Anorak News | Between A Rock & A Hard Place

Between A Rock & A Hard Place

by | 7th, December 2005

‘LOOK out! Oops. We did warn you. But you failed to heed our words and now you are no more..

Slough looks forward to its new landmark

But even if you had have acted, what could you have done to avoid the 390-metre wide asteroid hurtling through space on a collision course with you, your home, your car and your planet?

As the Guardian reports, should the asteroid, named Apophis after the ancient Egyptian spirit of evil and destruction, hit Earth, the impact would release over 100,000 times the energy produced in the nuclear explosion over Hiroshima.

This is not entirely comforting news. And the paper reports that there is very little time to decide on the best course of action. The rock is set to arrive in 2036.

As Monica Grady, an expert in meteorites at the Open University explains: “It’s a question of when, not if, a near Earth object collides with Earth… We are overdue for a big one.”

And Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer based at Queen’s University Belfast, is more precise. He says that if Apohpis passes through a so-called key-hole in space on April 13 2029 it will collide with us.

Which brings us back to our original question: what can we do, other than panic and cash in our pensions and supermarket reward points?

The Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency are designing a range of satellites and rockets to deflect asteroids away from Earth.

One other cunning plan is to chuck a spacecraft at it. Although Prof Fitzsimmons, the voice of doom, notes the danger of smashing the bigger rock to bits and so creating lots of boulders to rain down on our heads.

Which could be terrible. Imagine if one hit Slough!’

Posted: 7th, December 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink