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Bruce Willis, Earth may need you!

A new federal report indicates NASA doesn't have the necessary funds to monitor all asteroids that pose a threat to Earth.

Congress officially ordered NASA to monitor all possible "killer" asteroids in 2005, but no additional funds were given to the U.S. space agency.  Congress wants at least 90 percent of all deadly rocks that could threaten Earth to be tracked. Despite this request, NASA hasn't been given the necessary funds -- NASA officials say they've already tracked around one-third of the floating threats.

The United States remains just one of the few governments attempting to monitor threats to Earth.  Between now and 2020, according to NASA, more than $800 million must be set aside to help track asteroids.

It appears there are around 20,000 asteroids and comets that are threats to Earth, with each one at least 460 feet in diameter.  NASA only knows the locations of around 6,000 of these near-Earth objects, and wants to continue locating all threats.

It's possible floating objects that are 460 feet to 3,280 feet in diameter would be able to cause devastation on Earth, but will not destroy the entire planet.

Just five near-Earth objects have a 1-in-a-million risk or better to strike Earth leading to major damage, NASA said.  The Apophis asteroid, almost 900-feet in diameter poses a one-in-43,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2036, 2037 or 2069.

By 2020, Congress wants NASA to use ground-based telescopes -- which can be used by other researchers and space agencies for different tasks -- including the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii.

Along with tracking possible threats, scientists and researchers are developing ideas on how to destroy any asteroids that could impact Earth. 

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Doesn't matter
By corduroygt on 8/13/2009 8:28:47 AM , Rating: 4
Since we've got the best oil rig crew in the world, we can send em up there to drill and plant a nuke.

RE: Doesn't matter
By StevoLincolnite on 8/13/2009 8:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
And watch it explode into confetti!

RE: Doesn't matter
By Mitch101 on 8/13/2009 9:25:15 AM , Rating: 5
General: Those aren't ideas those are special effects...

Michael Bay: I don't understand the difference...

General: I know you don't

RE: Doesn't matter
By SublimeSimplicity on 8/13/2009 9:14:11 AM , Rating: 5
The President would rather see the destruction of the earth than agree to their terms of no tax for the rest of their lives.

RE: Doesn't matter
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 9:57:29 AM , Rating: 1
Nice. A big +1 for that one.

RE: Doesn't matter
By shaw on 8/13/2009 9:21:12 AM , Rating: 4
Make sure the lunar rover has a chaingun installed incase martians are spotted.

RE: Doesn't matter
By MrBlastman on 8/13/2009 10:57:23 AM , Rating: 4
Better yet, spend some tax dollars on a modern-day vector-refresh system and launch a triangular ship into outerspace. Why sit here and wait when we can just blast them all into pieces.

To shelter the earth, we will warp space-time in order to place the center of our solar system in the absolute center of a hypersphere allowing all the remaining objects to wrap around the system indefinitely avoiding collision with our planet. Once we do this, our triangular friend in the "solarmos" can freely blast away, steadily whittling them down into smaller and smaller pieces.

The only problem is those darned UFO's keep popping up due to our failed handling of Roswell and our inability to sign a long-term peacekeeping agreement. The only defense we have is to hide in the opposite corner of our system after they warp in from hyperspace and shoot across the hypersphere boundaries wrapping our shots back into the UFO's. Good thing NASA spent all those tax dollars developing a hyperdrive of our own so the ship can leap out of harms way when needed.

Too bad the drive is random. Also it's too bad that after our ship kills 99,990 worth of asteroids the ship-board computers will lose track of things and reset the count to zero.

Ah well. All in the name of stellar defense I suppose.

RE: Doesn't matter
By Ratinator on 8/13/2009 11:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be a kick in the nuts though to not have one equipped and evil martians did appear.

RE: Doesn't matter
By grath on 8/13/2009 9:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Just the fact that the Martians are evil is the kick in the nuts.

RE: Doesn't matter
By drnk on 8/13/2009 9:43:25 AM , Rating: 1
Congress will never agree to send a crew on an asteroid to drill a hole and plant a nuke.
More likely,they will agree if somebody tells them there's oil there.

RE: Doesn't matter
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 9:59:47 AM , Rating: 5
No because that would cause global warming on the asteroid.

Now if you tell them there's a hundred people living on it who will attend a town hall on health care reform WITHOUT speaking out against it, they'll get a shuttle up there lickedy split to get them back to Earth ASAP.

RE: Doesn't matter
By LoweredExpectations on 8/14/2009 10:05:32 AM , Rating: 4
Ah yes - here it is again, global warming. Isn't it amazing how so many topics discussed here in the DaileyTech blogs turn into an anti-Obama/liberal circle jerk with the same half dozen guys pumping up each other's ratings in a competition to see who can offer up the most extreme and off-the-wall examples of the kind of nonsense that passes for wit among the Fox crowd. Do you ever wonder why none of you loons ever gets a rating higher than 5 - it's because there are only 6 of you. The saner readers of these articles glance at the comments, see the usual nutjobs and their predictable rant, shake their heads, and change the channel, which I will now do.

By ninus3d on 8/13/2009 8:56:05 AM , Rating: 4
Congress officially ordered NASA to monitor all possible "killer" asteroids in 2005, but no additional funds were given to the U.S. space agency.


RE: Heh
By rtrski on 8/13/2009 9:02:39 AM , Rating: 4
You heard about the congressional junket to Antarctica and Australia's Great Barrier Reef to "observe the effects of global warming"? They're currently planning their trip to the space station to "observe orbital effects pertinent to killer asteriods". Expect them to pass a bill extending the shuttle lifetime so they can get up there.

But again, no funding. Murtha's airport needs another terminal named after his favorite aunt Fannie.

RE: Heh
By kfonda on 8/13/2009 11:35:32 AM , Rating: 5
I would gladly pay higher taxes if we can send congress to space. Wait, you did say one way, right.

This is an Earth issue, not US issue
By aguilpa1 on 8/13/2009 10:07:16 AM , Rating: 3
If a big one hits its not a US problem it is an Earth problem. Lets get some other Nations to pitch in an split up the task of monitoring and it will work. Why does the US have to be the watchdog. Its just as important an issue to all nations.

By Bateluer on 8/13/2009 10:23:50 AM , Rating: 2

By spartan014 on 8/13/2009 11:11:32 AM , Rating: 3
Its not like the other nations are asking US to be the watchdog.. It has taken up the role all by itself.

Do you think that if at all the NASA decides to or is forced to completely abandon the monitoring program, other nations are going to protest?

By Ammohunt on 8/13/2009 3:16:53 PM , Rating: 2
Good idea! Iran can use its nukes to blow the infidel asteroids from the sky.

And how many Billions went to Acorn
By siliconvideo on 8/13/2009 9:16:13 AM , Rating: 3
NASA needs $800 million to monitor an earth killer event and they can't get Congress to approve it while they approve billions for Acorn, an organization with known criminal problems. Just goes to show you where Congress's priorities are.

By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 10:02:36 AM , Rating: 1
Don't forget the $550 million they wanted to spend on jets. But alas due to public opinion our Speaker of the House will have to live a life of semi-luxury. There will be no private tropical island for her children's birthday this year.....oh wait no ones dumb or drunk enough to f*ck her.

RE: And how many Billions went to Acorn
By kaoken on 8/13/09, Rating: 0
By FITCamaro on 8/14/2009 7:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently you and I are thinking of a different Congress. While many in Congress claim to be Christian, there are extremely few who are that far out there religiously. Given that a large number of Democrats favor abortion, that kind of negates their claim to be Christian in my eyes. That kind of hypocrisy is why I no longer consider myself a Christian.

The UN
By Danish1 on 8/13/2009 10:06:12 AM , Rating: 3
Why isn't the UN using some of their funds to monitor this ?

Seems like the kind of thing the UN should doing, unlike meddling in politics and telling nations they should buy CO2 quotas from other nations.

RE: The UN
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 10:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
They're too busy illegal giving money to North Korea.

And ensuring Sally Struthers is properly fed.

Oblig. Armageddon Quote
By DCstewieG on 8/13/2009 10:23:23 AM , Rating: 3
Well, our object collison budget's about a million dollars a year. That allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and begging your pardon sir, but it's a big-ass sky.

By ggordonliddy on 8/13/2009 7:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
Rape and plunder the farm animals at your leisure!!! Some of them are 2-baggers, but fear not!

We should not waste money on this garbage! I like to live on the edge (with animal venereal diseases so prevalent nowadays, it's hard not to live on the edge, isn't it? you know what I'm talking about!!!).

By Aberforth on 8/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: Dorks
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 10:03:58 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah because that minuscule portion of the budget that NASA takes up is threatening to collapse the economy....

Seriously. Get a f*cking clue.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: Dorks
By Bateluer on 8/13/2009 10:21:32 AM , Rating: 2
No, Congress doesn't know the value of money, and apparently, neither do you. The US Government spent, and is still spending, billions in Iraq and Afghanistan, trillions on the nearly bankrupt medicare and social security. The USPS is losing money to the tone 7 billion per year. Congress borrowed nearly 10 trillion dollars for bailouts and stimulus that hasn't done squat.

NASA's paltry 16 billion dollar annual budget is like a drop of water in the pacific ocean.

RE: Dorks
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 10:36:41 AM , Rating: 5
Nevermind the countless scientific advancements that result from that $17.6 billion. Which in turn drive money actually being made through private enterprise.

RE: Dorks
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 10:39:35 AM , Rating: 4
Please sir tell us where we should be spending money then?

More bank and mortgage bailouts? Cash for clunkers? Another trillion dollar stimulus package to further pay off those Democrat constituencies? Maybe we should give that $800 billion for that plan Obama had to help the world's poor. Who cares that we'd have to borrow it.

Yeah none of that stuff at all is more of a threat to our economy than NASA.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: Dorks
By kattanna on 8/13/2009 11:09:46 AM , Rating: 3
You guys think spending money on science is OK but you don't understand the after effects

you mean like having more knowledge of how things actually work in this world?

please tell me your not someone who agrees with this?

Republican mayoral candidate Anna Falling said Tuesday that putting a Christian creationism display in the Tulsa Zoo is No. 1 in importance among city issues that include violent crime, budget woes and bumpy streets

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: Dorks
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 12:28:17 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah and the invention of the atom bomb led to nuclear power, X-ray machines, chemotherapy, radioactive cocktails to find other health problems, carbon dating, etc.

Yeah what terrible things the atom bomb led to.

You are clearly a troll. Either that or an incredibly stupid person.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: Dorks
By MrBlastman on 8/13/2009 12:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
So what part of what FIT mentioned is not a good step Mankind's towards technological evolution?

"atom bomb led to nuclear power, X-ray machines, chemotherapy, radioactive cocktails to find other health problems, carbon dating, etc."

I'd say all of those are good steps, especially nuclear power... or do you dispute that?

The space program is the single most obvious thing our Government can fund knowing that the money is truly going towards the future benefit of mankind. Not just Americans - but ALL of mankind. Getting off this rock after acheiving a 1.0 in the Kardashev scale is of crucial significance.

That can't be done without funding a Space program, at least, until private industry finds a profitable way to fund space exploration themselves.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 1:11:47 PM , Rating: 1
^ You are so funny, human beings survived without scientific advancements for millions of years and has th capacity to do so. This nuclear technology, though useful was not designed or discovered keeping humanity in mind. Otherwise we'd have seen a lot more done for it's sake. We are making ourselves more comfortable with technology, is that a good thing? Only in limited amounts. Take internet for example- highly useful medium, but comes with it's set of miseries- viruses, spam, scam etc and it did crush newspaper companies who are now begging the government for money. So ultimately, if everything becomes automated no one will have jobs, there will be panic everywhere, devolution starts due to lack of work, economy will collapse and stone age begins.

RE: Dorks
By ClownPuncher on 8/13/2009 2:30:38 PM , Rating: 1
You are crazy as shit.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: Dorks
By FoundationII on 8/13/2009 2:40:50 PM , Rating: 1
Well, go live in a cave or something, and you won't be bothered often by this annoyance called 'technology'.

Currently you're being a hypocrite by using a computer, electricity and the internet to voice your opinion against technology.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 2:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
Don't tell me what to do, look what internet has done to you, can't even argue without swearing or flaming with at others. I never said anything about not using technology, but everthing has it's dark side, we just have to make sure we don't abuse it, like NASA is doing right now for their own job security. People are dying, losing their jobs everyday, they are also worried about healthcare and these people at NASA shamlessly ask more money from the government to look for destructive asteroids, it's a joke.

RE: Dorks
By jimbojimbo on 8/13/2009 3:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, trying to track objects that could destroy Earth is fraught with dangers. It's better we not look into space at all.

How about you go cross the highway but close your eyes as you do so?

By the way, if you think human beings have been on this planet for millions of years, anybody can argue that everything you say is wrong.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 3:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
yes human evolution started about 7 million years ago starting from Home Erectus, but then again I don't take theory of evolution for granted. So I might be wrong.

Tracking asteroids isn't a very hard thing to do, once you paint an asteroid you have to track it's trajectory and calculate the strike probability, this can be done by lauching a satellite near asteroid belt (all under 160 million dollars). We can also hypothesize the fate of martian atmosphere since it's close to the belt. But this is just a waste of money at the present time.

RE: Dorks
By MamiyaOtaru on 8/13/2009 5:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
Hom o Erectus appeared around 2 million years ago. 2, 7: same thing amirite? But why pick them out? Why not say it started even earlier with the appearance of mammals? Or multi celled organisms? Like Homo Erectus, they were our ancestors, whose descendants included a lot of failures and one branch that led to us. "Us" being Homo Sapiens, which has not been around for millions of years.

Talking about human evolution as though you have a clue while getting basic facts wrong (especially since you could check them on this internet thing)? Assuming all asteroids can be tracked by launching a satellite? Pretty much everything you've said?

It all paints you as an ignoramus, and not worthy of further attention.

RE: Dorks
By kaoken on 8/13/2009 3:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
Did they now? You don't think farming, weapons, tools, fire, the wheel were scientific advancements that allowed humans to survive? Who is this troll?

RE: Dorks
By Smartless on 8/13/2009 2:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm don't reproduce.

RE: Dorks
By croc on 8/13/2009 6:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think you can scratch x ray machines from that list....

RE: Dorks
By kattanna on 8/13/2009 1:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
^ That's exactly the attitude that made them invent nuclear bomb

WOW.. the bomb was made to end the war. by making the bomb and using it, it actually saved millions of lives on both sides. but your either too young and/or dumb to realize that.

maybe you should read up on some actual history. the people who directly "made" the bomb were very remorseful about it, but knew it had to be done to end the war.

there.. you might try at least reading that

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 1:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
I don't agree with that, killing thousands to save millions is never justified.

RE: Dorks
By JediJeb on 8/13/2009 2:57:36 PM , Rating: 2
So you are saying it is better to kill millions than to kill thousands?

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 3:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
There is always a better way to deal with things than killing.

RE: Dorks
By DominionSeraph on 8/13/2009 3:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
Tell that to your immune system.

RE: Dorks
By JediJeb on 8/14/2009 12:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
There are better ways if both sides agree that there are. But if one side is determined to kill the other no matter what, then the other is doomed if they don't fight back.

Sometimes the most prudent option is not the most pleasant one.

RE: Dorks
By MrBlastman on 8/13/2009 3:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
We should end you so you don't breed. Our world would be better off.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 3:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
Lucky your parents didn't think like that.

RE: Dorks
By kattanna on 8/13/2009 3:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
actually.. LOL i thnk this person is a fake.

this is the only thread he/she has ever posted in after looking at the history.

heck.. for all we know its actually jason mick just trying to get pages hits.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 3:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
lol..not really, I don't post here often (but I have an ID @ anandtech) because I know I run into arrogant users who like flaming at me.

RE: Dorks
By kfonda on 8/13/2009 11:29:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote: Republican mayoral candidate Anna Falling said Tuesday that putting a Christian creationism display in the Tulsa Zoo is No. 1 in importance among city issues that include violent crime, budget woes and bumpy streets

Maybe if we get everyone in the world to pray to their gods at exactly the same time the gods will turn all the asteroids into fluffy clouds. Now all we have to do is figure out what words everyone must use during the prayer, perhaps "The Doctor"

P.S. - if anyone knows what this little blue Police Box that showed up in my back yard is please let me know. I can't get the door open and nobody answers when I knock. It say "bad wolf' on the side if that helps.

P.P.S. - These new painkillers the doctor gave me yesterday work really well, I hope I can still get them under the new health care plan.:-)

RE: Dorks
By JediJeb on 8/13/2009 11:22:37 AM , Rating: 2
If you keep an eye on the site you will see that there are over 1000 near earth objects being tracked right now, and every few months I see one there they find that actually passes between us and the moon. That is a very real threat when you realize that most of those are only spotted right before they pass by.

Many are discovered by amateur astronomers who devote much of their free time scanning the skies each night they can. But when you conisder how much more sensitive the professional telescopes are with their 1m and over mirrors compared to the best amateur scopes of about 16 inches, ( most are much smaller) the amateures are at a disadvantage. If nothing else throw a little money out there to equip more amateurs with 16 inch class scopes and high end CCD cameras and they will do a great job. I have a 3.5 inch scope and can only do visual observing but I try what I can. Get a few hundred to a few thousand amateurs spread around the globe and coordinated so they are not all scanning the same patch of sky and this work will be advanced tremendously.

A few days or weeks warning might not help if a very large asteroid is coming but that amount of warning could save many lives for a smaller one that might only cause a large tsunami or destroy a city. If you are worried about economic impact, then losing a city of taxpayers the size of New York would be quite bad if they could have been evacuated in advance. Not spending money on a program like this is akin to not spending money on vaccinations to prevent epidemics. The government's job is to protect its citizens, not buy them cars.

RE: Dorks
By kfonda on 8/13/2009 11:13:32 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe we can have a 'cash for asteroids' program or we can get a big catapult and fling the old clunker cars at the asteroids.

How a bout a TV telethon like Jerry Lewis does, Maybe Al Gore can be the spokesman. Then he can say he really is trying to save the planet.

"Your pledge now can let little Timmy live long enough to get killed by global warming instead of an asteroid. After all Timmy is doing his part by using an all electric vehicle (wheelchair). Now if Timmy will just convince his band, 'Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld' to go acoustic and play hippy songs we could make him the 'Asteroid Czar'" :-)

RE: Dorks
By mvpx02 on 8/13/2009 1:00:13 PM , Rating: 2

that sounds like the next logical step for Al Gore... after he finishes his current project:

An Inconvenient Truth II: Supernova

Frank TV is genius

RE: Dorks
By jimbojimbo on 8/13/2009 3:45:20 PM , Rating: 2
He can't be the spokesman because there actually is a chance that something could hit earth, unlike anthropomorphic global warming.

RE: Dorks
By rudolphna on 8/13/2009 12:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
So you would rather we DIDN'T know if there was a asteroid capable of wiping out life on earth heading right for us? Yeah, that's intelligent. Nice plan. And the relatively small amount of cash they are asking for is certainly going to destroy us. You know Earth is overdue for a mass extinction, right?

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 12:18:04 PM , Rating: 1
Why are you worried about astroids hitting planet earth, you know it'll take 10 nukes to do just that. Same effect really...

RE: Dorks
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2009 12:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you over-estimate the effectiveness of a nuclear bomb. Now perhaps if we detonated 10 of our most powerful weapons at either pole all at the same time, maybe that would doom us by maybe knocking us out of our proper orbit or altering Earth's axis or rotation. But we need a lot more than 10 nukes to completely destroy the world the way a very large asteroid would. Of course that's just for us. Life itself would go on after an asteroid hit. It would take hundreds of years but life would thrive again some day. Same goes for nuclear weapons. Would just take longer.

RE: Dorks
By Aberforth on 8/13/2009 12:41:44 PM , Rating: 1
Current generation nukes are far more powerful with fission energies getting closer to a megaton. Though I was not talking about the nuclear explosion- it's after effects include radio active poisioning, pervasive psychic numbing, environmental hazards, ozone contamination, econmic collapse etc ...I'm sure you get the idea.

RE: Dorks
By DominionSeraph on 8/13/2009 3:53:07 PM , Rating: 3
it'll take 10 nukes to do just that.


Hiroshima: 13kt
Typical weaponized H-bomb: sub-1 megaton
(Trident II has eight ~475kt MIRVs; Minuteman has one 300-475kt; SS-25 [most numerous Russian ICBM]: 550kt)

In the Marshall Islands between '54 and '58, eighteen tests clocking in over 1 megaton.
Tsar Bomba: 50 megatons.
USSR and USA: Combined 23 tests of devices >4Mt for total yield of ~300Mt. (13Mt average)
(and the world kept on spinnin')

Total world arsenal: ~2000Mt (thanks to arms reduction)


Fragment G of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9: Six million megatons

15km diameter asteroid: ~100 million megatons

------------------------------------------------- -

Nukes just ain't in the same league.

RE: Dorks
By kaoken on 8/13/2009 4:58:14 PM , Rating: 2

Anyways if the chance the apohis asteroid will hit is 1/43000, and it's gonna come around 3 times. Isn't the chance now 3/43000, which is 1/14000? Those odds don't sound too good.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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