Thursday, March 26, 2009

From Out There to Right Here: An Asteroid Story

http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090325/full/458401a.html

Okay, so not a full asteroid. 2008 TC3 was apparently a part of a larger asteroid. One unfortunate piece that got stripped away somehow and made its way directly to Earth. No, there was no risk or danger of catastrophe, unless you were some sadly unfortunate soul who found yourself standing directly in an impact spot in the middle of the desert in Sudan. What are the odds of that?

Still, this event back in October marks the first time we've been able to spot an object heading towards us with advanced warning enough to marshal up enough eyeballs to watch it flame out in the atmosphere and strike the Earth. Then, to add more to it, we go and pick up the pieces for further research.

This event helps prove a few good things: First, the eyes we have watching the sky and trying to catalog all these rocks are doing a great job. Second, our computers are pretty darn good with their calculations. And third, when it comes to global scrambling, we're pretty good at it.

Here's the "not so happy" part of the story. They admit that this particular type of rock isn't very reflective and hard to spot. Yes, we found this one, but only after it was only about 20 hours away from impact. Make this thing 10 times as big, and this turns into a completely different story, and there would have been nothing we could really do about it.

I will beat this drum until I'm dead; we absolutely have to put serious emphasis and support behind public and private space exploration and development in order to develop the technologies that can save us from a catastrophe. Only by living off world, or inventing serious early warning/detection systems that allow us to literally go move a threat, can we ensure the survival of the human species. And this needs to start 5 minutes ago. :)

15 comments:

Jerry M. Weikle said...

Concurring, that technology is becoming more sophisticated and the mathematical calculations are being utilized--America and the world needs a fleet of orbiting satelites capable of tracking asteroids. With proper funding and investments from abroad, electronic manufacturing could establish an assembly line and crank out several thousand desktop size observation satelites.

Interlinked together, analyzing everything from a basketball size rock to one 20 miles in lenght, there would be a constant stream of data and information. Arrayed between Earths orbit and Mars orbit, thus peppered throughout the inner solar system between 110 and 120 Million miles from the Sun. The flowing instream of data could be used to analyze any potential threat to Earth and civilization.

One of those NEO's could one day obliterate a city, distrupting the powergrids, and causing chaos within society and governmental levels. To offset this potential catastrophic event, investment in Space Technologies and development of Space; should be of global concern because of the potential threat a large asteroid would impose upon civilization.

To ensure the survival of the human species, development of lunar and Martian mining colonies would have to occur simultamously. The longterm goal, "Survival: Planetary Plan B" should occur with all Nations working to ensure that a catastrophic event NEO impact does not occur.

AntiGraviton said...

Had we allowed Tesla to work on his "Death Ray" we may have had an easy solution already, one that could counter all foreign invasion, nuclear missile strikes and orbiting debris of any size, perhaps planetary size with a big enough exciter.

It is not that Tesla had an answer for everything but I am trying to figure out what he DIDN'T accomplish in one man's lifetime of invention. Of all his creations thought of as madness at the time--look at us now how we raped some of his ideas in the name of greed, and didn't allow him to continue his greatest to come works--instead we encapsulated him and called him crazy and consequently forgot who he even was, though he changed how humankind operates and communicates.

Norman Copeland said...

That may be a good idea jerry...

Norman Copeland said...

Antigraviton,
it worries me that people want to use particles of self directional impetus. Its common practice to need to be aloof, but, 'needing' to be a genius as opposed to switching on the thought power for solving science at will can be testing, especially in a world of karma and scientific shananighans, hey, your of the good science fraternity lot as I have learnt listening and considering your theories around the science communities, but, what if a magnifying glass was good enough to harness an object and act as some sort of tractor beam?


Has the technology got to be so difficult?

Jerry M. Weikle said...

Norman, I think I recall that Canada had launched a small micro-satelite about the size of a desktop pc. I believe it was over on LiveScience about a year ago.

If they can build one and then launch, why isn't one of the microelectronics companies not thinking of manufacturing an array of micro-satelites orbiting the Sun between the Earth and Mars? Expecially out 110 Million and 120 Million miles? It could even be used to establish a spacebase internet platform between Earth and Mars, for communication when 'human explorers' travel to Mars.

Such an array, could be multifunctional serving to analyze the various sizes of asteroids, trajectories, inner solar system maping of orbiting objects, chemical compositions, and communication with humans traveling out to explore Mars.

There are several web base applications that are great learning tools for exploring the solar system, and are apparently used in classrooms. Yet, as technology developes improvement occur and detail imagining. What if it were possible, to actually 'watch' an asteroid impact Europa or Io? Imagine, watching an asteroid strike on Europa, how it would fracture the ice on the Jovian Moon. The long term benefits to understanding and gaining scientific information is immense, when considering the possibilities.

Not to mention, the economic benefits of job creation here within society.

When humans do go to Mars, there is the lag time in communication between Mars and Earth, especially when the on opposites sides of the Sun. Having a micro-array of Sun-orbiting satelites between Mars and Earth, could shorten that communication time.

With the push of developing a scientifically educated society, through the NCLB and subsequent revisions, once society becomes educated what are they doing to do with it?

Customer service industries can only exist so far, and humans will be debating issues like Global Warming for the next 1,000 years, of planting tree's or cutting forests, invasive species, species restoration, humans vs the needs of species, so on and so on.

Eventually, as a society, when all the 'education occurs'....then the society has to start doing science someday, and that will be the 'bench test' of the societies on the Earth. One can talk about possiblities of fossils of life on Mars, the potential of 'Terraforming Mars', mining the resources on the Moon and Mars. Isn't it time for humans to take that next step?

Only in investing in space technology and the development of space can that occur. Otherwise, humanity might as well resign itself to major conflicts occuring in the 21st Century with the projected population.

Norman Copeland said...

I agree jerry, but, I can't agree, the thing is as Douglas explained with the article ''The similarities between the star wars and American space...'' we haven't got the infrastructures trust to build a fundamentally solid space programme on, yes, we are avid space science enthusiasts with phd's, masters, degrees, 'x' amount of proven experience and knowledge, with business, politics, and social ettiquette, but, my own experience tells me that putting 'dollars on counters' isn't just about having the business anymore, on the contrary, it's who we're playing, basically the market is anybodies perceptially speaking, but, the competition is what decides when a new product is productive and has a certain place on the shelf.

What I've learnt with modern business is that government protocol is a sure bet of the past, thats why the big companies are going bust, for instance, globe satelite companies, because of shrinking markets, cheaper launches and old satelite availability, truthfully, its becoming embarrassing for governments because of newer higher altitude satelites, government tax payers money can afford new satelite technology which has stealth increases due to things like new organisation that needs to monitor space debri, satelite traffic, and satelite maintenance.

The shelf product is not whats putting small, new starting business with good ideas out of business because people don't want it, and similiarly it's not the larger companies with their superior client base that put the newer small companies out of business.

What is it?

Its government non conforming procedure to the development of space applications.

What do we do? A good product will destroy a businessman because of a bad decision by a poor politician. Now isn't a good time to be cavelier, really, you've, we've got some figuring out to do because their not doing it the way a naturally developing economy would develope, and truthfully basic international business operates upon theories of national economic policy models, what seems to be happening is its 'lets wait for the squeeze on who gets it', and if you look at the players involved none of them can afford it, NASA isn't poised, Russia has the ability, but, not the desire socially, and the smaller countries are developing new engine and launch vehicle ideas on really silly budgets not capable of sustaining a realistic success.

I'm not sure what to say, a golden secret that I wouldn't of shared with anyone is 'you've got to have your distribution sorted', forget it otherwise your not in it.

I tell anyone that now because its not even that its a knock on effect consumers market and trully that tells us that yesterdays technology is affordable and probably more reliable, the developers have so got it, their budgets totally battered, no suggestions of new investment.

Tell you the truth jerry, I'll have a thousand of any satelite you can build from a dustbin lid that gives me 1000 t.v channels and doesn't need payment. I don't watch t.v, but, I can batter every businessman for a better deal on other technology because of it...

Thats what Douglas is saying, but, I believe the 'Count Dooku' fatally adaptive to human culture, and what scares me is, as a race we're happy we're getting a deal.

How many pockets have you got, politicians? Lets get out of here.

Douglas Mallette said...

Norman, we need to work on your grammar and punctuation. lol.

Jerry M. Weikle said...

Norman, our technology is improving and everyone can see geological features that were only dreamt about 20 years ago.

The concept of the "video phone" in Arthur C. Clarks, "2001 A Space Odysse" is occurring upon the networks as individuals interact online. Then look, as well, with the Google Earth application of the images of Mars or from the array with the worldwide telescope.

If something like this had existed 20 years ago, I can only imagine what educational path I would have taken.

Are detailed geological Lunar Maps in existance, where one can see that elements or chemicals of (whatever) exist and to what depths within the soil/rock layers? What I mean is beyond the surface layers.

I was reading the article about the EPA revising the policies of Bush on Mountain Top removal in Appalachia over on the NyTimes, and thinking about the economic effects that is going to cause vs the environmental effects of continuing to allow strip-mining within that region.

Not that I am advocating moving everyone from Appalachia to the Moon or Mars--some of my kin already think I have gone off my rocker--but if our scientific information was so 'advanced' with space technology. What about the possibility of a mining and mineral colony on Mars, alluding to "Total Recall" in the later half of the 21st Century. What is needed is detailed geological maps, geological sampling beyond 5 inches of soils--and our technology will get more advanced within the next 20 years.

For example, what if the research that is occuring with NIF proves to be successful in creating Fusion energy. See DiscoverBlog titled Countdown to Nuclear Fusion: National Ignition Facility Warms Up.

If this proves successful, new nuclear power plants will start being built because it would not harm the environment and people would basically have 'free energy' despited the greedy power companies that will not invest because of loss of profits. Here we have two noticible 'goods'--clean energy and none distructive environmental aspects. Well, this doesn't pollute the streams, destroy ozone, add greenhouse gasous like removal of mountain top strip mining activities mention prior.

Yet, if this technology become a benefitial good in society; then it would be benefitial in the development of space technology and application of living offworld. A few fusion power plants to generate electric energy, humans continuing their traditional lifes--but off world--and no EPA to be worried about pollution of Martian streams. Got to warm that planet up abit to get the water flowing, I dare say.

The driving factor for investing in space technology, in my opinion, is the need for resources by human on the Earth. Eventually, humanity will get to a place where it cannot feed all the people and supply their needs. As a species, we need room to grow and develop and increasing the funding for the technology that allows humanity to do so benefits all in the short term and long term.

From the fictional aspect, Luke Skywalker lived upon a planet with Democracy and individual freedoms. Whereas Darth Vadar existed upon a planet of Facisism and enslavement because of the actions of Count Dooku and Senator Palapines secret alliances in establishment of the Empire. It all started years ago, in a galaxy, far, far, away...before the Clone Wars and use of nanotechnologies merger with genetic technologies.

Oh, that was fun...

Norman Copeland said...

I've seen some interesting concepts that I didn't consider before as a result of evaluating the economic connotations of your posting.

Truefully, the geological global satelite mineral deposite surveys have generally slowed as a result of penetration and limited ability to register quality of precious minerals.

These previous 50 years of gemmology and minerology have seen scientists branch towards lab science for chemicle equasions which alter atomic composition {previously known as alchemy and transmutation} and mineral classification, as for instance it is know possible to fabricate diamond, the process is still more expensive than natural diamonds, but, the science exists.

As the practicing gemmologist I am, I can tell you that I have not had fun having to deal with the world of synthetic gems. As a newly qualified diamond fellow with his masters I believed that synthetic stones were an attempt to mimick nature that people would not rally to the cause of, but, as a gemmologist I have not once been granted a license for mining in any country, probably because to approach a government for a license geological surveys and quality assessment reports can cost and with modern GPS reports, should cost between 5 and 100 million pounds for varification of region productivity.

Hence, many scientists as I have fend for themselves among scraps of favours from gritty little sideswats of their true chosen profession, many float and perform acts of versatility reserved for, wait for it, '' The total recall' syndrome...

You may have a technique for redistributing professions!!! Specifically colonising, it may of been the films insinuation... Relocating people with blanked memories and possibly their DNA profile programme will retrain itself to perform different tasks using different chemicle reactions to the environment [essential for different planets], thus, when learning what the body functions can and can't do, having stealthily observed the path to functionability slowly dictate an operable process.

I am a reader of 'The times' [the nyc times parent paper] because it is the most sensible newspaper {my opinion}, reserved and functioning conservatism!!!

You'll do well to align your friendship with such hard working influencial journalists of a continually fading sociology...


[you should research 'the david plates']

Jerry M. Weikle said...

Thank you, Norman, I found photos of the "David Plates" on a link. They are interesting. I, being unaware of their existance, found them artistic for a cultural time period that was dominated en masse by religious beliefs.

A few years ago, I had the privilage of going to the Natural History museum in New York. I would have enjoyed spending a week there to see all the different exhibits and displays. Alas, the purpose of going there was to experience the visual simulation of the solar system. For me, it was a holographic dream of a learning tool--to sit in one of the chairs and be whisk'd across the solar system and beyond.

What will it be like, say in 20 years, when learning centers and schools have 3-D interactive theaters, or holodecks for the students. As the technology becomes economically feasible for even the most rurual school districts in developed nations. With detailed maps of the Martian surface, individuals can explore the terrain be guided to mineral deposits or even use tools to chip at the Carbon Dioxide ice at the Martian Poles.

What if a person could have a conversation with Darwin, enteract as a character in Cantebury Tales, walk with one of the High Priest at Thebes, or dine at the Last Supper--as a course requirement for undergradute classes of Evolution, English Literature, and World Religion.

What if those simulation of characters were so integrated, that the Egyptian Priest at Thebes could talk in a persons native language and begin teaching the ancient language? How interesting that would be...

...for individuals to travers worlds. Practice building structures ergonomically to the terrain of Mars. Not the 'grande Domes' that have existed in Sci-fi, say "Logans Run" for example; but building living areas simular to the Anasi of the American Southwest...but alongside a craterwall on Mars. With overhanging and sloping nanotechnology derived glass enclosures, thus leaving the center of the crater open to the Martian climate and ecosystem.

If and when, society does venture beyond Earth...there will be those individuals that carry with them design concepts based upon Earth's various cultures. Las Vegas has Pyrimaids, there is one outside of Chicago. Who knows...oneday a group of individuals on Mars might even do the same...so that Earth doesn't seem too far away.

I think it is going to have a profound impact upon the psyche of humanity, looking at the Blue Dot in the sky of another world. Hopefully, they will take with them the best of humanities ideas, but what actually is the "best" of human cultures, especially when all cultures have importance.

During the 1600's and 1700's, the colonies in the New World reflected the European nations. In Canada, one can see the influence of the French. In Central America, the influence of Spain. Yet, did those countries not even reflect bits and pieces of older cultures--Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian and the Indus Valley? I wonder how the learning centers of 20 years in the future, will prepare humans for traveling and building societies on Mars or even on the Moon.

The challenges that do'st impose to the changes of society and sociology...

Alas, today and in the near future, I have writing to do upon how technology and simulatons can enhance the learning abilities of individuals...with an educational focus, of course.

Norman Copeland said...

Jerry, the educational observation of simulations can best be viewed as modern computer games, the darstardly gluttunous horrible things have taken control of our youths childhood and teenage, even bored and silly adults have the neccessity for the dispicable things.

They seem to dominate advertising as if nothing else is important, and really, dexterity is not to be judged upon some wrist muscles gained from playing computer games. They have the audacity to speak about heightening intelligence factors?

How, on a fly crap does that do that?

Seriously, Jerry, 10 years ago europe was constantly reporting about America's obesity problems of the average citizen, Europe now has obesity issues similiar, I have not seen any reports linking the condition with lazy little good for nothing, twit useless men in the making, but, I beleive it the sure sign of a social dropout in the making.

These games are the product of a technology known as 'artificial intelligence' I myself considered another degree and the field of A.I, which is the science responsible for building robot intelligence for space applications.

I then was a nieve younger boy/man who could see the scope for the expansion of the subject, truefully, I'm not grumbling at the special effects technology which 'artificial intelligence' has produced for Hollywood films, some of them have been inspirational, especially the new star wars films.

But creating virtual potatoes of entire swaths of communities is not what I have envisioned for our race.


Tell me I'm wrong Jerry, but, children should be sent to the local scout's hall to learn all the significant knots, the names of positions on ships, they should be taught comradery and how to be team players, leaders and organisers.


How will you tally that with glitzy light shows?

Artificial intelligence? Be inspirational someone, the world needs men to be men.

antigraviton said...

I'm late to the table...points noted regarding geniuses and using simpler ideas. A magnifying glass may be one of several methods. My thoughts were in following the same lines as Tesla originally conceived, but without the capable backing as with his creation of AC power motors and generators through George Westinghouse, Tesla was left in the cold and could not bring his invention to fruition.

Given that this "super-genius" was almost single-handedly capable of bringing us technologically out of the 1890's to where we are now, I'd tend to agree with much of his more potent theories of operation. Agreed he had his batty, mad scientist side, but one must sift through what was a joke, what was his eccentricity due to autism and his genuine divine creativity.

For reference, check out Tesla Death Ray. Such an animal would be entirely lethal to anything that crossed in front of it while operating which would completely remove any rock or debris issues in an instant and vaporize them into their atomic parts. Something more simplistic as a magnifying glass in space would rely on focal points of the sun, lens and the object intended with also a burn time and probable likely fragmentation of targets.

With the Tesla Death ray, the intention that nothing would be left but gaseous elements. Tesla once said that his invention could eliminate from existence instantly 10,000 flying airplanes flying toward it.

I would rather rely on the Tesla concept as a definitive course of action of eliminating a cataclysmic extermination threat from space vs a simpler analogy used typically in frying naughty ants.

Norman Copeland said...

Inverted intellect is a danger which is open for misinterpritation, comprehend that, valence chemical bonding happens at a self identifying process which can be anyplace on an entire planet, hey, anyplace on an entire universe sphere.

It is not particularly comforting to be among such inexperience concerning personal ideas of how they think their 'little world' operates.

Children gravitate among these environments and and as a man and a father of two children my first opinion is that I just don't want this sort of malpractice near me.

Let's talk of death rays, every fathers cup of tea, ideas spread from place to place via chemical reactions, I'm not sure who has done the research on chemical reactions among masses of people regarding its movement among the masses and how fast it could travel, but, I have, I have seen how energy manifests at extreme velocities and at much slower velocities.

It really is an amalgamy of variations and possibilities that I have seen esculate to anomalies, especially considering that not all time is decided, other forms of energy can intereact and change situations on the spin of a coin, I've seen it, I've researched it, and learnt the process. Other people would probably have knowledge of it as 'devine intervention'. If you can't do that, your selfish and dangerous.

Thats how things can change on a whim, and that sort of science is not for me thanks. My first priority is my family and friends safety, if I must build a time portal, its neccessary to explain the dangers of such technology and what sort of energy is surrounding it. The American philadelphia project was deemed 'not sure if it was a safe or hazard scientific test', results of which have not been published, but, for instance, the burmuda triangle repetatively being linked with navigation discrepencies.

Some of us really do need to navigate the stars, among heavens unknown, and who has got a little clue, we may may members of a rank system and progress to other commands on different planets and different heavens.


So, I guess what I'm trying to say is who's table are you at Tim?

antigraviton said...

I sit at the table of a the great giant who created, but was unfinished in fully revealing the technological world you and I occupy today...for better or worse, certainly technologically forward from the 1890's of oil lamps and coal furnaces.

With ultimate death from a death ray also comes the great potential of peace as stated by Tesla as you must realize his invention came during the time of unstoppable Adolf Hitler who essentially killed between 50-70 million and this was purely guns and knives and simple human agression.

The electrical beam weapon of choice is no more than the natural harnessing of processes already available in nature, simply unfocussed. If we tap in the right uniformity of an electrical pulse in supreme understanding, we generate a big beam and fry the crap out of any hostile propelled object(s)coming at us or a standing object.

The Death Ray was also noted as the Peace Ray, that would stalemate enemies from attacking each other.

Safety is potentially overridden whether fitted with great technological means or not--some African countries have shown us how to kill hundreds of thousands quickly using machetes, base barbarian technology. Muslim human hating bombers show us how the brainwashed killer is capable of killing babies to the elderly, even worshippers of their own religion.

The human mind cannot be changed unless it is genetically changed to remove greed, hatred and agression--or all of those trappings that cause us to think and do bad things as human beings will continue as "moments of psychosis."

Genetics has already seeped into our foods and for cloning and regarding stem cell research to heal us, though genetic manipulation has really been with us since the birth of viruses and bad genetic coding. At some point, genet6ic manipulation will be needed to make spacefaring humans that simply do not age or die and are not fed on by disease and bacteria and virii, with no need of certain stimuli or need for medicines--everthing would be provided by the body as needed to continue indefinetely, coded perfectly to run and never cease, and with the proper growing intelligent curious mind to drive it infinitely. Had Nikola Tesla been altered to exist forever and he were alive to see today, imagine what he would be inventing for all of us today beyond radar,radio,tv,robotics,x rays, AC generators and motors etc.

Douglas Mallette said...

Peace through the understanding of mutual annihilation. I'm game for that, since it seems to be really the only way to get people to knock it off.