said Dr. Keith Holsapple, a professor at the University of Washington who studies the effects of simulated nuclear explosions…Most of the alternative approaches would build up force gradually, gently nudging, rather than shoving the asteroid…given enough time, could shift an asteroid's orbit enough to change a hit into a close call.

"To move an asteroid, Dr. Joseph Spitale, a scientist at the U. of Arizona, says just change it's color. This approach would change how much sunlight it absorbs, and how hot it gets…Changing the amount of heat would change the force, affecting the orbit…There are, of course, logistical problems with this and other alternate technologies - getting buckets of paint to an asteroid, for instance, is no sure (or inexpensive) thing.

"Few scientists are arguing that society should be developing an asteroid-deflection system, given the extremely low odds of an impact any time soon. 'A major technological effort at this time is probably ill conceived because our children will be so much better at it,' said Dr. Alan Harris of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. Rather, most scientists say that any money available should go into detecting asteroids and investigating them to better understand the potential threat."

[NOTE: This assertion that an impact on Earth has extremely low adds of happening is delusional. Officials can keep brain-training the pubic to think the risk is small because our state/corporate/media suppresses publicity about the American asteroid disaster 131 years ago in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. At least 1200 Americans perished in Pestigo from exploding space rocks. Likewise, government officials also re-write history to conceal from us the fact that the "Dark Ages" resulted from impact winter following an asteroid collision nearly 15 centuries ago. If we include these events in the assessment of "risk probability" the odds of disaster in the near future shift from unlikely to certainty.]

"…a NASA-sponsored workshop on asteroid hazards in September near Washington that 'pretty much sent the nuclear weapon idea home packing,' said Dr. Erik Asphaug, a professor at the U. of California at Santa Cruz…But any asteroid with a chance of hitting Earth would cross the planet's path many times before it actually hit, so it would probably be detected decades in advance."

[NOTE: This is a false and arrogant assumption. Asteroids constantly change direction because of many factors in space - they bump and crash into one another and veer off on a new trajectory as a result. To insist that 1) we will detect an asteroid in advance, and 2) that it will be an asteroid that has repeatedly crossed Earth's path in the past, are irrationally optimistic. But then, our ruling class sustains itself by training the public to agree with irrational optimism.]

"There is no current detection program for smaller asteroids, of which there are perhaps half a million down to about 50 meters in diameter, the smallest size capable of penetrating Earth's atmosphere…And there is no systematic survey for potentially hazardous comets, which come out of…left field. 'So we would either very likely have a lot of warning or none at all,' said Dr. Clark Chapman of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. No warning time means no options. A short amount, on the order of a decade or two, might leave a nuclear blast as the only choice…'We would want to seek out every alternative to a nuclear weapon before turning to that technology,' Dr. Chapman said.

"Many [asteroids]…are rather loose agglomerations of stony fragments that have stuck together…[and] such porous objects would be hard to obliterate or move with a nuclear blast, even one some distance from the surface…Porosity might prove to be a problem even for some of the alternative methods, however. A mass driver, for instance, would have to be firmly attached to an asteroid in order to work, as would a small rocket engine…It might not be possible to anchor such equipment to a popcorn-ball [like] asteroid.

"Dr. Spitale's idea [of changing the color of the asteroid] would not be without other difficulties. For one thing, a lot of paint would be required…[and] asteroids have very little gravity, so it is unclear that paint or dirt would stay in place…Some other experts find Dr. Spitale's ideas largely impractical. 'I guess I consider that approach kind of quirky,' Dr. Chapman said…Still…while it may not be easy, along with the nuclear option it is the only approach that appears technically feasible at this time. 'If we are faced with the problem today,' Dr. Spitale said, 'this is one of maybe two approaches where we could say, 'Well, we could do this.'"

[NOTE: No, the only choice we once had was to produce a civilization based on equality, so that those who have the insights to develop the physics needed for anti-asteroid technology can survive instead of dying in violence provoking poverty while some "special class" lives in luxury.]

- The New York Times 11/19/02

"Satellite Study Establishes Frequency of Megaton-sized Asteroid Impacts," writes, "Earth is threatened by enormous asteroids. New research at The University of Western Ontario establishes a better baseline for the frequency of large impacts that may cause serious damage on the ground. Based on these new estimates the average chances the Earth will be hit by an asteroid impact capable of causing serious regional damage (roughly one megaton TNT equivalent energy) is close to once per century. The study, led by Peter Brown, Canada Research Chair in Meteor Science and Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Western, appears in the November 21 issue of the prestigious journal Nature…The revised estimate suggests Earth's upper atmosphere is hit about once a year by asteroids that release energy equivalent to five kilotons of TNT. The object that exploded above Tunguska, Siberia in 1908 was considered 'small' (30 to 50 metres across), yet its energy was big enough to flatten 2,000 square kilometres of forest. It would have completely destroyed a city the size of New York…'It seems likely there is also a non-random component to the impact flux at these smaller sizes which would suggest our estimates are lower bounds to the true impact risk,' says Brown."

- 11/22/02