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Approaching Comet Not a Danger to Earth

By August 24, 2011

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Rumors abound on the internet proclaiming†asteroids and comets are hurtling towards earth, some going so far as to announce, with great certainty, that these approaching balls of ice and rock will usher in the last days of humanity on Earth, perhaps as soon as 2012.

The thing about rumors though is that they tend to be just that, unfounded musings of individuals with little or no training to make such assessments.

Occasionally though there are objects that may pass close enough to Earth to pose a threat, or at least provide some serious atmospheric fireworks.

One such object, a comet dubbed Elenin (known among the scientific community as C/2010 X1), has been found to be on its way to the inner realm of the solar system. Of course rumors began to swirl that this comet could pose a threat to Earth in 2011.

NASA is now saying that while Elenin will indeed pass by Earth this October, the closest it will get is about 22 million miles on the 16th of that month. For perspective, that's more than 88 times farther than the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Not exactly close.

There has been some recent activity were asteroids were passing within the orbit of our only natural satellite, but those objects were small, about the size of a football stadium or less (usually much less). Comet Elenin, on the other hand is about two or three miles in diameter.

Alas there is nothing to worry about concerning comet Elenin, but if you have a telescope you will have an interesting object to look at in the middle of October.

Image Credit: NASA

Comments

August 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm
(1) Robert T. Permar says:

As far as eliminating comets and asteroids as a threat to Earth, the following is submitted.

A Suggested Practical and Feasible Means of Eliminating the Asteroid ďApophisĒ as a Threat to Earth

On June 17, 2004, the Kitt Peak National Observatory detected an asteroid, later named Apophis, to be on a collision course with Earth approaching at approximately 30 kilometers per second and weighing approximately 30 million tons. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory determined Apophisís rendezvous date with Earth to be April 13, 2029, that it would make a near-pass, and then return again in 2036, possibly colliding. Apophis is actually the Greek name for Apep, an Egyptian demon and enemy of Ra, known as the Uncreator, a serpent that dwells in the eternal darkness of the Duat. The scientific community, as of yet, has not determined a means of eliminating Apophis as a threat to Earth. A suggested practical and feasible means of eliminating Apophis as a threat to Earth would be to launch five hundred (500) Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMís) simultaneously, each with a yield of approximately 1.5 megatons and fitted with maneuvering thrusters , programming them to rendezvous with Apophis in a cluster (close formation, 10 to 25 feet apart) and detonate simultaneously once in close enough proximity to effect maximum destruction. If nuclear destruction is undesirable for whatever reason, extreme high explosive payloads (TNT, astrolite, etc) should be an effective alternative, especially if all 500 accomplish surface detonation simultaneously or in columns.

Intellectual Property of Robert T. Permar (July 12, 2011)

AUTHOR:

Robert T. Permar
dakon_panatak@hotmail.com

Bachelor of Arts 1980:
Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX
Provisional Patent Holder: Magnetic Holding Device awarded May 14, 2007
(USPTO #60/928993))
Former US Army Captain (RA)/US Army Major (IRR)
Branch: Aviation/Aviation Logistics

August 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm
(2) Robert T. Permar says:

Oh. The gist of the article was not to worry about “doomsday” collision of comets and asteroids with Earth. Neverrrrrrr minddd! (sorrrrrrrryy). Seriously, gotta learn to pay attention (Yeesh, getting punchy)

Robert.

August 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm
(3) pamela wetzel says:

Believe it or not I have seen people actually act shocked that there are comets “within our solar system!” They act like its a sign of the end times….an they’ve also recieved failing marks in astronomy/earth science!

August 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm
(4) Robert T. Permar says:

More see it as a sign of a Marvel villian (The Uncreator, dah,dummmm) You mean, they act AS IF it’s a sign of the end times.(speaking of failing grades:English composition)?Okay, for conversational speech, “like” is SOMEWHAT accepted as a preposition, blah, blah……..never minnnnnnnd!

Continuation of Apophis post: Regardless that it’s not fully on par with the article topic, should have qualified that (Obviously) 500 is not formulaic or fixed as a basis for achieving destruction. The process basically calls for a multiplicity of missiles/rockets which are programmed to detonate simultaneously in close proximity and/or in contact with the asteroid or comet with sufficient explosive payloads to achieve the desired degree of destruction.

Rober T. Permar

September 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm
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January 23, 2012 at 12:42 am
(6) stuwho says:

The more likely scenario would be that a comet collides with an asteroid sending the asteroid to collide with Earth. There would be much less time to see it coming and evaluate its path.

How is possible for scientist to dismiss the possibilities out of hand? I am always more affraid of a person saying there is “no way this will/could happen” when by definition it is unpredictable.

Also, I do not remember the comets name (sorry), but i remember hearing of a comet due to pass the Earth in March 2012, slingshot around the Sun and that scientists will not know the exact tract of the return until three days before it would pass again. And that one path of some only 100 possible paths is a collision. all paths are in our orbit path but the exact speed of the comet after the orbit is not 100%predictable. Any data to disprove these scenarios?

January 23, 2012 at 12:48 am
(7) stuwho says:

Sorry for the typos. :)

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