Friday, February 22, 2013

WNWO-TV adds to local coverage of Russian meteor

In Coverage of the meteor on the local news, I included clips from three of the four local and regional stations I follow on YouTube, WXYZ in Detroit, WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, and WCPO in Cincinnati.  Today, the fourth one, WNWO-TV in Toledo, finally added its take on the event in Local reaction to meteorite dangers.

People's eyes are to the skies following the cosmic collision in Russia when a meteorite blew up in the day time skies on Friday.

This has raised the question of just how safe are we from meteors and asteroids hurdling towards earth.
Adam Mann of Wired details one way of moving Earth-crossing objects so they don't collide with us in How to Deflect Killer Asteroids With Spray Paint
A fresh paint job might be all that’s needed to prevent a giant asteroid from raining destruction upon our planet.

Though strange-sounding, the strategy would make use of a real-world phenomenon known as the Yarkovsky effect, named for the Russian engineer who discovered it in 1902. The effect results from the fact that asteroids heat up as they bask in the sun’s light.

“The coat of paint would be a very thin, almost like a Saran Wrap layer,” said aerospace engineer David Hyland of Texas A&M, who leads a team that has been studying this method for several years. “If we push it in the right direction, we can get the asteroid to cease crossing Earth’s orbit and completely eliminate the threat.”
That qualifies as an answer to the reporter's query about non-Bruce Willis/Deep Impact ways of solving the problem, one I'm all in favor of.  As I wrote over at Kunstler's blog Monday:
There are more ways for civilization to end than resource depletion and pollution, and an asteroid impact is one of them. Just in case modern technological civilization does survive the Long Emergency, preparing for such an event might be a good idea.

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