Saturday, December 22, 2007
Yes it is the danger of an impact from an asteroid or comet, with the news that an asteroid is fairly likely to crash into a planet on January 30th 2008. Fortunately, this is into Mars not the planet hosting Estonia, Moldova and Montgomeryshire.
The Red Planet may find itself in the cross-hairs next month.
According to Space.com, scientists at the Near Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory believe a newly discovered asteroid has a 1 in 75 chance of hitting Mars on January 30.
They quote astronomer, Steve Chesley, as saying ,"These odds are extremely unusual. We frequently work with really long odds when we track ... threatening asteroids. We know that it's going to fly by Mars and most likely going to miss, but there's a possibility of an impact"
Halfway between Earth and Mars, the asteroid, known as 2007 WD5, was discovered in late November and initially estimated to have a 1 in 350 chance of making impact. However, as new observations were made, the odds increased and scientists expect them to grow even more next month.
Of course there is still the Aphrodite question for the Earth in 2029 or 2036
Let’s hope that this January news does not lead to unseemly competition between Lembit and Nick for press attention, as allegedly happened some years ago in another leadership era:
"THERE'S something of a stand-off between Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy and the party's excitable MP Lembit Opik over the future of Planet Earth. Opik, you'll recall, wants the government to trackasteroids heading for the planet. And his crusade has been boosted by news that an object from outer space has just missed Earth.
There are those who think Opik is off his rocker and Kennedy may well be one of them because he is still showing no signs of supporting him. Their chillinessdates back to a party conference when Kennedy missed out on headlines because Opik was monopolising the media with asteroid talk. "I was gettingthe same coverage as the party leader and I think he still remembers that,"Opik tells me."
--The Mirror, 25 June 2002
The Truth is out there somewhere…