Saturday, February 16, 2013

Meteor Attack

Here's a threat we hadn't noticed before -- one that can destroy Earth.                           [ExtremeTech]

Click here for related story [The Economist]

See also the follow on analysis: "Meteor, or was it!"

Getting ready for Armageddon. 

Seems as if the asteroid attack on Earth is not a new threat; merely one we're recognizing as one which is much more real than anyone could have imagined [other than Science Fiction writers] 20 years ago.  NASA has paid close attention to the asteroid designated 2012 DA-14, which is about 150 yards long; but that comparatively little meteor -- only 50 feet long -- weighed in at about 15 million pounds and was moving a bit above the sound barrier at an estimated 40,000 mph; meteoric, so to speak.

1,200 Russians injured

As our friends in Russia noticed, we'll need to pay closer attention to these space rocks that come crashing down on us.  Russian casualties there numbered over a thousand, not to mention considerable property destruction from spin-off reverberations given off by the supersonic speed of the meteor.  Had this meteor landed in downtown Manhattan rather than a remote Russian lake, we suspect it would have dwarfed the World Trade Center catastrophe.

The Bruce Willis movie, Armageddon, addressed the catastrophic effect of "a big one" hitting the Earth, and even designed a remedy to prevent massive destruction on/devastation of Earth.  Now, that as background to the Russian event has prompted our Congress to focus on how we are to prevent one of the rocks from causing us more problems.

Some of these asteroids are almost as large as Montana and have their own orbiting moons;  and, some are no larger than a Volkswagon Beetle - without a Moonroof.

Hubble Telescope                                       [NASA]

Over the last 20 years or so, we've been somewhat bewildered that our government has seemingly lost interest in space, going so far, under the Bush Administration, as to cancel the Hubble Telescope mission and sentence it to death by aiming it at Earth and having it evaporate in Earth's atmosphere.  We were assured that a replacement would be created and launched within the following 20 years. 

Fortunately, the shrieking, bellowing, and snarling of the scientific community thwarted that extraordinary act of bureaucratic stupidity, and the Hubble remains in orbit to peek into Deep Space, and also to give us a close-up look at the asteroid and meteor threats to Earth.

The Hubble has been one tool in monitoring these asteroids and meteors, but, even that seems to have not been fully employed.  Not long ago, we launched a satellite whose sole mission was to track these objects; but it too seems to have missed the target.

As Congressman Steven Palazzo [Chair of the House Subcommittee on Space] noted,
"I find it rather ironic that the same day that an asteroid we've known about for a year passed within a few hundred miles of Earth, a meteorite caught us completely off guard."

So, what is the threat, and what's the origin of asteroids? Most of those we see roaring by our planet originated in our Solar System's Asteroid Belt, located between Mars and Jupiter.

Now, the official scientific origin of the Asteroid Belt is that it was formed as sort of an unfinished part of our solar system, and that's a good explanation.  Theoretically, when Jupiter formed, it supposedly prevented all these giant particles from cohesing into a planet.  And, some of those particles are the size of our Moon.

But, if you look closely at the space between Mars and Jupiter, there's a lot of empty space there, and it would seem likely that there's more to the story than just that explanation. 

We suspect there used to be a planet there -- which somehow was destroyed, leaving all that debris which comprises the Asteroid Belt.

There are any number of explanations for such an event, ranging from a direct hit by a large asteroid, to a destabilized rotation on its magnetic axis [something Earth has experienced at least six times in its history], and some have even theorized it was destroyed by aliens long ago.

Whatever the cause of its destruction, we believe the asteroid and meteor debris are the remains of the destroyed planet since this debris carries, of all things, water -- and life forms, albeit primitive.

Meteor Water                 [Wired]

Now, we are told that indeed there is water on the asteroids -- and even on our own Moon.  It's not much now, but it is evident that the materials, chemicals, and elements on the surface of the asteroids derives from water.  So, the obvious question is, where did the water come from?

Oddly, the official answer is:
"Oh, why meteors carrying water struck the asteroids [and our Moon] depositing the water.  And that's how Earth got enough water for our oceans."  [That's a whole lot of water from little meteors.] 

And the question we've not seen asked is
"And where did the water come from that would be found on meteors?"

No answer.

We conclude that the asteroids and meteors carry water that was once on a planet with oceans [perhaps like Earth?] that was destroyed in our Solar System long ago.

But, lets return to the immediate topic of Asteroid Threat.

Tunguska Meteor Impact

Just how much of a threat to Earth do we face from these celestial bodies, and is one of them headed our way that we won't be able to fend off -- leading us to a major disaster to deal with here? 

Might that threat be the basis for the massive expansion of government authoritarianism, rumors of "FEMA Camps", federal purchases and hoarding of massive amounts of ammunition? and, increasingly bewildering restrictions on citizens' Rights via a long string of Executive Orders -- unopposed by Congress?

Tanguska: 100 years later, still no trees]

The 1908 Tunguska meteor was estimated to be about twice the size of the one that just struck Russia.  The air burst released 1,000 times the energy of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  It knocked down an estimated 80 million trees in an area of 830 square miles.

It's merely speculation of course, but if such a catastrophe were to occur in a populated area of the US, then Martial Law might be necessary to maintain order as food, water, and fuel supplies could disappear overnight.

And we could understand if our benevolent leadership is merely preparing a law-and-order scenario for the mass chaos that would result from such destruction.

Plans have been in place for 60 years to evacuate the federal bureaucracy to underground safehavens; but they were based on a nuclear holocaust -- not Mother Nature.

Something to think about.

#asteroid #meteor #Russia #Space #FEMA