Then I saw this:

Courtesy oif Dynamics of Cats:

If you have any questions about this, don’t ask me, as him.


  1. #1 Wolter
    August 28, 2010

    Seeing more of them does not make them any more dangerous (or less that is). Furthermore the size of each dot in this movie grosly over exaggerate there presence.
    We do need to pay attention to them. But the changes of anything big hitting in our livetime… I won’t place any bet on it 😉

  2. #2 Russell
    August 28, 2010

    The fascinating thing about that is that one can identify earth just by watching where the zones of discovery are. And that some technology change must have happened about 2009 or 2010 that caused the zone of discovery to extend tangential to earth’s orbit, as well as outward from it.

  3. #3 Left_Wing_Fox
    August 28, 2010

    Well, fortunately it looks like 99942 Apophis is looking increasingly unlikely to be a future danger. The number of them out there is intimidating for sure, but its nice to know were getting much better at spotting them now. 🙂

  4. #4 Eric
    August 28, 2010

    I think we should just try a different orbit, maybe a right angle to the one we are using now.

  5. #5 cromercrox
    August 28, 2010

    Console yourself that if you don’t feel safe on Earth, it’s hardly better anywhere else.

  6. #6 Joshua Zelinsky
    August 28, 2010

    Russell, I’m not sure but I think that’s due to the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer which was launched in December of 2009. WISE is also responsible for finding about a hundred some odd asteroids that are in orbits that actually might pose a danger.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    August 28, 2010

    And that some technology change must have happened about 2009 or 2010 that caused the zone of discovery to extend tangential to earth’s orbit, as well as outward from it.

    In the past decade several governments (including the USA, FWIW) have gotten serious about funding the search for earth-crossers and the Internet has made it much more efficient. An observatory in the Eastern Hemisphere (using loads of image collection and image processing) can spot a potential earth-crosser and notify a network of other observatories around the world. They in turn refine the orbital observations using fast-tracking telescopes and comparing results to refine the data.

    Way cool stuff — I got the pitch on a tour of Magdalena Ridge Observatory a couple of years ago. Freaky watching a 2.4 meter mirror track faster than I can swing a joystick.

  8. #8 Pierce R. Butler
    August 28, 2010

    Before watching that, I used to not worry about Venus hitting the Earth.

  9. #9 doug l
    August 28, 2010

    Makes the possible threat from CO2 generated warming seem almost innocuous. Fortunately we can do a lot to fix that carbon combustion emissions problem AND the asteroid threat if we commit to a commercial heavy launch program, sooner like with a project-manhatten style R&D program, maybe. And by doing that we will likewise be able to create space based solar energy systems that will make all combustion processes for energy generation seem like wood fired boilers and and shadoofs; nice but we have the technology to do better. A high efficiency heavy launch system is the weak link to commercial and permanent science research in space in a robust way. That ISS..ugh..what an expensive headache whose purpose undoubtedly was to prove we could do a lot better when we go bigger. Now’s the time; it’s raining soup.

  10. #10 Anne H
    August 29, 2010

    I’m pleased to share something I found while helping my son with homework –
    The Earth Impact Effects Program

    It asks you for a few parameters – Distance from Impact, Projectile Diameter, Projectile Density {Icy Comet, Ferrous Meteor, Rocky Asteroid?}, Impact Velocity, Impact Angle, and whether it hits water, sedimentary rock or crystalline rock.

    It then tells you the results of the impact, including the effects on your given location.

  11. #11 Thomas
    August 29, 2010

    Don’t worry about asteroids as we are pretty good at charting their orbits to see if any is going to hit Earth in the next century or so. Worry about comets, they come as a surprise with little warning and higher speed.

  12. #12 Marion Delgado
    August 29, 2010


    Technically, all things being equal, it’d be safer to live on Mars. Or the Moon, but then you have to deal with all Earth’s asteroid collision bulls__t.

  13. #13 Simon
    August 29, 2010

    That is a cool video…but that does scare me. We might need to send Bruce Willis up to save us.

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    August 29, 2010

    Marion: Yeah, but , when the sun blows up, you want to be farther away. I’ll stick with earth.

  15. #15 Sharon Astyk
    August 29, 2010

    Can we just send Bruce Willis up anyway, as kind of a preventative ;-)? At worst, we’re down one Bruce Willis.


  16. #16 Marius
    August 30, 2010

    The asteroids capable of causing a global disaster if they hit the Earth are extremely rare. They probably would need to be about a kilometer or more in diameter. Such bodies impact the Earth only once every 100,000 years on average. Other objects of a similar size, such as comets, impact even less frequently, perhaps once every 500,000 years or so.