Oooh my 'roids.
September 2, 2003 1:14 AM   Subscribe

Near Earth Objects A newly discovered 1.2 km wide asteroid has been given a Torino hazard rating of 1. Astronomers will continue to observe the space rock carefully to determine its orbit more accurately. [link via BBC Radio 5]<
posted by Frasermoo (15 comments total)
oh no!...

The chance of collision is extremely unlikely, about the same as a random object of the same size striking the Earth within the next few decades.

and the odds will be going down over the next several months.

wake me up when it hits 6 or 7 on the scale.
posted by demannu at 2:04 AM on September 2, 2003

Link to what the Torino scale is.
posted by skallas at 2:14 AM on September 2, 2003

shit, you have less than a 1 percent chance. Sounds like chicken little thinks the sky is falling. (Not you frasermoo, the post itself. I hate it when people take shit personally.)
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:18 AM on September 2, 2003

The reason this grabbed me was because as they discussed this on the radio, the 'expert' talked about the devastation should it land on somewhere like Paris. For the next twenty minutes the radio station was reading out messages from listeners such as 'every cloud has a silver lining' and 'why stop it then?' which made me laugh.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:39 AM on September 2, 2003

Rating of 1?! Meh - wake me when it reaches "Grand" Torino status. [rolls back over]
posted by wfrgms at 6:28 AM on September 2, 2003

Meh, indeed. Even the most alarmist interpretations give this object a Palermo scale reading of -1.3, while this page gives it a Palermo scale of -2 or so, and an order of magnitude less chance of an impact in 2014.

(The Palermo scale is a quantitative risk analysis measure, unlike the Torino scale, which seems like it's intended for the press. Palermo measures compare the probability of any given object's colliding with the Earth compared to the background rate of similar-sized asteroid collisions. A negative number means that the probability's less than background, which means that it's nothing out of the ordinary, more or less.)
posted by ptermit at 7:32 AM on September 2, 2003

This site has been given a 6 on the unreadable type scale. Who thought 7-point #6666FF text with extra-wide letter-spacing and justified paragraphs would look good? Cranky designers will continue to observe the site carefully to determine its unreadability more accurately.
posted by Daze at 8:46 AM on September 2, 2003

If we don't have a system in place for deflecting an incoming asteroid, I say let's not bother looking. No sense in getting all worked up over something we can't avoid anyway.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:24 AM on September 2, 2003

Heh heh...'roids.

I just watched something called "Hyperspace" hosted by the guy from Jurassic Park. He says that we've only monitored about ten - twenty percent of the sky for NEOs and that realistically, the only evidence of an asteroid coming to hit us would be the enormous explosion that would sound as it hit our planet.

So no worries, indeed.

/that's no moon!
posted by hellinskira at 10:59 AM on September 2, 2003

re: mr_crash_davis, i don't think we'd be told of anything of great significance. i mean, it would be total insanity.
posted by folktrash at 11:51 AM on September 2, 2003

Actually from what I understand of Revelation it would be Biblical. But hey, in the long run we're all dead.
posted by konolia at 2:13 PM on September 2, 2003

>But hey, in the long run we're all dead.

True, but that doesn't necessarilly mean the end of mankind. Space migration and colonization may be in our future well before the big one hits. Also, the more seriously these NROs are taken the more funding will go into spotting them and perhaps neutralizing them as a threat.

Some ideas here - nuclear nudge, mass driver, etc.

>No sense in getting all worked up over something we can't avoid anyway.

More worked up = more funding. I say scare the masses.
posted by skallas at 4:55 PM on September 2, 2003

All kidding aside, skallas, I am all for taking care of these things before they land. As for colonization, hopefully NASA will get its act together soon. I ain't holding my breath.
posted by konolia at 7:48 PM on September 2, 2003

For those who care: it's now down to zero on the Torino scale and less than -2 on the Palermo scale.
posted by ptermit at 6:57 AM on September 3, 2003

These things are always subject to further perturbations ... unknown objects, incoming comets, errors in measurements. Until the time of approach gets close, there's no use getting excited.

If you want to worry, I'd worry a lot more about some politician doing something universally stupid. See "Animatrix" for example ....
posted by Twang at 11:42 AM on September 3, 2003

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