Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Missed Earth by that much

An asteroid 50m across was spotted less that three days before it grazed Earth at a distance of only 71,000 km - just over twice the distance our geosynchronous satellites orbit. 2009 DD45 could have inflicted a blow similar to the Tunguska event of 1908, greater than the largest fusion device ever detonated.
COMMENT. This is a scary reminder of how chancy life in our cosmic neighborhood is. Our asteroid detection capability is grossly underfunded and our ability to alter the course of a large cosmic rock is close to nonexistent. Neither economic conditions nor the fears of "weaponization of space" should be allowed to block a major international program to ensure our survival.

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