Kibitzing Kitchen Table, November 5, 2022: Preparing for Calamity

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As explained in Live Science:

A “planet killer” asteroid lurking in the sun’s glare has finally been detected, and the giant space rock could one day crash into Earth.

The ‘potentially dangerous’ 0.9-mile-wide (1.5 kilometer) asteroid, named 2022 AP7, is one of many large space rocks that astronomers have recently discovered near the orbits of Earth and Venus.

Currently, 2022 AP7 crosses Earth’s orbit while our planet is on the other side of the Sunbut scientists say that over thousands of years, the asteroid and Earth will slowly begin to cross the same point closer to each other, increasing the chances of a catastrophic impact.

According to New York Times:

Astronomers searching for modest-sized asteroids that could vaporize a city or larger beasts that could sterilize Earth’s surface have spotted a potential new threat. But there is no immediate need for concern – it will be many generations before it poses a danger to our planet.

The probability of an impact by 2022 AP7 with earth in the foreseeable future is very low:

“There is an extremely low probability of an impact in the foreseeable future,” said Tracy Beckera planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute who was not involved in the study.

But the gravitational pull of objects around the solar system – including our own planet – ensures that asteroids passing through Earth don’t always dance the same way. Asteroid 2022 AP7 is no exception. “Over time, this asteroid will get brighter and brighter in the sky as it begins to cross Earth’s orbit closer and closer to where Earth really is,” Dr Sheppard said.

It’s possible that “down the line, in the next few thousand years, it could become a problem for our descendants,” said Alan Fitzsimmonsan astronomer from Queen’s University Belfast who was not involved in the study.

That 2022 AP7 is so large worries some scientists, including Scott Shepherd, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington DC, who co-authored the study that spotted 2022 AP7.

“It’s what we call a planet killer,” Dr Sheppard said. “If it hit the Earth, it would cause planetary destruction. It would be very bad for life as we know it.

“Very bad” is probably an understatement. But hey, if you really want to worry, compare the coverage in the Hindustan time:

RRecently, scientists made a discovery which can have terrifying consequences for us. A group of researchers have discovered three new asteroids, one of which is described as “potentially dangerous”, orbiting in space between Earth and Venus. While NASA has tracked over 20,000 Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), asteroids were not known to exist in this particular space. And the main reason behind that was the Sun and its shine. These asteroids have the potential to catch us off guard and hit us when we least expect them. And if that happens, not even the DART planetary defense system can save us.

The study about this discovery was published in The Astronomical Journal and used the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) mounted on the 4-meter V�ctor M. Blanco Telescope to the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile to find this frightening space rock. The largest of the three asteroids has been named 2022 AP7. The problem with this particular asteroid is that it is 1.5 kilometers wide. And that big size made it a potential planet killer for us. If it hits Earth, it could spell the end of human civilization.

I guess a lesson to be learned from this is that depending on which news source you believe, either we are doomed or we are not. But it’s probably best to wait for the event to happen before making such assessments. Because if we’re really doomed, then there’s nothing to be done. But if not, there is still time to prepare and plan for contingencies.

On that note, I’m going to watch the Phillies game tonight. Hopefully they can achieve more success this time.

Otherwise, they are doomed.

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