Asteroid Affirmative

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Huge Asteroids on the way

The next major predicted asteroid isn’t as rare or as far off as people think. It has the potential to hit in 2036.

Bucknam and Gold in 08 [Mark and Robert “Survival” (00396338); Oct/Nov2008, Vol. 50 Issue 5, p141-156, 16p PN]

On 13 April 2029, an asteroid the size of 50 US Navy supercarriers and weighing 200 times as much as the USS Enterprise will hurtle past the Earth at 45,000 kilometres per hour – missing by a mere 32,000km, closer to Earth than the 300 or so communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit. In astronomical terms it will be a very near miss. The asteroid, called 99942 Apophis, is named after an ancient Egyptian god of destruction: for several months after it was discovered in 2004, scientists were concerned that Apophis might strike the Earth. It still might, though not in 2029. If, on its close approach in 2029, Apophis passes through what is known as a ‘gravitational keyhole’, its orbit will be perturbed so as to cause it to hit the Earth in 2036 – striking with an energy equivalent to 400 megatonnes of TNT. Although the chances of a 2036 impact are judged to be just one in 45,000, it is unnerving to recall that until just a few years ago, Apophis was completely unknown to mankind, and that similarly sized asteroids have silently shot past Earth in recent years, only to be discovered after the fact.
Current observational techniques aren’t adequate – especially for the oncoming potential impact in 2036.

Królikowska et al. 09 [Małgorzata; Sitarski, Grzegorz; Sołtan, Andrzej M. Space Researchers at Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society”; Nov2009, Vol. 399 Issue 4, p1964-1976, 13p, 5 Charts, 9 Graphs PN]

Although the motion of Apophis can be well predicted before its deep close encounter with the Earth on 2029 April 13, the present observations are not adequate to eliminate definitely the possibility of impact with the Earth in 2036 and in many years following this, even in a fully ballistic model. It seems that the seven available radar measurements are not crucial at present for the nominal orbit determination, although historically they were important for indicating that the pre-discovery observations of 2004 March were biased by some systematic errors. It is important to stress that future radar observations will be important to draw conclusions concerning impacts in 2036 and impacts following 2036. In the present paper we inspected the optical astrometric observational material carefully. Our best solution for the passage on 2029 April 13 gives a geocen- tric encounter distance of 6.065 ± 0.081 R⊕ (without perturbations from asteroids, model E) or 6.064 ± 0.095 R⊕ (including perturbations from the four largest asteroids, model E′). Both values are in excellent agreement with the results obtained by Giorgini et al. (2008).

Asteroid Impact  Biological Destruction

An asteroid impact would cause long term physical, chemical, and biological destruction

Chapman No Date (Clark R. , planetary scientist, first editor of Journal of Geophysical Research- Planets, PhD MIT, The asteroid impact hazard and interdisciplinary issues,, Google Scholar, NC)

The energetic interactions of an impacting NEA with the atmosphere, ocean, and land generate various immediate, secondary, and perhaps long-term effects -- physical, chemical, and perhaps biological. The most thorough evaluation of the environmental physical and chemical consequences of impacts is by Toon et al. (1997); more recent research, summarized by the SDT (2003), has begun to elucidate the previously poorly understood phenomena of impact-generated tsunami. I now briefly describe the chief environmental effects, for impacts of NEAs >300 m diameter: * Total destruction in the crater zone: No structure or macroscopic life form would survive being in or adjacent to the explosion crater, a region roughly 30 times the size of the projectile (falling ejecta could be lethal over far greater distances). * Tsunami: Flooding of historic proportions along proximate ocean shores would be caused by a >300 m impact, but run-up is highly variable depending on shore topography. An extinction-level impact (by a 10-15 km NEA) could inundate low-lying regions adjacent to oceans worldwide. (There is considerable debate and uncertainty about the scale and character of impact-caused tsunami.) * Stratospheric dust obscures sunlight: 300 m impacts would cause noticeable but relatively minor effects similar to those of the largest volcanic explosions (e.g. the "year without summer" caused by the 1815 explosion of Tambora). For a >2 km NEA impact, sunlight would drop to "very cloudy days" nearly worldwide, threatening global food supplies by cessation of agriculture due to prolonged summertime freezing temperatures. Severe immediate effects (permanent "night" globally) and possible catastrophic long-term climate oscillations result from an extinction-level impact. * Fires ignited by fireball and/or re-entering ejecta: Even the Tunguska impact, which did not reach the ground, caused trees to burn in the center of the zone where trees were toppled. But fires are of only local-to-regional importance even for a >2 km impact that would have global climate effects due to dust. In an extinction-level event, the broiling of the entire surface of our planet by re-entering ejecta -- and the resulting global firestorm -- would be the chief immediate cause of general death of plants and animals on land. * Poisoning of the biosphere: Immediate atmospheric effects (sulfate production, injection of water into the stratosphere, destruction of the ozone layer, production of nitric acid, etc.) and subsequent poisoning of lakes and oceans augment the effects of stratospheric dust for a >2 km impact and dramatically worsen the already hellish conditions created by an extinction-level impact. (Birks, at this meeting, suggests that destruction of the ozone layer might be caused by an NEA as small as 0.5 km.) * Earthquakes: Although local-to-global earthquakes (in response to the cratering explosion of various sized NEAs) would be serious if considered in isolation, they are minor compared with other more damaging and lethal consequences listed above.

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