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Asteroid Insurance

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posted on Jul, 13 2003 @ 09:49 PM
This is pretty funny and kind of serious at the same time. There is alot of things that should be done about this but also on a world scale. Here is the artical. ts

If the link's doesnt work here is the whole story.

Concerned Citizens Ask for Congressional Action on Near Earth Objects
Thu Jul 10, 9:34 AM ET

By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer,

A distinguished group of Americans joined together to send a unique request to Congressional leaders Wednesday -- a request that preparations be made to deal with the prospect of Earth being slammed by an asteroid or comet.

In an "Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects," the communication underscores the danger our planet faces from near Earth objects, also termed NEO's.

The letter has been sent to President Bush (news - web sites) and his cabinet, the Secretary General of the United Nations (news - web sites) and to leaders around the globe.

Included among those that urged action on the NEO issue were: Apollo 17 Astronaut, Harrison Schmitt; Neil Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium; Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus of Princeton University; Lucy Ann McFadden, NEO scientist at the University of Maryland; New York University professor and author, William Burrows; John Lewis, a scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson; and Thomas Jones, former astronaut and veteran of four shuttle missions.

Potentially devastating threat

"We write to you today as concerned citizens, convinced that the time has come for our nation to address comprehensively the impact threat from asteroids and comets," the letter begins.

The overall aim of the Open Letter is start a process to educate national leadership about the real threat posed by worrisome comets and asteroids that can approach Earth:

"A growing body of scientific evidence shows that some of these celestial bodies, also known as Near Earth Objects (NEOs), pose a potentially devastating threat of collision with Earth, capable of causing widespread destruction and loss of life. The largest such impacts can not only threaten the survival of our nation, but even that of civilization itself."

Three step effort

The letter urges U.S. lawmakers to take a series of three steps, thereby shaping a coordinated program to deal with the impact threat:

Step 1: NEO Detection - Expand and enhance this nation's capability to detect and to determine the orbits and physical characteristics of NEOs.
Step 2: NEO Exploration - Expand robotic exploration of asteroids and Earth-approaching comets and direct that U.S. astronauts again leave low-Earth orbit this time to further explore certain NEOs in deep space for information required to develop an effective capability to deflect an NEO should we learn that one threatens life on Earth.
Step 3: NEO Contingency Planning - Initiate comprehensive contingency planning for deflecting any NEO found to pose a potential threat to Earth. In parallel, plan to meet the disaster relief needs created by an impending or actual NEO impact. U.S. government/private sector planning should invite international cooperation in addressing the problems of NEO detection, potential hazards and actual impacts. This step also advocates establishment of an Interagency NEO Task Force to address the NEO Impact Threat. This Task Force should be composed of senior representatives from appropriate government agencies.

Insurance policy

Resources committed to the NEO work have been very modest, an enclosure to the Open Letter declares, "and not commensurate with the potential threat." What is warranted is additional investment in search programs, deemed by the letter's supporters as both "appropriate and prudent."

A dramatic improvement in the rate at which asteroids and comets are discovered would likely result if the United States were to increase the current level of funding, now at about $3.5 million per year, to at least $20 million annually, the letter's enclosure explains.

The Open Letter concludes: "For the first time in human history, we have the potential to protect ourselves from a catastrophe of truly cosmic proportions."

"We cannot rely on statistics alone to protect us from catastrophe; such a strategy is like refusing to buy fire insurance because blazes are infrequent. Our country simply cannot afford to wait for the first modern occurrence of a devastating NEO impact before taking steps to adequately address this threat."

Prudent approach

A leader in scripting the NEO Open letter is former shuttle astronaut, Thomas Jones. He is a veteran space traveler of shuttle missions, STS-59, 68, 80, and 98.

Contacted by, Jones said he is hopeful that the Open Letter stirs Congress to take action. But he is also realistic.

"It may very well take an impact to shake things up and make the government act," Jones said. "But since it's a basic responsibility of government to provide for the common defense, and since that mission is spread over many agencies, we thought that Congress is the right body to address the hazard, and to direct a joint approach."

If Congress takes no action, Jones said that he and the other supporters hope the President will act in response.

"It seems no one agency desires to take the lead on this, but since many have roles to play, from Homeland Security to Defense to NASA (news - web sites), our hope is that Congress can direct a concerted plan of action," Jones told

"We already devote taxpayer funds to disaster preparedness in advance of other natural hazards, and so we call for a similar, prudent approach to studying and countering the impact hazard," Jones concluded.

posted on Jul, 13 2003 @ 10:29 PM
Forget asteroids, what is being done about the situation at Yellow Stone. Yellow Stone sits over what is known as a super volcano which erupts around every 600,000 years. The last eruption was 630,000 years ago. When a super volcano erupts, the pyroplastic flow can and will kill up to a range of 600 to 800 miles. Use search with "super volcano" to learn more.

posted on Jul, 13 2003 @ 11:19 PM

Indeed you are correct, Super Volcanos are a serious threat. And, the USGS has addressed them in the past, and continues to do so, on a much muted scale unfortunatley. Part of this comes from the incident at Mammoth Lake Caldera.

In the 1980s, the USGS issued an eruption alert for Mammoth Lake Caldera. However, then, as now, accuracy for such predictions is not the best in the world. The time frame for the eruption was anywhere from tomorrow to 50,000 years from now (litterally). However, the eruption alert DID cause property values in a very lucrative market to plummet, and the USGS was hit with numerous lawsuits.

From there on, the USGS has been very very conservative with any such forecasts.

It is little known that lying underneath one of The United States largest and most picturesque National Parks - Yellowstone Park - is one of the largest "super volcanoes" in the world.

The term "supervolcano" has no specifically defined scientific meaning. It was used by the producers of The BBC TV show Horizion in 2000 to refer to volcanoes that have generated Earth's largest volcanic eruptions. As such, a supervolcano would be one that has produced an exceedingly large, catastrophic explosive eruption and a giant caldera.

Scientists have revealed that Yellowstone Park has been on a regular eruption cycle of 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years agoso the next is overdue. The next eruption could be 2,500 times the size of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Volcanologists have been tracking the movement of magma under the park and have calculated that in parts of Yellowstone the ground has risen over seventy centimeters this century.

Around the world there are several other volcanic areas that can be considered "supervolcanoes"- Long Valley in eastern California, Toba in Indonesia, and Taupo in New Zealand. Other "supervolcanoes" would likely include the large caldera volcanoes of Japan, Indonesia, Alaska (e.g. Aniakchak, Emmons, Fisher).

But back to point about asteroids, they are also a serious threat that needs to be addressed. Although Super Volcanoes can indeed cause widespread destruction, comets and asteriods can literrally sterilize the entire planet.

[Edited on 14-7-2003 by dragonrider]

posted on Jul, 13 2003 @ 11:20 PM

posted on Jul, 13 2003 @ 11:59 PM
Well Dragonrider, a super volcano eruption will still be your basic disaster of Biblical proportions. On one of the super volcano sites, I saw where the last eruption (about 72,000 years ago) left only 2000 to 3000 humans left on the planet. Basically earth is just a small target for asteroirds. Indeed an astreoird hit would be a disaster. However a super volcano eruption would do as much damage as an asteroid hit and I feel a more likely scenario for massive destruction. By the way the information you posted was very nice.

posted on Jul, 14 2003 @ 12:05 AM
Well Dragonrider, a super volcano eruption will still be your basic disaster of Biblical proportions. On one of the super volcano sites, I saw where the last eruption (about 72,000 years ago) left only 2000 to 3000 humans left on the planet. Posted by Jagdflieger

Could you post that link?? I would love to see this.

I dont doubt the date or the extent of damage, but I do think that leaving only 2000-3000 humans alive is a bit of a stretch. Humans, even in the most primative of stages (and this would be in the Neanderthal era, although they did show remarkable survival traits in extremely hostile conditions) have been able to adapt to extreme environmental conditions and still come out alive.

2000-3000 is about the absolute minimum required population to enable repopulation of the planet. In addition, I dont think that 72K years would be sufficient time to repopulate and reach the level of technical advance that we have, especially when you take into account the vast ethnic diversification we have gone through.

posted on Jul, 14 2003 @ 12:32 AM
Here are some:

Now people know why I will not be visiting Yellow Stone.

I was wrong, it was 75,000 years ago.

posted on Jul, 14 2003 @ 12:38 AM
I was wrong, it was 75,000 years ago Posted by Jagdflieger


Eh, 3000 years in geologic terms is about like flipping a page in a book.

Thanks for the links!

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