Saturday, April 19, 2014
"Blind Luck’ that asteroids haven’t destroyed a major city yet
Well, here’s something happy to think about as you head into the weekend. Phys.org brings us word that three former NASA astronauts are going to present new research next week showing that there have been 26 asteroid crashes since 2001 that have caused “atomic-bomb-scale explosions” that have fortunately been far away from major population centers. The research, which was conducted by the B612 Foundation, used data from a nuclear weapons warning network to measure the impact of major asteroid strikes on the Earth’s surface.
“This network has detected 26 multi-kiloton explosions since 2001, all of which are due to asteroid impacts,” explained B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu, a physicist who worked at NASA from 1994 until 2007. “It shows that asteroid impacts are not rare but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought. The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”
Lu cofounded the B612 Foundation in 2002 as a project dedicated to raising funds to build an asteroid early warning system capable of detecting major asteroids before they come close to striking Earth. He will present his findings alongside two fellow NASA alums, Space Shuttle astronaut Tom Jones and Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, at Seattle’s Museum of Flight on April 22nd.