Armageddon

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 21, 2009

So, something hit Jupiter. And that something appears to have been really big, and left a mark.

It’s a fascinating sight for astronomers. But it raises practical questions and concerns. Namely: What if something hits Earth, and leaves a mark?

If the Obama Administration is really interested in creating some jobs–especially science jobs–it could work to create and deploy some form of defense against extraterrestrial objects striking Earth and potentially causing massive amounts of devastation on the planet (if not the extinction of life itself). Such an effort would require lots and lots of know-how when it comes to physics, engineering, weapons technology, astronomy . . . the list goes on. Previous administrations have, quite frankly, been negligent in not considering the need for such a defense system, or not pushing hard for one to be deployed. Working to create such a system would do a lot for local economies, ignite interest in math and science (which public officials keep telling us is a need in and of itself), in addition to keeping alive more human beings and animals than one can shake a stick at.

I don’t know what we are waiting for on this issue. Do we have to suffer some near misses, or a catastrophic hit, before we decide that keeping ourselves safe from extraterrestrial objects striking and annihilating large swaths of the Earth is a good idea? Of course, I suppose I should add that it would be nice if we weren’t running massive budget deficits, so that we could perhaps more easily afford undertaking this kind of enterprise.

  • http://twitter.com/22niel niel

    dude, a knowledge of physics is the exact reason we don't bother:

    if something the size of Earth comes our way, we couldn't quickly create something massive enough to deflect it from our path, not without worldwide cooperation and agreement

    and are you willing to take a quick aim at destroying it, knowing that any waste (nuclear or other) left behind would still be on course to rain down upon the Earth?

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    I am suggesting doing something well before we see a large extraterrestrial object hurtling our way. As for your hypothetical, it does indeed present a serious issue to consider. But it is no excuse for inaction. Yes, I would take quick aim at destroying such an object, and we don't have to assume that in every case–or even, the vast majority of cases–waste would rain down on the Earth.

  • http://twitter.com/22niel niel

    dude, a knowledge of physics is the exact reason we don't bother:

    if something the size of Earth comes our way, we couldn't quickly create something massive enough to deflect it from our path, not without worldwide cooperation and agreement

    and are you willing to take a quick aim at destroying it, knowing that any waste (nuclear or other) left behind would still be on course to rain down upon the Earth?

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    I am suggesting doing something well before we see a large extraterrestrial object hurtling our way.

    As for your hypothetical, it does indeed present a serious issue to consider. But it is no excuse for inaction. Yes, I would take quick aim at destroying such an object, and we don't have to assume that in every case–or even, the vast majority of cases–waste would rain down on the Earth.

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