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In the impulsive category, the use of a nuclear device was found to be the most effective means to deflect a PHO. Because of the large amount of energy delivered, nuclear devices would require the least amount of detailed information about the threatening object, reducing the need for detailed characterization. While detonation of a nuclear device on or below the surface of a threatening object was found to be 10-100 times more efficient than detonating a nuclear device above the surface, the standoff detonation would be less likely to fragment the target. A nuclear standoff mission could be designed knowing only the orbit and approximate mass of the threat, and missions could be carried out incrementally to reach the required amount of deflection. Additional information about the object’s mass and physical properties would perhaps increase the effectiveness, but likely would not be required to accomplish the goal. It should be noted that because of restrictions found in Article IV of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, use of a nuclear device would likely require prior international coordination. The study team also examined conventional explosives, but found they were ineffective against most threats.
An unprecedented asteroid scare in January had astronomers worried for a few hours over a rock that had a 1-in-4 chance of hitting Earth during the next few days. At the time, some of the scientists were unsure who should be notified. The event has prompted NASA to set up a formal process for notifying top officials in the future of any impending impacts, SPACE.com has learned.
The object was thought to be relatively small. At the time, astronomers estimated it was 100 feet (30 meters) wide. Were a rock that size to target Earth, scientists aren't sure what would happen. Something slightly smaller would probably explode brilliantly but harmlessly in the atmosphere, theory predicts. Something slightly larger could explode closer to the ground and devastate an area the size of a small city.
At 7:15am on June 30, 1908, a blue-white fireball flew over the remote region of central Siberia near the Stony Tunguska River and exploded with the force of a 10- to 15- megaton hydrogen bomb. The explosion wiped out approximately 60 million trees across an area of 2,000 square kilometers. Witnesses from hundreds of miles away saw an immense pillar of fire and heard thundering claps. Those closest to the blast were deafened by the noise and knocked off their feet when the thermal wave swept through the area. Miraculously, no one was killed.
In the Electric Universe view, any object coming far from the earth will carry a different charge. As it encounters lower layers of the Earth's plasma sheath, the voltage between the object and the layer could abruptly increase and the object begin to visibly discharge.
At first it would be surrounded by a “glow discharge”, a diffuse luminescence similar to St. Elmo’s fire or to high-altitude “elves”. As the voltage rises, the discharge would jump to “arc” mode and the object would become an electrode at the focus of upper-atmospheric charge. At this point material would begin to ablate in a sputtering process as well as from velocity-caused air friction.
If the current flow becomes too extreme, capacitive discharges within the meteor will cause a violent outburst of electricity with sudden bright flashes. The meteor is now called a "bolide," or flaring meteor.
There are particular difficulties with extreme events, which can affect several countries, while the largest events can have global consequences. The hazards of supervolcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts could cause global disaster with threats to civilization and deaths of billions of people. Although these are very rare events, they will happen and require consideration. More frequent and smaller events in the wrong place at the wrong time could have very large human, environmental and economic effects. A sustained effort is needed to identify places at risk and take steps to apply science before the events occur.
Originally posted by 1Angrylightbulb
All of these asteroids flying by us recently got me thinking what if this is an alien race's attempt to either attack us or test our defensive capabilities.
Originally posted by Moserious
Also, if something of this size was coming right at earth would it burn up in the atmosphere or not? I am guessing that it depends on what it's made of, but what size asteroids are dangerous? 88 feet seems kinda big but I want to know what size asteroid may not "burn up". Basically, is there a size threshold for being dangerous?