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Deadly asteroid strike may be more probable than believed

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

(Reuters) - The chance of a city-killing asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed, a non-profit group building an asteroid-hunting telescope said on Tuesday.

A global network that listens for nuclear weapons detonations detected 26 asteroids that exploded in Earth's atmosphere from 2000 to 2013, data collected by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization shows.

The explosions include the Feb. 15, 2013, impact over Chelyabinsk, Russia, which left more than 1,000 people injured by flying glass and debris.

"There is a popular misconception that asteroid impacts are extraordinarily rare ... that's incorrect," said former astronaut Ed Lu, who now heads the California-based B612 Foundation.

The foundation on Tuesday released a video visualization of the asteroid strikes in an attempt to raise public awareness of the threat.

Asteroids as small as about 131 feet (40 meters) - less than half the size of an American football field - have the potential to level a city, Lu told reporters on a conference call

"Picture a large apartment building - moving at Mach 50," Lu said.

Mach 50 is 50 times the speed of sound, or roughly 38,000 mph (61,250 kph).

NASA already has a program in place that tracks asteroids larger than 0.65 mile (1 km). An object of this size, roughly equivalent to a small mountain, would have global consequences if it struck Earth.

An asteroid about 6 miles (10 km) in diameter hit Earth some 65 million years ago, triggering climate changes that are believed to have caused the dinosaurs - and most other life on Earth at the time - to die off.

"Chelyabinsk taught us that asteroids of even 20-meter (66-foot) size can have substantial effect," Lu said.

City-killer asteroids are forecast to strike about once every 100 years, but the prediction is not based on hard evidence.

B612 intends to address that issue with a privately funded, infrared space telescope called Sentinel that will be tasked to find potentially dangerous asteroids near Earth. The telescope, which will cost about $250 million, is targeted for launch in 2018.

B612 takes its name from the fictional planet in the book "The Little Prince," by French author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

The video can be seen on the B612 Foundation website b612foundation.org/ (Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Lois April 23 2014 at 10:21 PM

In that case, we better blast and break them up before they hit..!

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brosnecks Lois April 23 2014 at 10:36 PM

Very bad idea. Breaking up an asteroid only makes the problem worse by taking what would be single impact and spreading out into what amounts to a giant cosmic shotgun blast that could do many times more damage. Far better to redirect or capture the asteroid.

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2 replies
Mike Keefer brosnecks April 23 2014 at 11:42 PM

If you break it up into small enough pieces before it enters the atmosphere, the vast majority of those pieces will not even reach the ground.
But, you got to know what you are shooting at. About 92% of the small asteroids are C type. Just common rock and will break up easily. That is the what blew up near Chelyabinsk. You do not even need a warhead to break up a city buster, if is one of those. Just collide with it, should do the job.
The S type are a mixture of iron-nickel metal and silicate minerals. They are a lot tougher and more likely to actually impact These are pretty rare .
Then there are the M type. The M stands for metal. Basically they are a chunk of iron with veins of nickel iron alloy. They WILL impact. They are not likely to be blown apart. Ever try to blow apart a ball bearing? Fortunately, they are somewhat rare about 5%.

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brmonte brosnecks April 24 2014 at 12:58 AM

How do you capture a asteroid ? I cant even capture my cat to go to the vets.

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blanketyblankblank April 23 2014 at 6:58 PM

we will kill ourselves off long before an asteroid will

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kvnsdrm April 23 2014 at 6:46 PM

If anyone reads think about this. Say you are walking down the street. You know a truck is coming down the street around the corner because you can hear it, You cannot see it yet but you know its coming. So you get to the corner and what do you do?

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pboucard50 kvnsdrm April 23 2014 at 7:23 PM

Lay down in the middle of the street, because your chances for survival are greater. The truck driver may like to drive on the sidewalks.

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cigary43 April 23 2014 at 10:59 PM

Yessss.....don't we have anything else to scare us lately...let's talk about Pat Robertons latest statement that was about as moronic as it comes...a window that could be in the next week to 1000 years...yeah, WTG Pat...way to really narrow it down and making the rest of the true Christians look like we don't have a clue. Pat....time to retire and step down from being a nutcase.

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James cigary43 April 23 2014 at 11:27 PM

Don't be so hasty about prophecy didn't you read where God also used a Jackass, to talk to a prophet, and stop him from walking into an angel that could have very well killed him. Human nature sometimes fails to see the truth even when its slapping them in the face. If we took Bible learning as the only means of assuring ourselves that what God says through humanity. Is what " God says " and not humanity. Then we would understand, that when God speaks, " it shortly comes to pass ". So in saying that, Pat Robertson's prophecy having a " window " of now to whenever. Seems some what out of sync with what we are taught by God through scripture. When Jesus assured His disciples, if they would wait on the promise of God, which they heard from Jesus. That God would give them His Holy Spirit, shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven. That prophecy came to pass almost immediately and still holds to truth today. But allowing ourselves to be drawn in to prophecies that stretch on and on. God says those prophets are not of Him and speak from a presumptuous spirit Deuteronomy Ch. 18 verses 18-20. That we do not have to be afraid of what they say......but there is also another Christian prophet, Efrain Rodriguez who is prophesying that a meteor is going to strike Port Rico with a 1000 foot tidal wave, sending a massive wall of water all the way to the United States, even 100 miles inland. Lots of talk being stirred up about meteorites and things falling from the space. We'll just wait and see...when it happens just shout Hallelujah your Redeemer lives, amen?

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Wayne McGlothlin April 24 2014 at 1:28 AM

Just more scare mongering. Does anyone realize the minute chance of a direct hit on a city on Earth?

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2 replies
eeverettm Wayne McGlothlin April 24 2014 at 2:28 AM

Then explain why fema is storing up body bags and plastic coffins in certain places? I guess the joke will be on you scoffer.

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1 reply
bessiekned eeverettm April 24 2014 at 4:39 AM

A reasonable explanation has been given why there are many of these items being warehoused at
locations near major shipping facilities. BESSIEKNED

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hccbillandpat Wayne McGlothlin April 24 2014 at 4:27 AM


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GARY110252 April 24 2014 at 3:34 AM

I welcome a massive, destructive asteroid...as long as it hits the Middle East! Terrorist problem solved!

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aloha! GARY110252 April 24 2014 at 4:15 AM

you cannot be so ignorant are you? The biggest terrorist in history have been the "american" first they killed all the indians then took over Hawaii then proceded to use the Cia to commint the worse possible deeds in other country...please check yout history!

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2 replies
hccbillandpat aloha! April 24 2014 at 4:24 AM


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arn1951 aloha! April 24 2014 at 4:54 AM

Please check your history, you are a total moran. Your people have been torturing, enslaving and killing their neighbors and even their own kind, since recorded history! But after slaughtering so many hundreds of thousands over the years, it wasn't enough for you **** for brains and so you now have to spread your blood letting to the rest of the world! Of course anyone who doesn't think like you, or have the same religious beliefs as you, or isn't from the same country as you, or from the same tribe, or who looks at another mans wife or any of a million other made up rules you clowns come up with, is deserving of death right? I can see God looking down on all of you with a Ak-47 in one hand and a machette in the other just waiting for you to appear in front of him at judgement time! He'll have a big smile on his face as he shoots out you knee caps, lets you suffer for a while and then chops off your worthless head, thinking to himself how he could have ever made such a worthless excuse of a human being!

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JOHN COLE April 24 2014 at 4:45 AM


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al pambuena April 23 2014 at 6:00 PM

I learned this back in the 50's in school.....so far there has been no knew facts other than not if but when. everybody thinks that the earth is some entity that is separate from the rest of the solar system, but in reality we are just part of a massive unknown system, that we have no control of, including the weather or other catastrophies.....so just live your life the best you can, and hope for the best.

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myallyjohn April 23 2014 at 5:58 PM

Not much on the extremists or the pacifists but there is a lot of what I believe to be the truth in a lot of the comments, the government announcing it would cause mass panic, any watch dog would be most likely ignored for one reason or another no matter what the credibility... I have noticed several things in the last two years that gave me reason to reflect for a moment though. Just little things that combined are enough to make anyone wonder, enough to make me pay a little more attention than that... There is no way of being sure for the average suburban family or average citizen if you will... But whatever is coming, be it a serious social unrest, a natural disaster that is earth bound, or some celestial inbound event believe it is already known to some, and categorically denied by the same. Anybody remember the old EBS tests on T.V.? How long has it been since you've seen one? Then just eighteen months ago that ad with the family where the house turns over... "In case your world was to be turned up side down" emergency preparedness kit thing starts running. Who knows if any will survive "IT" or even want to, but for sure those who are not prepared are through and those who are unarmed will simply have been preparing the necessities for those who are, what will you do? No matter what my personal beliefs are or what yours are or what you think or say about this post.. I wish you and yours well and may whomever your God may be or whatever gives you strength be with you...

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qu13tryan April 24 2014 at 5:20 AM

I thought there was a defense system already in place for asteroids? Now were saying massive rocks are more likely to hit? Hmmm.... Sounds fishy?

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1 reply
ferrariqx qu13tryan April 24 2014 at 7:26 AM

Obviously, you thought wrong.

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