"The Jewish people as a whole will be its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races...and by the establishment of a world republic in which everywhere the Jews will exercise the privilege of citizenship. In this New World Order the Children of Israel...will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition..." (Karl Marx in a letter to Baruch Levy, quoted in Review de Paris, June 1, 1928, p. 574)

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Target Earth

The Second Coming?

The 'Flying Terrorist' heading our way - Flashback July 2008

Updated below

Astronomers are battling to work out the trajectory of an asteroid that will cause havoc if it hits the Earth in 2036. Called Apophis, the giant meteor is hurtling through space at 10km per second. Scientists are warning that an impact would be far more devastating than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of WW2.

At the Zvenigorod Observatory near Moscow, space researchers keep watch on cosmic bodies and study known meteorites to understand their size and inner structure. They are tracking the path of the asteroid Apophis as well. They aim to determine how real the danger is but that will only be clear in a decade's time.

Astronomer Sergey Barabanov explains the predicted course of events: “The critical moment will be in 2029, when Apophis passes so close to Earth that it will be visible to the naked eye. The consequence of this fly-by will tell us whether it will come back again and collide with us in 2036,” he said.

If Apophis passes through a particular point in space called a keyhole the Earth's gravity may change its course for the worst.

In ancient Egypt, Apophis was the spirit of evil and destruction, a snakelike demon determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness. A fitting name, then, for a menace that could potentially cause devastating global damage.

Nasa estimates the blast caused by Apophis would be a 100,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of WW2.

It would also be more destructive than Siberia's Tunguska event of 100 years ago. That is thought to have been caused by a small space rock explosion and this impact is the largest in Earth's recent history. It wreaked havoc on a vast area, wiping out 80 million trees.

Ideas on how to deflect an asteroid range from blowing it up to sending a spacecraft to nudge it off its path.

Anatoly Zaitsev from the Moscow-based Planetary Defence Centre says we need to develop “a planetary protection system.”

“There's no point in discovering these objects if we don't protect ourselves from them. But we also need better observation techniques. As it's difficult to track objects from the ground, I think a space observation platform would be the best option,” Zaitsev said.

Meanwhile, Russia has offered to launch a space probe to plant a radio transmitter on Apophis so its orbit can be more accurately tracked.

Asteroid heading our way - Update

Scientists gather to avert danger of approaching asteroid

Russia's Space Agency is preparing to face the threat of a distant asteroid called Apophis. At more than 300 meters across, it may be capable of causing wide spread destruction on Earth.

The head of the Russian Space agency said that peoples’ lives are at stake and announced that Russia is preparing a mission to deal with Apophis and will invite Americans and Chinese into a ‘dream team’ to take part in the mission, too.

Author and space expert Jeff Manber told RT that Apophis is certainly one of the asteroids astronomer around the world are closely watching, and even though it has been labeled as posing a minor threat, anything could happen to change its trajectory and direct it to Earth.

He shared his opinion that exploding an asteroid of the Apophis size, about 270 meters in diameter, in Hollywood-style is not necessary; it is enough to use a satellite to push it a little bit and change its trajectory.

“We need some sort of international action. People have wondered ‘what do we do with asteroids?’ Jeff Manber said.

“Right now, NASA is not working with China so this would be very interesting to see if, first of all, Russia takes the lead on this, does move forward with the asteroid rescue mission and finally, for the Americans and the Chinese agree to go along. It’s going to be very interesting to watch,” he added.

A Must Watch - I think

See if SCIENCE can stop this:

It sounds like the script of a Hollywood blockbuster, but Russia is considering sending a spacecraft to knock an asteroid off its path and stop a collision with Earth.

The head of the country's space agency, Anatoly Perminov, said a mission was being discussed, and other agencies would be invited to join the project.

Nasa says there is no chance of the 270m (885ft) asteroid Apophis smashing into Earth in its first flyby in 2029, and only a 1-in-250,000 chance of a collision in 2036.

End of the world this century? Nonsense says Nasa, but the Russia Space Agency isn't so sure...

But Mr Perminov insists the asteroid is a potential menace. He was vague about the evidence of a possible hit but said he had heard from a scientists that the asteroid is getting closer.

'I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032,' he said.

Be prepared: Russia's Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov thinks a spacecraft may be needed to knock a large asteroid off its path

'People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people,' Perminov said.

Scientists have long theorised about asteroid deflection strategies.

Some have proposed sending a probe to circle around a dangerous asteroid to gradually change its trajectory. Others suggested sending a spacecraft to collide with the asteroid and alter its momentum, or using nuclear weapons to hit it.

Mr Perminov wouldn't disclose any details of the project, saying they still need to be worked out. But he said the mission wouldn't require any nuclear explosions.

Hollywood action films Deep Impact and Armageddon, have featured space missions scrambling to avoid catastrophic collisions. In both movies space crews use nuclear bombs in an attempt to prevent collisions.

'Calculations show that it's possible to create a special purpose spacecraft within the time we have, which would help avoid the collision without destroying it (the asteroid) and without detonating any nuclear charges,' Mr Perminov said.



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