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1-in-1,000 Chance of Asteroid Impact In ... 2182?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the sorry-kids dept.

Earth 326

astroengine writes "Sure, we're looking 172 years into the future, but an international collaboration of scientists have developed two mathematical models to help predict when a potentially hazardous asteroid (or PHA) may hit us, not in this century, but the next. The rationale is that to stand any hope in deflecting a civilization-ending or extinction-level impact, we need as much time as possible to deal with the threatening space rock. (Asteroid deflection can be a time-consuming venture, after all.) Enter '(101955) 1999 RQ36' — an Apollo class, Earth-crossing, 500 meter-wide space rock. The prediction is that 1999 RQ36 has a 1-in-1,000 chance of hitting us in the future, and according to one of the study's scientists, María Eugenia Sansaturio, half of those odds fall squarely on the year 2182."

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I'll probably be dead by then, right? (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079934)

In that case, "Cool!"

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (0, Flamebait)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079996)

Not only you. The whole human species would be extinct by then. We have global warming, pollution, fuel shortage, wars, corruption. These are enough to finish us by 2100. What happens in 2182 is irrelevant.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (0, Offtopic)

Allnighte (1794642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080046)

Not only you. The whole human species would be extinct by then. We have global warming, pollution, fuel shortage, wars, corruption. These are enough to finish us by 2100. What happens in 2182 is irrelevant.

Yeah hi, can I also get the pollution with no cheese and add bacon? And can you make the drink with the wars just a bottle of water instead of a Coke?
Also can you throw in some of those Chinese takeovers of Western society and the LHC creating a blackhole which will eat all of France?
Thanks.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (-1, Flamebait)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080192)

Since when is the destruction of France a bad thing? We all know the tag for that story - andnothingofvaluewaslost

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080242)

French cheese, french wine, french cuisine,....
What have the French ever given us?

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080554)

French kiss?

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (1)

brightmal (1467167) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080670)

But before that the vast Right-wing Conspiracy run by the Bush Clan and the Zionist Elders will get us. Oh yeah, and it's all 'cause of the evils of Capitalism and the banking system.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080052)

I pity people like you.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (2, Informative)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080068)

So you are saying I shouldn't worry about it then.

I was going to see what I could do to help man kind, but you convinced me it would be a meaningless gesture.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (4, Interesting)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080070)

I seriously doubt it. Humans are adaptable. Sure, we may go into another Dark Age in the next century or so, but the issues you show concern over would fall pathetically short of causing our extinction.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080298)

Well, some potential, unfortunate combination of the few factors he mentions perhaps has a slight chance of ending in something quite, hm, entertaining [wikipedia.org] ;p (especially if coupled with unavoidable, in such case, massive unrest)

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080112)

Not only you. The whole human species would be extinct by then. We have global warming, pollution, fuel shortage, wars, corruption. These are enough to finish us by 2100.

Humans have been doing that for a lot longer then the 90 years to 2010, more -1 Pessimist then +1 Insightful.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080200)

Not only you. The whole human species would be extinct by then. We have global warming, pollution, fuel shortage, wars, corruption. These are enough to finish us by 2100. What happens in 2182 is irrelevant.

Dammit, and 2182 was finally going to be the year of Linux on the desktop!

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080718)

Who says it won't be? Computers don't need us. We need computers.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (-1, Troll)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080254)

Mod +1 Fact

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (5, Informative)

SirRedTooth (1785808) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080442)

Not only you. The whole human species would be extinct by then. We have global warming, pollution, fuel shortage, wars, corruption. These are enough to finish us by 2100. What happens in 2182 is irrelevant.

Not really. The human race started off as a primitive ape like species. We managed to survive living in jungles, deserts and caves. How is "global warming, pollution, fuel shortage, wars, corruption" going to kill ~7bn people. Sure it might kill 3 billion or even 4 billion at the very worst (which is still unlikely) But there is no way any of the things you mentioned will kill every single human being.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080500)

The problems listed might cut the population down to a tenth of it's current size, but you are dimly aware of how most of the world functions on a day to day basis.

Re:I'll probably be dead by then, right? (1)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080676)

Suit yourself. I fully intend to be not just alive, but enhanced beyond all the current boundaries and limitations of our ape heritage by then.
Heck, with any luck I'll have ditched the last of the organic crap at that stage.

It is a relief knowing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33079936)

It is a relief knowing when it will all end, I'll plan accordingly.

We don't need to worry about it (2, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079944)

172 years people, geeze.

We won't even be alive by then.. why be concerned about something that has a 0.1%chance of happening?

You know this is going to be just like Y2K. Once the chance is realized to be 30% or higher, people will start working on the fix in 2181.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (5, Insightful)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079960)

I imagine some people have, or plan to have, children which they will have some degree of fondness towards. As it may effect their children, or their children's children, it might be of some concern to you.

Also, I'm pretty sure an unusually high percentage of Slashdot readers are not planning on dying. I mean, that's pretty much what science is for, right? I'm very concerned about how this asteroid will affect my robot-body . . .

Re:We don't need to worry about it (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080028)

Also, I'm pretty sure an unusually high percentage of Slashdot readers are not planning on dying. I mean, that's pretty much what science is for, right? I'm very concerned about how this asteroid will affect my robot-body . . .

Sad reality: if the robot-body technology WAS developed within our lifetimes, the vast majority of us couldn't afford it. That's going to be the ugly truth when it gets here: "immortality" will only be for the rich. The rest of us will live and die like we always have.

That said - 500 meters? That's enough to cause some SERIOUS devastation, but it's not an extinction event impact. 6 miles wide killed the dinosaurs, but didn't wipe out EVERYTHING. This is 0.3 miles wide. As long as civilization as a whole goes on then I'm not TOO worried. Afterall, if they fail to successfully deflect it, the survivors could look at it as a learning experience.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080248)

Yeah, right. Short of resource scarcity imposing a real manufacturing limit on this imaginary technology, artificially restricting its availability to the financially privileged would cause a mass uprising among the informed. Ironically, fear of death is probably the last great thing people in Western nations are willing to throw away their lives for in order to prevent.

Not that I put any credibility in this "robot-body" prediction. To move the human 'conscience' into a machine would require a transplant of the brain, which would in turn depend on anti-aging or regeneration discovery, which would render the use of a mechanical body unnecessary.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080684)

You can bet on some unrest, but it won't help much with scarcity - which, for a long time, won't have anything to do with resource scarcity - doing complex things takes time, attention of many people, etc. Now compare such realities with the typical number of people dying every day (a number which will only go up). Throw in some groups wanting to ban it and/or destroy what's already there. And hey, most of the world has some funny ideas, due to fear of death, all the time; at least with the ironic case, that you mention, it might have a nice twist regarding game theory: if they would fall during the uprising, it doesn't matter anyway; but success...

Re:We don't need to worry about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080252)

You just need a ticket to GE999.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (0)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080466)

Yeah, like a hot chick like Maetel would ever waste her time with the average slashdot nerd who couldn't even hold a Cosmo Dragoon properly.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (5, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080266)

Sad reality: if the robot-body technology WAS developed within our lifetimes, the vast majority of us couldn't afford it.

Oh I'm sure that banks will be willing to give you a loan to purchase (or better still - rent) your immortal robot-body, after all - you are going to have hundreds of years to pay it off.
I know some executives who would salivate at the idea of having an indentured workforce like that.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080364)

Sad reality: if the robot-body technology WAS developed within our lifetimes, the vast majority of us couldn't afford it.

Oh I'm sure that banks will be willing to give you a loan to purchase (or better still - rent) your immortal robot-body, after all - you are going to have hundreds of years to pay it off.

I know some executives who would salivate at the idea of having an indentured workforce like that.

You would still need to be able to pay the yearly interest rates... With 5% interest rate, if the price is $1M, you would have to pay $50K in interests only the first year, that would exclude a lot of people.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (1)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080444)

Sad reality: if the robot-body technology WAS developed within our lifetimes, the vast majority of us couldn't afford it. That's going to be the ugly truth when it gets here: "immortality" will only be for the rich. The rest of us will live and die like we always have.

Unless you believe singularity [wikipedia.org] will happen

Re:We don't need to worry about it (3, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080534)

I personally am pretty confident that cryonics works. Yes, I have a degree in a related field and I am working on an MD. When I say "works", I mean that if a patient is frozen with a well oxygenated brain within a short time period following legal death (the heart stops), and cryoprotectants are used, then I am confident that nearly all personality and memories are preserved.

The person needs to be kept cold for 100-200 years. Already, there are people that have been kept frozen for 40 years, so this is not implausible.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (2, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080624)

You don't think immortality would be available under say, a 5000 year mortgage plan?

Re:We don't need to worry about it (1)

tywjohn (1676686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080178)

Maybe Japan will try to land on it

Re:We don't need to worry about it (2, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080250)

Or maybe it will try to land on Japan.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080240)

"Think of your children" also doesn't convey properly the scales, the stakes involved - most recent common ancestor of us all lived basically in historical times, possibly in Antiquity or so. If looking just at a group like "europeans and those at least partially descended from them", it's a matter of millenium. Even with low fertility rates, quite a lot of people could carry traces of your DNA in 2 centuries; with greater mobility nowadays... Not to mention the possibility for huge number of "spiritual descendants" - we are a civilisation after all, the idea seems to be also to leave a bit more than individual genes.

Especially considering the best part: think how large portion out of 6.7 billion people now living you "know"/etc. in any way? How many out of probably around 100 billion humans that have ever lived you can individually recall? What interesting can you tell about your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother? (the one from the side of your father, then grandmother, then great-grandmother, great-great-grandfather, great-great-great-grandfather, great-great-great-great-grandmother, and great-great-great-great-great-grandfather) Do you even know on which continent she lived? In which century? Even if it got recorded by some wild chance, would you care enough to remember even something so basic? (nvm how the recorded family history and how the genes really flowed would break down fairly quickly)

It's not about you, me, the "individuals." Never was, never will be (assuming predictable future, when we will be still mostly human) - so thinking about the "real" future in any other scope than that of humanity is quite unfounded.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080620)

I don't care if they have my genes, I just don't want humanity to get wiped out. If they do, then who will resurrect everyone who ever lived using their fantastic near-magic technology in the far-flung future? Humanity going extinct really messes with my plans to live forever.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080710)

Hence why the level of civilisation, humanity, was the focus. But also our ancestors - most of your genes are decently spread already.

And hey, Omega point doesn't need non-extinction ;p (for that matter, we might as well already exist in it; how do you like your "forever life"? ;) )

Re:We don't need to worry about it (1)

brightmal (1467167) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080700)

Robot-body? Piffle! With pluri-potent stem cell therapy and genetic engineering I intend to have a full carbon nano-fibre weave through my skin and bones, and a nice set of Sony/Carl Zeiss eyeballs by then!

172 years ago (2, Informative)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079980)

Nobody cared about global warming and burnt any kind of coal they found.

Re:172 years ago (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080518)

Even if global warming was caused by man (which an unusually high % of /.'ers probably do believe due to the high % of liberalism in the upper half of the -2 to +2 s.d. IQ range and subsequent absence of rationality)... even then.. never mind. You're simply retarded.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080036)

What do you mean WE meatbag?

Danger Will Robinson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080054)

why be concerned about something that has a 0.1%chance of happening?

Do I smell another funding scam?

Re:We don't need to worry about it (2, Insightful)

incinerator3 (688554) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080086)

Well, we should be concerned about what happens to our home planet, right? If you knew for sure that an asteroid would cause the extinction of humanity on Earth in the year 2182, and we failed to prevent it, would you care? Anyways, I'd rather we have as much time as possible to deal with potentially fatal threats to our species, and hope that we have the science by then to either deflect the asteroid or preserve Bruce Willis.

Re:We don't need to worry about it (5, Informative)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080120)

More like 72 years. NASA says that they would need to start actual diversion operations 100 years in advance, which leaves 72 years to figure it out.

Let's get crackin' (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079964)

Begin the cloning process of Bruce Willis and a rag-tag team of loveable roughnecks.

Re:Let's get crackin' (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080080)

What we need to do is make a giant ball of garbage to deflect it!

Well by then... (1)

jozmala (101511) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079968)

Mankind posses technology to divert the asteroid, OR we have already died horribly by some great disaster.
And by then we personally may or may not have died depending on speed of life sciences research and our living habits.

Re:Well by then... (1)

virtualonliner (1278494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080030)

Mankind posses technology to divert the asteroid, OR we have already died horribly by some great disaster. And by then we personally may or may not have died depending on speed of life sciences research and our living habits.

But would I have my flying cars by then?

no, wait, don't stop it (1)

planckscale (579258) | more than 4 years ago | (#33079986)

With advancements in medicine and the declination of our environment, I for one, am looking forward to ending my artificially enhanced 212 year old life in the blaze of a fiery meteoroid blast!

Re:no, wait, don't stop it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080430)

Why? With VI4GRA avaible from everywhere on the internet there is no reason to not live indefinitely...

It's a trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080000)

SG-1 will soon realize that the asteroid is not native to the solar system and a Go'uld system lord towed it into the path of Earth. The team will be sent up along with a nuclear bomb that can't be disarmed by cutting the red wire since all four of them are yellow. Jack will make a note about complaining when they get back to Earth....

http://www.tv.com/stargate-sg-1/fail-safe/episode/63818/recap.html?tag=episode_recap;recap

Re:It's a trick (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080116)

Ah, that's one of my favorite episodes. :D
"I've seen this movie. It hits Paris."
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Stargate_SG-1/Season_5#Fail_Safe_.5B5.17.5D [wikiquote.org]

Re:It's a trick (1)

agw (6387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080154)

My favorite is:
"Carter, I can see my house!"

Myopic (1)

dark grep (766587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080004)

Hopefully it wont be a case of 'How far away is the Asteroid?' '100 billion miles' BANG!

Good news (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080016)

NASA can finally have a mission...

So half of that is 1 in 2000 chance in 2182? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080034)

or more precisely 0.00054 = 1 in 1852 according to TFA.

Call this 1-in-1000 only if you can't do math.

By which time... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080056)

We'll have a variable-focus length magnetic-field set of Fresnel rings (largest ring approx. earth diameter) that can focus the sun's most energetic output to a 1-mile spot at Pluto's orbit range - automated. The unfortunate unintended consequence will be that the same system will burn any would-be peaceful visitors just as badly...
Gads, I should write comic books.

Bad math (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080058)

I bet the odds of hitting the small black hole originated in one of the LHC sucessors will be far lower than 1 in 500. And if we avoid that disaster, a far worse one awaits us the 50 years previous of that event: remakes, sequels, prequels, reboots and so on of the Armaggeddon movie. Probably won't be any (sane) human alive after that.

100% (3, Insightful)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080062)

Even if the odds were 100% that it would hit it would be 171.5 years before any bureaucrat does anything.

Re:100% (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080090)

So, let's hear the libertarian solution:

Re:100% (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080238)

Tax that fucker to death!

Re:100% (4, Funny)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080414)

It would probably turn out to be a Tax dodger.

Maybe an big import tariff?

Re:100% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080742)

suing the asteroid landowner .... after the asteroid hit us (we can't sue him before because his initiation of force only takes place after the asteroid hits)

Re:100% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080100)

And only then if it's an election year.

ObVacation (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080066)

Ya got Asteroids?
Nah, but my dad does. Can't even sit on the toilet some days.

Why you should care (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080092)

Statistically, we've probably discovered 1% of the potentially hazardous asteroids. Now we have a data point for an interesting occurrence: one of the ones we know about has a good chance of hitting us. What about the rest of them?

Re:Why you should care (1)

Xemu (50595) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080680)

one of the ones we know about has a good chance of hitting us. What about the rest of them?

They should be sufficient to justify generous research grants for us until 2182.

Space rock? (1)

Moxon (139555) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080106)

Like "UFO 2: Flying"?

We only have 171 years... (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080122)

...to put a high-def camera and an 802.11o wifi transmitter on the asteroid.

It was predicted in Revelations... (5, Funny)

Ken Broadfoot (3675) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080130)

    2182 - 2010 = 172 years

Subtract 42 ( Life the universe and everything ) And you get 130 ( Hold this thought )

In 1951, Bobby Thomson hit the "Shot heard round the world" (i.e The Asteroid)
Against the Brooklyn Dodgers...(i.e Earth trying to "dodge")

Take 1951 and turn it into a repeating Decimal .1951951951........ ( this is wrong but who cares )

Then take the above 130 and divide by the repeating decimal and you get....

666 !

Re:It was predicted in Revelations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080164)

I stopped reading when you said 42.

I hate aspies.

Re:It was predicted in Revelations... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080182)

Wow, you have WAY more time then I do, and I'm jobless living in my sister's basement.

Re:It was predicted in Revelations... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080234)

2182 - 2010 = 172 years

In the year 258, Pope Sixtus II is martyred. Turn this into a repeating decimal .258258258258

Now divide 172 by the repeating decimal = 666

How convenient that Pope Sixtus II is related to this future event by the number 666.

Re:It was predicted in Revelations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080536)

........ ( this is wrong but who cares )

I love you. Do you write scientific papers by any chance?

Re:It was predicted in Revelations... (1)

geogob (569250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080668)

2182 is the new 2012...

We only have 171 years... (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080136)

...will Perl 6 be ready?

Re:We only have 171 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080394)

If Perl 6 isn't out by then, it's because the devs were playing Duke Nukem Forever.

Misleading, incorrect information for fools (4, Informative)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080144)

Actually there are many objects we are monitoring, please see http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/ [nasa.gov] .
This object's impact probability is 7.1*10E-4. That's 0.00071, and not 1/1000.
The Torino Scale Color says white, which means impact is almost impossible.
Most of the times even if the probability is increased, it is quickly reduced after some investigation.
Currently the most dangerous object is 2007 VK184 (2048-2057) which gets green rating. This article is nothing more than sensationalist and stupid.

Re:Misleading, incorrect information for fools (2, Insightful)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080170)

Please also see this http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/torino_scale1.html [nasa.gov]

THE TORINO IMPACT HAZARD SCALE
No Hazard
(White Zone)
0
        The likelihood of a collision is zero, or is so low as to be effectively zero. Also applies to small objects such as meteors and bodies that burn up in the atmosphere as well as infrequent meteorite falls that rarely cause damage.

Re:Misleading, incorrect information for fools (4, Informative)

Kentari (1265084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080396)

But it has no torino scale entry because the torino scale is only defined for impacts in the next 100 years. Hence it is listed as n/a.

And the impact probability you cited is the cumulative probability of 8 events. There is only a probability of 5.4E-04 (1/1850) of an impact in 2182.

I don't quite get the publicity at the moment. It has been at that level for quite a while and is still at a much lower level than (99942) Apophis was (which hit 1% chance). In all likelihood new data will rule out an impact.

Re:Misleading, incorrect information for fools (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080560)

This article is nothing more than sensationalist and stupid.

And the 10 ways of "deflecting an asteroid" are a collection of how not to do it*. The real solutions are to either slow it down or accelerate it, and let it miss Earth before or after it is crossing Earths way. That can be done for example by attaching a rocket to it.

--
* Except for painting
Breaking it apart with a nuke: Hard to do, creates more asteroids.
Attaching a net/sail: Hard to do, asteroids are not static objects
Mirrors/Lasers pointing at it: You need to shoot them up and aim correctly (which is already hard with our telescopes)
Gravity: Yeah, maybe, but also hard to navigate something there

1 in 1000? (1)

MintOreo (1849326) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080168)

This is mostly a 'slake my ignorance post' but where do they pull a probability like a 1 in 1000 chance? Either the comet is going to hit us, or it isn't. So wheres the uncertainty coming from? Inaccurate measurement? or leaving margin for external unforeseeable (or at least currently unpredictable) forces acting on comet?

Either way, I don't see a reasonable way to derive a probability like that from. Perhaps they came up with a margin of error and treated every possible position within that margin of error with equal likelihood. Or maybe they've an empirically derived likeliness-that-significant-steller-object-will-enter-solar-system-and-infuence-comet's-path number laying around. Still, 1 in 1000 seems rather arbitrary (and slightly ridiculous) to me, like C3-PO saying the odds of navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1.

Re:1 in 1000? (1)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080230)

Well, maybe you should start with http://www-personal.umich.edu/~scheeres/conferences/AIAA-2004_1446.pdf [umich.edu] , http://www.b612foundation.org/papers/wpdynamics.pdf [b612foundation.org] etc. Most of the posts on this thread are ignorant and clueless. Don't treat everything you don't understand with scorn.

Re:1 in 1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080384)

I'll slake your ignorance with a very rough guide. There's an error margin in the velocity measurement of the asteroid. You look at the times that it's orbit comes close to earth and get a region that it *will* pass through (though you don't know where within that region) divide the volume of this by the volume of the region traversed by the earth's path and there you have an approximate probability of collision.

Re:1 in 1000? (3, Informative)

Kentari (1265084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080510)

The odds are based on the accuracy of the orbit of the asteroid. Every observation has an error and the orbit can be any orbit that fits in these errors. The errors in the future positions of the asteroid increase exponentially and it is not that exceptional that they can predict this event. Another impact candidate is 1950 DA, which has a 1/300 chance of hitting Earth on March 16, 2880.

The come up with these odds by running tons of simulations taking into account the gravity of the Sun, all planets and some of the larger asteroids. This gives a set of possible paths of the asteroid through the Solar System in the future. The odds of the impact are then the number of possible orbits intersecting the surface of the Earth (including the lower atmosphere) divided by the total number of orbits. This is not magic nor arbitrary, but applied physics.

C3-PO's odds would probably be based on the number of ships ever entering an asteroid field and coming out again. In the real world, flying through our asteroid belt isn't that tricky. Current estimates put the odds of a probe traversing the asteroid belt and accidentally hitting something at around 1 in a billion.

Damn (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080184)

... 2183 was going to be the year of Linux on the Desktop...

Fuck it (0, Flamebait)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080188)

I'll be dead by 2182 unless we reach singularity and achieve immortality through medicine, computing and science by then! So party it the fuck up! Smoke some weed, snort some cocaine, fuck a stripper! Life's a short joke and you're it so enjoy it while you can fuckers! Fuck the asteroids!

asteroid impact (1)

Entropy997 (1694668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080218)

I do hope you all are aware that "Project: Deep Impact" was probably a secret mission to stop a potential asteroid collision. So don't get too excited about any potential asteroid collisions. We already have the capability to thwart such a menace, and have already done so. All further speculation is wasted... er, finger movements.

1.000.000 to one (5, Funny)

Super_Ante (1867452) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080224)

As long as it isn't a million to one shot...

Odds.... (1)

sprins (717461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080258)

Interesting... But what are the odds that this calculation is right?

Re:Odds.... (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080416)

I am giving 100-1 odds against my position that it does not hit on that year, all money required at this time, min bet $100 USD.

this is great news! (5, Interesting)

GreenCow (201973) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080264)

A rock like this heading to our planet and we've got plenty of time to not just deflect the thing, but to move it into Earth orbit where it can be mined, turned into an outpost, and be used as a tether for a space elevator.

Re:this is great news! (3, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080336)

Maybe not - if you're the kind of civilisation that can apply enough delta-v, to such body, to capture it safely into MEO, you might be high enough on the Kardashev scale to not care much about such exercises. If not high enough - it's probably better to move some bootstrapping machinery towards the asteroid; avoids Kessler Syndrome where you really don't want it, too (minining in basically 0g could be a bit messy)

Statistically (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080304)

You have 1 in 5,000 chance of a car accident today, while 172 years from now a 1 in 1,000 chance of world wipe out. That is a significantly high chance of extinction! And where I live is a 1 in 101 chance of being in a car accident :( [timeslive.co.za]

And that's how we like it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080328)

Hopefully with development of better models, telescopes, etc, etc we can track asteroids extremely far out and get a good feel for if there will be impacts. As stated, it is the kind of thing that could take a long time. So, if you know about one 200 years in advance, no problem. You wouldn't do anything about it now, as such an object would be very far away. But it lets you start planning, and knowing when those plans need to be put in to action. When it is 30-50 years out, maybe that's when building starts on whatever is needed to deflect it.

Much better to have the information a century early than a few years too late.

Can't do it (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080372)

We cannot predict the course of asteroids over 200 years to within an Earth diameter. I have worked on this area, and the masses and positions of bodies (particularly all of the other asteroids) are simply not well enough known. So, it will come near the Earth, but we won't know if it is a true threat for at least a century.

 

Re:Can't do it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33080552)

Of course they can't predict it accurately. That's why they give odds.

Otherwise they would just tell us "it's gonna crash" or "it's not gonna crash".

Morbid Fascination (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080382)

I know this sounds morbid , but i'd kinda like to be alive when something like this happens...
N

With any luck (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080472)

it'll fall on Mecca

Get tickets for an evening (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080490)

at the Olympus Mons restaurant. The evening program includes Marsian comedy, drinks, and strippers, and we offer the best view to watch Earth when the asteroid hits!

Somehow (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33080570)

I can't find it in me to care about 2182 as much as I do about 2036. I guess I'm kind of selfish.

(Besides, those future people will all be screwed by global warming anyway; what's an asteroid or two?)

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