Sunday, July 30, 2006

On Meteors

Unfortunately, I don’t think this possibility gets me out of doing the dishes.


I asked them how much warning we would receive if a similar hunk of rock was coming toward us today.
“Oh, probably none,” said Anderson breezily. “It wouldn’t be visible to the naked eye until it warmed up, and that wouldn’t happen until it hit the atmosphere, which would be about one second before it hit the Earth. You’re talking about something moving many tens of times faster than the fastest bullet. Unless it had been seen by someone with a telescope, and that’s by no means a certainty, it would take us completely by surprise.”

(…)Even if we did manage somehow to get a warhead to the asteroid and blasted it to pieces, the chances are that we would simply turn it into a string of rocks that would slam into us one after the other in the manner of Comet Shoemaker-Levy on Jupiter – but with the difference now that the rocks would be intensely radioactive.

--Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything. Canada: Anchor Canada, 2003. Pgs. 202-205.

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