The Economics of Impacts

Meteor Crater in Arizona
Meteor Crater in Arizona is one of the youngest impact craters on Earth. Something like this will happen again.
I'm happy to have people forward articles and links to me that they think I might be interested in. That is, from people who already know what I'm interested in. Thankfully, I only have a couple of relatives that send me jokes; they no longer send me e-mail warnings and "amazing but true" stories (not since telling them about snopes.com).

NASA astronomer David Morrison occasionally sends out an e-newsletter called "NEO News," which offers news and commentary about near-Earth objects — the comets and asteroids that can threaten our planet. Yesterday he forwarded a brief, but well-written article, from the online arm of The Economist, a magazine that I would otherwise never read.

At some point the threat of asteroids will sink in enough to make a difference. An appropriate wake-up call would help: not another made-for-Sci-Fi-Channel disaster movie, but a significant crater-making event on the Moon in full view of everyone on Earth.

3 thoughts on “The Economics of Impacts

  1. Stephen

    The Shoemaker Levy 9 comet crashing into Jupiter was a wakeup call. How much more could you want? We had plenty of prediction time, with an accurate outcome. The local planetarium set up scopes for live public viewing! If we aren’t awake now, or worse, if we’ve fallen asleep already, we’re in deep trouble.

    Of interest are attempts to get video recordings of small flashes on the Moon. Two scopes with time-synced cameras ensure that a flash isn’t just camera noise. Some 50+ events have been recorded to date. Cool opportunity for backyard observers.

    It has been estimated that an astronaut on Mars for ten years would be highly likely to hear an impact event. Astronomy by ear. Hey, it works for birds.

    The linking of the 298 Baptistina family to the K/T event 65 million years ago should also be a wakeup call. The collision event created lots of potential rocks. Though the strikes are waning, it’s not zero yet. But hey, the K/T event was good for us right? And if one was good, two is better!

    All that, and you want a showy lunar impact? I’d like to believe that we’re smarter than that. Cynically, it’ll take an Earth impact. Or maybe even that’s not enough. After all, we have recorded interviews with first hand witnesses of the Tunguska event. And the shock wave circled the Earth twice… Perhaps it should have struck New York.

    Maybe Lloyd’s of London will insure us against the end of the world. How does one collect on that claim?

  2. Jim Willey

    I just bought my first telescope about a week ago. I was looking for the next near miss object and discovered that 2007 VD12 will be approaching the Earth for the next few days. It appears it should be visible. I was wondering if you had any information concerning this. And if so, when and where can we get a look.

    Jim

  3. Jim Willey

    I just bought my first telescope about a week ago. I was looking for the next near miss object and discovered that 2007 VD12 will be approaching the Earth for the next few days. It appears it should be visible. I was wondering if you had any information concerning this. And if so, when and where can we get a look.

    Jim

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