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No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the it's-the-end-of-the-world-or-not dept.

Space 123

An anonymous reader writes "Phil Plait wants you to know that asteroid 1950 DA is very, very unlikely to hit the Earth in 2880, despite what you may have read. He writes: "As it happens, 1950 DA is what's called a 'near-Earth asteroid', because its orbit sometimes brings it relatively close to Earth. I'll note that I mean close on a cosmic scale. Looking over the next few decades, a typical pass is tens of millions of kilometers away, with some as close as five million kilometers — which is still more than ten times farther away than the Moon! Still, that's in our neighborhood, which is one of the reasons this asteroid is studied so well. It gets close enough that we can get a decent look at it when it passes. Can it impact the Earth? Yes, kindof. Right now, the orbit of the asteroid doesn't bring it close enough to hit us. But there are forces acting on asteroids over time that subtly change their orbits; one of them is called the YORP effect, a weak force that arises due to the way the asteroid spins and radiates away heat. The infrared photons it emits when it's warm carry away a teeny tiny bit of momentum, and they act pretty much like an incredibly low-thrust rocket. Over many years, this can change both the rotation of the asteroid as well as the shape of its orbit."

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Actually... (4, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47691533)

Everything I've read said it's very unlikely to hit Earth in 2880. One chance in three hundred does not "likely" make.

On the other hand, 1 in 300 is pretty close to the chance of a Straight coming up without a Draw....

Re:Actually... (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 months ago | (#47691623)

2880? Wow, that's not even news. There are more things to worry about than what happens half a millenium after the Singularity or the Collapse of Civilization as We Know It. Presumably we'd be so advanced by that time that we'd know how to deflect any large rock that wanders into our cosmic backyard. Or we'd degenerated to such post-Apocalyptic backwardness all we can do is look up to the sky and watch the fireworks before we all die. (I mean we in a collective humankind way. I personally don't expect to be around by that time.)

Re:Actually... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 months ago | (#47691645)

At least the asteroid exists, your "Singularity" does not

Re:Actually... (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 months ago | (#47692305)

At least the asteroid exists, your "Singularity" does not

Thanks, man from the future. We were very worried until your insightful and illuminating post reassured us.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692853)

OH, there is a singularity arounfd that's going to kill us all? Could you please elaborate? I'd really like to know more.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695413)

OH, there is a singularity arounfd that's going to kill us all? Could you please elaborate? I'd really like to know more.

It's ironic that if and when this ever happens in our future, that you feel you'll be given a heads-up or a choice.

That's not the way sci-fi has played out AI. Mankind pretty much gets fucked every time.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696337)

Yeah, that's because it makes a good story. We like to read about (or watch) heroic humans pitted against evil (usually communist) robot bastards.

That doesn't mean that's what will happen in real life. Biological humans, with our cave man instincts, pose a much greater threat to human survival than superintelligent AIs do.

Re:Actually... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691791)

800 years is not that far off. There is no way that humans will advance to the stage where we can manipulate asteroids or explore space by then. Chances are, we will be extinct.

Re:Actually... (2)

innerweb (721995) | about 2 months ago | (#47692455)

The chances of us wiping ourselves out before the asteroid arrives is better than the odds of the asteroid wiping us out.

Isn't that Ironic

Re:Actually... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#47693067)

Isn't that ironic

Nope.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696197)

Isn't that ironic

Nope.

Yup. It's called situational irony.

Re:Actually... (2)

geogob (569250) | about 2 months ago | (#47693037)

I wonder on what basis you make those assumptions...
Look where mankind was 800 years ago. Look where we stand today. Although such a leap forward isn't assured, it can nonetheless be assumed without too grand risk for error.

Re:Actually... (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47694563)

By 800 years from now, all it will take to deflect the asteroid will be emailing the manager of the Chinese steel mill on it and having him blip the thruster jets for long enough to nudge it in the proper direction.

Re:Actually... (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47695629)

800 years is not that far off. There is no way that humans will advance to the stage where we can manipulate asteroids or explore space by then. Chances are, we will be extinct.

100 years ago man was barely grasping the concept of manned flight a few hundred feet off the ground.

Now we have rovers on Mars chatting back and forth, and astronauts Tweeting "backyard" pics from the ISS.

I find it a bit of a slap in the face that you assume what man is capable of 800 years from now when you can't even begin to fathom where we will be 100 years from now from a technological standpoint. We can't even imagine an environment devoid of the internet anymore, and that was a concept that only took a few decades to change the world as we know it, especially the financial sector.

As far as chance goes, chances are the wisest elders were condemning us to extinction 800 years ago too. And 800 years before that. Let's face it, we're a weak species who's been on the brink of screwed for thousands of years now, armed only with the power of logic and opposing thumbs. Perhaps we can keep our indifference's in check for a few more centuries to survive.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692707)

in the year 2873, a probe is launched to study the Jupiter moon of Titan. unfortunately, this probe explodes shortly after leaving orbit and leaves an intense field chromiton particles in the path of 1950 DA. when the asteroid enters this field, it is transported back in time to 2016, where it collides with earth.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696363)

The realism of 'chromiton particles' aside, I'm still skeptical of this story due to the fact that Titan is a moon of Saturn, not Jupiter.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696585)

Some time in the 2600s, the moons of Saturn form a moon owner's association and decide upon a bunch of upkeep and cosmetic rules. Titan decides it is easier to relocate than to try to blend in with the other moons.

Re:Actually... (4, Interesting)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 2 months ago | (#47691739)

On the other hand, 1 in 300 is pretty close to the chance of a Straight coming up without a Draw....

That number is an old estimate which appeared in the article that TFA was actually complaining about for sensationalizing things. The current estimate is more like 1 in 4000, which is more like drawing 4-of-a-kind in five cards... not exactly a common poker hand.

Re:Actually... (2)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47692809)

The current estimate is more like 1 in 4000, which is more like drawing 4-of-a-kind in five cards... not exactly a common poker hand.

I dunno. 1 in 4000 is not such great odds when it's an asteroid destroying the earth.

If a doctor recommended surgery, and the mortality rate was 1 in 4000, I'd make damn sure the benefits outweighed the risk. And I'd update my will.

Suppose somebody built a nuclear power plant next door to you that had a 1 in 4000 chance of going critical on any one day. That's a median of 11 years, right?

I hope that whenever a risk comes along of 1 chance in 4000 of destroying the world, people take care of it.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692863)

Hmm, combined surgery mortality rate is only about 1 in 10000, so not much better than this asteroid hitting. Remember that when you are getting a surgery. Update your will. Or is the accepted tare somewhere in between?

Re:Actually... (4, Informative)

stjobe (78285) | about 2 months ago | (#47693233)

Suppose somebody built a nuclear power plant next door to you that had a 1 in 4000 chance of going critical on any one day. That's a median of 11 years, right?

Yeah, sure. But the thing here is that it's not a 1 in 4,000 chance of this asteroid hitting us every day; it's 1 in 4,000 that it'll hit us once. 800-odd years from now.

1 in 4,000 is a small enough chance to be a virtual certainty over a few hours for events happening once a second - does that mean anything at all to a 1 in 4,000 once-in-a-lifetime chance? No. And this event is not even a once-in-a-lifetime event; it's once-in-several-tens-of-lifetimes.

Or to put it another way: People suck at probability assessments.

Re:Actually... (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47694061)

It's a 1 in 4000 chance of destroying the entire world. The risks are low, but the damage is great.

Re:Actually... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47695683)

Suppose somebody built a nuclear power plant next door to you that had a 1 in 4000 chance of going critical on any one day. That's a median of 11 years, right?

Yeah, sure. But the thing here is that it's not a 1 in 4,000 chance of this asteroid hitting us every day; it's 1 in 4,000 that it'll hit us once. 800-odd years from now.

1 in 4,000 is a small enough chance to be a virtual certainty over a few hours for events happening once a second - does that mean anything at all to a 1 in 4,000 once-in-a-lifetime chance? No. And this event is not even a once-in-a-lifetime event; it's once-in-several-tens-of-lifetimes.

Or to put it another way: People suck at probability assessments.

Let's put it another way. By the time this 1 in 4,000-chance event comes around, we will have invented new math that will make it equal to a pint of blueberries. But that's OK, because the holodeck was invented in 2350, so it's all good. Like we need to worry about the real world. It's not even on MTV anymore.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696389)

But the thing here is that it's not a 1 in 4,000 chance of this asteroid hitting us every day; it's 1 in 4,000 that it'll hit us once. 800-odd years from now.

Let's assume human population stabilizes immediately at 7 billion people and stays there for the next 800 years. That's still a risk level of 1.75 million deaths. That's pretty substantial.

Re:Actually... (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 2 months ago | (#47693251)

If a doctor recommended surgery, and the mortality rate was 1 in 4000, I'd make damn sure the benefits outweighed the risk. And I'd update my will.

Boy are you in for a rude shock. Even a common place apendectomy has a mortality rate of about 2% last time I checked.

Have fun never having surgery for anything!!

Re:Actually... (3, Informative)

ibwolf (126465) | about 2 months ago | (#47695255)

Even a common place apendectomy has a mortality rate of about 2% last time I checked.

You must have checked it a VERY long time ago. It is true that the rate of complication is about 2-3%, but the MORTALITY rate (i.e. the number of people that die as a result of the surgery) is

estimated at one to two per 1,000,000 cases of appendicitis

(Source: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia... [surgeryencyclopedia.com] )

Not 1 in 50 as a 2% mortality rate would indicate.

Re:Actually... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 months ago | (#47695965)

If a doctor recommended surgery, and the mortality rate was 1 in 4000, I'd make damn sure the benefits outweighed the risk. And I'd update my will.

Boy are you in for a rude shock. Even a common place apendectomy has a mortality rate of about 2% last time I checked.

Have fun never having surgery for anything!!

You think the odds of surviving the appendectomy are low? Try surviving without one...

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47693541)

If a nuclear reactor has only a 1:4000 chance of going critical, that's an epic design failure. Criticality is what makes them work. Or, you meant super critical. Physics much?

Re:Actually... (1)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 2 months ago | (#47695529)

Even supercriticality is designed in. A fissile mass going supercritical isn't guaranteed to not reach a new equilibrium when the increased temperatures of the system and all that comes with that come into play... Of course that new equilibrium could be after it radically fissions all of the fuel in a microsecond, which is one of the typically not-designed (and generally impossible) supercritical modes of the reactor

Re:Actually... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 months ago | (#47694729)

If a doctor recommended surgery, and the mortality rate was 1 in 4000, I'd make damn sure the benefits outweighed the risk. And I'd update my will.

If you are having surgery and the mortality rate is 1 in 4000 (0.025%) those are excellent odds. Usually surgical mortality rates vary between 1% and 6% depending on the procedure.

Re:Actually... (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47696835)

If a doctor recommended surgery, and the mortality rate was 1 in 4000, I'd make damn sure the benefits outweighed the risk. And I'd update my will.

If you are having surgery and the mortality rate is 1 in 4000 (0.025%) those are excellent odds. Usually surgical mortality rates vary between 1% and 6% depending on the procedure.

Actually you're right. I had to look it up. I remember a mortality rate of 1% in the 1970s for anything with total anesthesia, and since then the rate has gone down. Not as far down as I thought.

More precisely, the mortality rate varies with the procedure and the patient. Lung function, kidney function, heart function and the presence of diabetes are usually the big ones.

I think an angiogram of the heart or brain has a mortality of 1 in 1,000 or less. I wouldn't take it lightly.

Suppose I had a jar with 1,000 jellybeans. One of them was full of cyanide. I offer you a jellybean. Would you eat it?

Re:Actually... (1)

bware (148533) | about 2 months ago | (#47696403)

If a doctor recommended surgery, and the mortality rate was 1 in 4000, I'd make damn sure the benefits outweighed the risk. And I'd update my will.

That's right in the ballpark for general anesthesia [wikipedia.org] by itself. When I signed the release form, it said 1 in 2000, but then they knocked me out (yay, propofol), so my memory might be faulty :)

Relative risks of common events is something people are just not good at estimating.

Re:Actually... (4, Funny)

Notabadguy (961343) | about 2 months ago | (#47691755)

Hopefully Morgan Freeman will still be around to save us from ELE!

Re:Actually... (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 months ago | (#47692667)

Hopefully Morgan Freeman will still be around to save us from ELE!

No, clone Bruce Willis and send him to blow it up.

Re:Actually... OF Course thats what they'ed say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692139)

Oh wait I will be long dead and never know if it was true or not , is it too late to cancel that asteroid insurance I bought?

Only a 0.0248% chance (3, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 months ago | (#47692691)

Everything I've read said it's very unlikely to hit Earth in 2880. One chance in three hundred does not "likely" make.

Especially since it is actually 1 in 4,000 or 0.0248%. Still I'd actually think it would be a good thing to have the odds a lot higher, like 90%, with a lead time like this of 800+ years. To date the existential threat posed by wars have caused science to make massive advances but this has come at a huge cost of misery and death

Think of the scientific advances that could come from an existential threat that, instead of pitting us against each other, actually puts all of humanity on the same side for a change. In the past 800 years we have come from the dark ages to the internet age. If we can't get it together enough to develop the technology needed to cause a small deflection to an asteroid in the next 800 years then I'd say it was probably time for evolution to give it a second roll of the dice.

Re: Only a 0.0248% chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47693003)

From the "dark ages" to the "internet age"... Are you sure it's an improvement?

People play lotery that is 1 in 10,000,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47693223)

Millions of people play lotery that is 1 in 10,000,000 or less. That is high enough for them and is actually 0.000000004%.

Re:Actually... (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47692791)

Everything I've read said it's very unlikely to hit Earth in 2880. One chance in three hundred does not "likely" make.

On the other hand, 1 in 300 is pretty close to the chance of a Straight coming up without a Draw....

If we can't figure out a way to reduce that probability to approximately zero sometime in the next 866 years, we deserve to get smashed.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692801)

Everything I've read said it's very unlikely to hit Earth in 2880. One chance in three hundred does not "likely" make.

On the other hand, 1 in 300 is pretty close to the chance of a Straight coming up without a Draw....

We don't actually calculate "odds" and "chances" to hit, that's just what we tell popular media because it's easier for the general public to understand.
The reality is that when we make the calculations on trajectory, there's a margin of error. And if the Earth falls within, or close enough to, the margin of error we convert that to "odds" based on how much a 'hit' trajectory overlaps that margin.
This is also why the "odds" can decrease or increase as we make more accurate calculations, or factor in additional influences on the trajectory.

A good analogy to use for non scientific people is to show them how weather forecasters use an "arc" to show the estimated path of a hurricane.

Who cares? YOLO isn't it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691543)

It's not like any other unknown celestial body could just show its ugly face from behind the sun and hit us while we are happily spending billions in stupid wars.

Re:Who cares? YOLO isn't it? (1)

gtall (79522) | about 2 months ago | (#47693601)

Right. Drop what you are doing and go over the mideast and tell the Islamic nutjobs to stop it. The world has more important things to worry about. I'm sure they'll listen to you. Swing by Putin as well and tell him to be a nice boy.

Photon pressure is a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691545)

Especially when you compare it to the gravitational changes induces by each pass by the Earth/moon system and its pass of Mars and (more weakly) Jupiter.

Each one affects it FAR more than anything from photon pressure.

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (4, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 2 months ago | (#47691647)

Especially when you compare it to the gravitational changes induces by each pass by the Earth/moon system and its pass of Mars and (more weakly) Jupiter.

Each one affects it FAR more than anything from photon pressure.

Yeah, TFS makes it sound like the YORP [wikipedia.org] effect is something significant, but if you read TFA (I know, i know...) you discover that the YORP thing seems to be there to point out: (1) there are lots of very small effects that make long-term predictions for orbits difficult, and (2) one needs to do a LOT of observations to be able to predict all of these factors, but (3) we HAVE an unusually large set of observations on this asteroid (including enough to predict things like YORP effect factors).

Hence, from TFA:

They accounted for a lot of small effects on the asteroid, including the YORP thrust, the gravity of the planets, the gravity of other asteroids, and so on. They found that the probability of an impact [nasa.gov] in 2880 is about 2.48 x 10^-4, which is about 1 in 4000.

I realize that lots of people out there are idiots, and everyone here thinks that they can immediately think of something obvious that no expert doing a study would ever consider... but, you know, sometimes the experts actually have thought of the obvious thing before you posted about it on Slashdot.

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47692141)

Also, I thought that it was the Yarkovsky effect, not YORP, that changes trajectories.

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (3, Informative)

dcollins (135727) | about 2 months ago | (#47692225)

"The Yarkovsky–O'Keefe–Radzievskii–Paddack effect, or YORP effect for short, is a second-order variation on the Yarkovsky effect that changes the rotation rate of a small body (such as an asteroid)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorp

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47693267)

Why, thank you, I can read myself (and has known about these effects for years). You do see yourself how changing the rotation rate doesn't shift the trajectory, right?

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (1)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 2 months ago | (#47695635)

Sure it does, especially when the orbit starts to precess.

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692851)

Also, I thought that it was the Yarkovsky effect, not YORP, that changes trajectories.

The base trajectory is calculated using what we know of existing gravitational influences on the object, assuming a 'perfect' vacuum with no other external influences. We then attempt to consider things like effects of solar wind, which are less certain and often somewhat variable, and come up with a modified trajectory. Both are subject to margin of error, both in terms of observational margin of error as well as limitations in terms of how much we really know about outside influences. Other factors may also be considered, such as the "odds" that a body would have a slight deflection from hitting/being hit by a small asteroid, passing through a dust cloud, unusually intense (or weak) solar influences, and so on.
Once all that is taken into account, we end up with a final trajectory which has a stated margin of error. There are no 'odds' or 'chances'. If the Earth lies within the margin of error, we tell regular people that "there's a chance" it will hit. The "odds" we give them are based on how far within the margin a 'hit' scenario lies.
Over time, as we are able to get more accurate information on actual trajectory, perform calculations with more precision, and account for other external factors more reliably, we adjust our final trajectory and margin of error. Once we find that the Earth lies well outside even the largest margin, we start saying 'virtually no chance'. Which still does not discount external factors we either did not or could not account for.

But from a certain point of view, the trajectory itself only changes in the event of a collision or intentional interference. Mostly the trajectory itself is not changing, but rather our ability to accurately predict it changes our estimates.

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 2 months ago | (#47693885)

Also, I thought that it was the Yarkovsky effect, not YORP, that changes trajectories.

You may be right -- I've heard of the Yarkovsky effect before, but I'm not sure I've heard of YORP before I read this. The way the wording is done in TFA, it certainly sounds possible that he's just conflating Yarkovsky and YORP into one thing:

The infrared photons it emits when itâ(TM)s warm carry away a teeny tiny bit of momentum, and they act pretty much like an incredibly low-thrust rocket. Over many years, this can change both the rotation of the asteroid as well as the shape of its orbit.

You seem to know more about this than I do, but it does sound like TFA may be lumping all these small effects of photons on motion into one thing and calling it "YORP effects."

Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 2 months ago | (#47692497)

If this does become a problem, perhaps NASA will need to actively hunt down and recruit those champion asteroid blasters who dominated the arcades back in the 80s.

Anyone know the whereabouts of the ace pilots known only as FUK, ASS, and DIK?

We could only be so lucky (-1, Flamebait)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 months ago | (#47691555)

Sometimes I think what America needs is mother nature hitting the proverbial reset button on us. Americans have become greedy and hate riddled. There, you have my two cents. Let the catastrophe happen.

Re:We could only be so lucky (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 months ago | (#47691591)

Sometimes I think what America needs is mother nature hitting the proverbial reset button on us.

It'll be amazing if "America" is still around in 2080, much less 2880.

The entire population of the 13 Colonies was less than the current population of Iowa and they stood up a country just fine. China doesn't keep itself together by playing nice, and we really need to avoid going the Mao Zedong route.
 

Re:We could only be so lucky (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691697)

As far as I'm concerned, any country that still has the death penalty or a monarchy shouldn't exist.

Re:We could only be so lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691781)

Is that a royal decree of a governmental death sentence?

Re:We could only be so lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691597)

Tunguska, Chelyabinsk, you see the pattern.

The heavens punish always those evil comunists. New York and Los Angeles only get destroyed in the movies so we don't need to worry to spend filthty loads of money in more important things like the military, politicians, sports and TV all of them keep us safe of the terrists.

Re:We could only be so lucky (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 months ago | (#47692147)

Tunguska, Chelyabinsk, you see the pattern.

The heavens punish always those evil comunists.

Yes! At Tunguska, even before they existed!

Re:We could only be so lucky (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 months ago | (#47691659)

The USA is only 4 percent of the globe's population, get your head out of your ass and consider the whole human world.

Re:We could only be so lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692797)

American, European or whites peoples in general are minority. More diversity mean more white peoples. There is too much brown peoples in our societies. We need to protect the minorities. We need to protect ourselves.... Or as you put it, get your head out of your ass and consider the whole human world.

Also Islam is a real threat. Don't wait until they put a gun to your head and ask you to convert. It will be too late then.

Re:We could only be so lucky (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 months ago | (#47692261)

Humans in general have been greedy and hate riddled since before written history.

Um... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 months ago | (#47691569)

If we can't sort out an asteroid coming right at us by 2880, we kind of deserve what we get. I'm not going to worry about it too much in any event.

Re:Um... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691719)

It makes me think of the steamroller scene from Austin Powers. It's a very tiny chance of us hitting us to begin with, but we have plenty of time to dodge it (or rather, make it dodge us) even if technological advancement were to stop today.

For some reason (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 months ago | (#47691573)

I wasn't particularly worried about a 2880pocalypse to begin with.

Re:For some reason (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47691723)

An Asternado hasn't been ruled out. Nor Sharkroids, which is like Goatse x million

Re:For some reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691793)

No you fool never give roids to sharks you will doom us all!!!!!!

Small correction... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 months ago | (#47691593)

THAT specific meteor isn't, another may be.

Re:Small correction... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#47693073)

THAT specific meteor isn't, another may be.

Another small correction: it's not a meteor :) Not yet, anyway, and hopefully never.

Asteroids are a threat - let's deal with them (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691601)

An event that has a one-in-a-million odds of destroying our civilization is actually pretty bad, in my mind. Even if you just do the math of 7 billion people, that's an 'expected value' of 7,000 casualties. But in addition to killing people, it would destroy the work of millions before them - the art, the literature, the achievements, the history, the future too. There must be some value in that. I know realistically we have to accept some risk just because we can't afford to deal with all the risks out there, on top of the risks from global warming down here. But the threshold should be really really low, and we should pursue plans and technologies to defend ourselves from asteroid impacts, even really unlikely ones.

Re:Asteroids are a threat - let's deal with them (4, Informative)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | about 2 months ago | (#47691689)

This asteroid is only around 1 km in diameter. An impact would be distinctly annoying, but civilization, and most people, should survive.

Re:Asteroids are a threat - let's deal with them (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47692055)

And who knows, 2880 AC's might get a grasp on statistics. (1:10E6 chance of a global event does not give you 7000 casualties - that's not even wrong.)

Re:Asteroids are a threat - let's deal with them (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692643)

No, it is you that seems to lack a grasp of statistics. The expected value of some random variable is not necessarily a value that actually happens, as is clear in case dealing with say a bimodal distribution. The expected value of of a binomial variable with a one in a million chance of killing 7 billion people is 7000 deaths, that doesn't mean that 7000 people will die. But that number is important for the purposes of cost-benefit analysis. If your preventitive measure is certain to kill more than that, then it is not worth doing so (unless, probably more realistically, have a non-linear valuation of human life... losing the entire population of 7 billion might not be the same cost as 7 billion times a single death).

Re:Asteroids are a threat - let's deal with them (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 months ago | (#47693279)

Size doesn't matter. It's the kinetic energy that counts!

Phew! (0)

kwiqsilver (585008) | about 2 months ago | (#47691649)

I was worried for a minute. But now I know I'll be okay.

science and religion agree! (0)

steak (145650) | about 2 months ago | (#47691675)

according the some billboard on I-35 the bible says the world will end in 2017

Re:science and religion agree! (2)

dugancent (2616577) | about 2 months ago | (#47691711)

Good deal. That means we can ignore this!

Re:science and religion agree! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47691735)

Steal the dude's house late 2016 and say, "you ain't gonna need it, your billboard says so."

Re:science and religion agree! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 months ago | (#47692763)

according the some billboard on I-35 the bible says the world will end in 2017

Does it say when we can start looting?

Re:science and religion agree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47693779)

according the some billboard on I-35 the bible says the world will end in 2017

I thought the Bible guaranteed that Judgment Day would begin on May 21, 2011, followed by the complete annihilation of the entire universe on October 21, 2011. Are they saying Harold Camping was wrong? The nerve of some people...

We carried wrong (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47691705)

It's really 2018, sorry for the miscalc. We'll be more careful next time.

Guess what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691931)

In 2880 I won't give a fuck. /NBS

Ambiguity (1)

Livius (318358) | about 2 months ago | (#47691969)

So they're saying they're not sure which year it will hit? That's worse!

Out of luck (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47691979)

Damn. The over/under was set to 2881 and I put $50 on the under.

Aw crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47691991)

Thousands of Space Nutters turn off their 3D printers and wait for the next Extinction of the Species ...

Dam! (1)

Craig Cruden (3592465) | about 2 months ago | (#47692203)

I had bought a bunch of futures based on there being an impact in that year....

Kind Astronomer (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#47692209)

Kind enough not to point out that by that time 'man himself' has already long accomplished what said asteroid some 800 years before was assured not to be able to do for other reasons.

Oh crap (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 months ago | (#47692439)

So I shouldn't have quit my job and sold my house? Is that what they're trying to say?

Safely ignore all long-term predictions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692451)

There are way too many variables involved to be able to predict that something is going to hit us in the medium to long term.
You would need to precisely map the trajectory and momentum of every single object, large and small, which could have a gravitational influence on the candidate impactor, then calculate the effect of each on the other, then iterate for the change in trajectory and momentum imparted.

Predicting a hit in 2880 is just clinically absurd.

Stupid scientists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47692869)

Every time I turn around I hear things like "The polar ice caps are gonna melt due to global warming, flood the earth, and wipe out all life on the planet", or "A giant earthquake is gonna cause California (where I live) to sink into the ocean killing everybody", or "A giant asteroid is gonna hit the earth, cause the sky to become black, and wipe out all life on the plaent".

And every single time some scientist come out and says "Don't worry guys, it's not gonna happen" and my hopes and dreams are crushed. :(

Honestly (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 2 months ago | (#47693133)

Like most of us care if the world will end in 2880.
The majority of our planet only cares how their profits will turn out next week.

2880, not 2080 (1)

bayankaran (446245) | about 2 months ago | (#47693271)

2880 is so far away we have nothing to fear. If humanity survives in some form to the 29th century it will be sufficiently advanced to make a meal out of the said asteroid. It may not even make prime time TV.
If its 2080...yes we may have something to think about.

Pity it wont hit (1)

severn2j (209810) | about 2 months ago | (#47693439)

860 years is long enough away that we would be able to develop any number of solutions to the problem, plus it would give us something to shoot for. I mean, nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of a fiery death.

Then again, if we're still stuck on this rock, arguing over pieces of land by then, I guess we deserve it...

Holy Exclamation Point!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47693445)

"which is still more than ten times farther away than the Moon!"

Completely inappropriate use of an exclamation point, as this is not nearly the main point of the article, and certainly not a point that warrants such a calamitous use of punctuation.

Too Bad. (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 months ago | (#47694269)

I was kind of hoping for a global wipeout.

Asteroid? Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695639)

That asteroid won't wipe out human life because humans will have already been extinct for centuries.

Not going to hit us eh? (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 2 months ago | (#47696005)

That's what they WANT you to think...

meteor storm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696157)

The storm that took out 50 cities and terminated the Bronze Age is due back around 2800. See Cambridge Conference http://web.archive.org/web/20100117082312/http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-homepage.htm

You seriously should not worry about asteroids (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 months ago | (#47696277)

When Yellowstone goes, you'll have no place to stay, oh no.

Mean old National Park, taught US to weep and moan

Mean old Supervolcano, taught US to weep and moan

Thinking bout my baby and my happy home

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696515)

I have no intentions of living past 2863 - 800 years is enough for anyone - so why would I care?

re: Headline (1)

malus (6786) | about 2 months ago | (#47696819)

Blowing some karma on this one...

>> No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

Damnit.

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