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RE: starship-design: New drive design
On Tuesday, September 16, 1997 8:55 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org
> Okay, here goes.
> 1: The asteroid wont even hit Earth, until, lo and behold it collides
> with a comet that happens to be passing by, which of course alters its
> 2: The statement of an astronomer tracking it, five minutes to impact,
> 25000 mile out. Works out to 300,000 miles per hour
> 3: I don't remember what the stated size was, but we launch a Titan
> missile to intercept, and the Russians launch something similar. The two
> impact the asteroid at well beyond the orbit of the Hubble (actually
> showed them passing it, slow enough to see it of course!) and vaporize
> the darn thing! No debris to hit Earth of course.
> Now, I know that its perfectly possible for an asteroid to hit us, but
> the science mistakes in this were glaring. Makes us all look bad to
> those who don't know any better.
> Jim C.
> Duck and cover!
Gee, I thought it was the Australian aborigine predicting it 2,000 years in
I've sort of gotten inured to SF movies treatment of fact and gotten used
to overlooking there foibles.
As for the rest of it well...let's try this on for size. It is fairly well
accepted that there are ten rocks out there for every one we know of. If a
known large asteroid on a near miss were to collide with an unknown but
relatively dense asteroid, the collision COULD produce sufficient change in
its orbit to cause it to impact Earth, BUT even so, it would have to occur
far enough away as to give us PLENTY of time to se it coming.
There is no way a relatively light comet is going to cause this to happen
in the time frame presented. Even then, we might want to think twice before
attempting this. Fact of the matter is the resulting cloud of small
asteroids would cause more damage than the big one in the long run. Unless
we can VAPORIZE the asteroid, this would be a bad move. Who wants a
trillion tons of RADIOACTIVE asteroid raining down on their hemisphere?