Space missiles
January 23rd, 2013
10:24 AM ET

Don't count 'doomsday asteroid' out yet

Editor's note: Greg Bear is an internationally bestselling science-fiction author of many books, including "Moving Mars," "Darwin's Radio" and "Hull Zero Three." As a freelance journalist, he covered 10 years of the Voyager missions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Look up at our nearest neighbor, the moon, and you'll see stark evidence of the dangerous neighborhood we live in. The Man in the Moon was sculpted by large-scale events, including many meteor and asteroid impacts.

In 1994, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 dove into Jupiter. The result was awesome. The impact caused a brilliant flash, visible in Earth telescopes, and left an ugly dark scar on Jupiter's cold, gaseous surface.

With the recent fly-by of a 1,000-foot-wide asteroid labeled 99942 Apophis, one of a class of space rocks referred to as "near-Earth objects" or "Earth-grazers," scientists have revised their worst estimates of its chances of striking Earth. Current thinking is: We're safe. For the next couple of decades.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. LAST DAY

    The Doomsday is fast approaching! Wake up, be prepared;
    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    January 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  2. panthersofamerica

    Earth is bound to be hit again with a huge asteroid. I just hope I'm not around when it happens again.🙂

    January 28, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  3. MandoZink

    At first I thought Image No 8 was an artist's concept of the intergalactic DC-8's that Xenu sent to earth 75 million years ago to drop aliens into volcanos. At least the illustration WAS from science-fiction – just not L.Ron Hubbard's.

    January 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  4. j

    Looking at Google Earth, it seems like our oceans fly into orbit whenever one of these bigger rocks hit, which would explain riverbeds and deltas under our oceans, and ice ages; No doubt that an orbiting ocean would cast a shadow. The old testament concurs regarding a great flood, probably when it fell back to Earth. Do you agree?

    January 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • j

      Oceans falling from decaying orbits explains much of earth's surface geology, including obscured cratering, btw:

      Why is NASA being funded after abandoning and continuing to abandon the scientific method for human space exploration? Any mice hungry for green cheese? What about astronouts stuck 200 miles up in the ISS; Our atmosphere goes out 100,000 miles out above sea level. We send probes everywhere; Not mice, canines nor anything that confirms we are using the scientific method to colonise outer space. We never landed on the moon with people, pets nor even a mouse that might like green cheese. Research Layka, Luna 24 and why the ISS is only ~200 miles above sea level, while Earth's atmosphere extends for 100,000 miles above the sea. Cold war propaganda had a reason then; What about us today?

      January 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • bobcat

      Wow, you are all kinds of stupid. You would fail 4th grade science. Asteroids would evaporate water not throw it into space, which begins 62 miles up.

      January 25, 2013 at 12:08 am |
      • j

        I did not, I carefully filled in 'no planets around other stars' on my Scantron answer sheet with my #2 pencil, and passed my science classes. Did you have to do this too to pass science class?

        February 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • j was censored on CNN, multiple comments never posted par let's golf

        I wonder if this comment will post And whether it'll be muted later. Constructive thoughts Mute to change, amorphous. That is without a constant shape; Not written in stone so to say. Have a good day.

        February 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • WarMachine99

      What a waste of sperm and egg.

      February 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

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