Connect with us

Science

Don't Look Up: Physicists Say Killer Comet in Netflix Film Could Be Destroyed – ComicBook.com

Published

 on


In Netflix‘s wildly popular film Don’t Look Up, the world is destroyed by a comet that strikes Earth and triggers an extinction-level event after botched attempt to destroy it for financial gain fails. However, two physicists believe that should such a “planet killing” comet actually threaten Earth, destroying it and saving the world is theoretically possible. In their paper “Don’t Forget to Look Up”, Philip Lubin and Alexander Cohen of the University of California at Santa Barbara (via CBS News) determine that a 6-mile-wide comet or asteroid—an object similar to what wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago)—could be destroyed and dispersed with the use of nuclear explosives, but time would be of the essence at nearly every step of the process.

According to their paper, even if the object was discovered a mere six months prior to anticipated impact, the object could be destroyed, but actions would have to be taken on earth within a month of discovery to launch heavy lift rockets to deliver multiple nuclear penetrators a month ahead of the impact that would themselves have to get into the crust of the object before detonating. It sounds like the plot of Armageddon dialed up to 11 and while mobilizing a response that fast, it is technically possible, though it may not exactly be a realistic effort. Still, for the sake of all of humanity? At least it’d be an option.

“We have shown that for the extreme case of a 6-month warning of the impact of a 10-km diameter asteroid or comet), humanity could in theory defend itself with an array of nuclear penetrators launched 5 months prior to impact and an intercept one month prior to impact,” Lubin and Cohen write in the paper.

“Though the numbers may seem daunting, it is not outside the realm of possibility even at this point in human technological development,” they write. “This gives us hope that a robust planetary defense system is possible for even short notice existential threats such as we have outlined today. Ideally, we would never be in this situation, but better ready than dead.”

Lubin told CBS News that he’s not particularly worried about a Don’t Look Up scenario in terms of comets—the paper is the result of an academic curiosity—but he did note that currently, should it happen, we just aren’t ready.

“If you ask me, am I worried about it? Of course not,” Lubin said. “I’ve got better things to worry about. But I was just curious, from a physicist point of view, is it even possible, given the amount of energy you need. The answer is yes, it is possible. Is it something we can do today? No, because we haven’t planned ahead.”

Fortunately, according to astronomer Dr. Amy Mainzer, the likelihood of an Earth-destroying comet event is very unlikely.

0comments

“The good news is a really major event like what’s portrayed in the movie, we know that, that can’t happen very regularly…because we’re here,” Mainzer, who is an astronomer and worked as an advisor on the Adam McKay movie, told Yahoo Canada. “If that sort of thing happened on a regular basis in our time span, compared to the span that humans have been on the planet, well we wouldn’t be here…The last such major event was the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. So, we know that this is a very infrequent event, that said, smaller events can happen more frequently. So that’s why we go out and we look for the objects and try to figure out where they are.”

Don’t Look Up is now streaming on Netflix.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

NASA discovers double crater on the moon – CTV News

Published

 on


The moon has a new double crater after a rocket body collided with its surface on March 4.

New images shared by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon since 2009, have revealed the location of the unusual crater.

The impact created two craters that overlap, an eastern crater measuring 59 feet (18 metres) across and a western crater spanning 52.5 feet (16 metres). Together, they create a depression that is roughly 91.8 feet (28 metres) wide in the longest dimension.

Although astronomers expected the impact after discovering that the rocket part was on track to collide with the moon, the double crater it created was a surprise.

Typically, spent rockets have the most mass at the motor end because the rest of the rocket is largely just an empty fuel tank. But the double crater suggests that this object had large masses at both ends when it hit the moon.

The exact origin of the rocket body, a piece of space junk that had been careening around for years, is unclear, so the double crater could help astronomers determine what it was.

The moon lacks a protective atmosphere, so it’s littered with craters created when objects like asteroids regularly slam into the surface.

This was the first time a piece of space junk unintentionally hit the lunar surface that experts know of. But craters have resulted from spacecraft being deliberately crashed into the moon.

For example, four large moon craters attributed to the Apollo 13, 14, 15 and 17 missions are all much larger than each of the overlapping craters created during the March 4 impact. However, the maximum width of the new double crater is similar to the Apollo craters.

UNCLEAR ORIGIN

Bill Gray, an independent researcher focused on orbital dynamics and the developer of astronomical software, was first to spot the trajectory of the rocket booster.

Gray had initially identified it as the SpaceX Falcon rocket stage that launched the US Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, in 2015 but later said he’d gotten that wrong and it was likely from a 2014 Chinese lunar mission — an assessment NASA agreed with.

However, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the booster was from its Chang’e-5 moon mission, saying that the rocket in question burned up on reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

No agencies systematically track space debris so far away from Earth, and the confusion over the origin of the rocket stage has underscored the need for official agencies to monitor deep-space junk more closely, rather than relying on the limited resources of private individuals and academics.

However, experts say that the bigger challenge is the space debris in low-Earth orbit, an area where it can collide with functioning satellites, create more junk and threaten human life on crewed spacecraft.

There are at least 26,000 pieces of space junk orbiting Earth that are the size of a softball or larger and could destroy a satellite on impact; over 500,000 objects the size of a marble — big enough to cause damage to spacecraft or satellites; and over 100 million pieces the size of a grain of salt, tiny debris that could nonetheless puncture a spacesuit, according to a NASA report issued last year.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

7 Amazing Dark Sky National Parks – AARP

Published

 on





James Ronan/Getty Images/Steve Burns

Great Basin, Arches, and Voyageurs National Park

Can’t afford to join a commercial space mission offered by Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson? Consider the next best thing: seeing a starry, starry night in a sea of darkness, unimpeded by artificial light, at one of the International Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. It’s a rare treat, since light pollution prevents nearly 80 percent of Americans from seeing the Milky Way from their homes.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDSA) has certified 14 of the nation’s 63 national parks as dark sky destinations. So visitors can take full advantage of such visibility, many of them offer specialized after-dark programs, from astronomy festivals and ranger-led full-moon walks to star parties and astrophotography workshops. If you prefer to stargaze on your own at a park, the National Park Service recommends bringing a pair of 7-by-50 binoculars, a red flashlight, which enhances night vision, and a star chart, which shows the arrangement of stars in the sky.

Here are seven of the IDSA-certified parks where you can appreciate how the heavens looked from the Earth before the dawn of electric light.




AARP Membership -Join AARP for just $9 per year when you sign up for a 5-year term

Join today and save 43% off the standard annual rate. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life. 



Award-winning travel writer Veronica Stoddart is the former travel editor of USA Today. She has written for dozens of travel publications and websites.​​

More on Travel​

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

A Mystery Rocket Left A Crater On The Moon – Forbes

Published

 on


While we think of the moon as a static place, sometimes an event happens that reminds us that things can change quickly.

On March 4, a human-made object (a rocket stage) slammed into the moon and left behind a double crater, as seen by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission.

Officials announced June 23 that they spotted a double crater associated with the event. But what’s really interesting is there’s no consensus about what kind of rocket caused it.

China has denied claims that the rocket was part of a Long March 3 rocket that launched the country’s Chang’e-5 T1 mission in October 2014, although the orbit appeared to match. Previous speculation suggested it might be from a SpaceX rocket launching the DISCOVR mission, but newer analysis has mostly discredited that.

On a broader scale, the value of LRO observations like this is showing how the moon can change even over a small span of time. The spacecraft has been in orbit there since 2009 and has spotted numerous new craters since its arrival.

It’s also a great spacecraft scout, having hunted down the Apollo landing sites from orbit and also having tracked down a few craters from other missions that slammed into the moon since the dawn of space exploration.

It may be that humans return to the moon for a closer-up look in the coming decade, as NASA is developing an Artemis program to send people to the surface no earlier than 2025.

LRO will also be a valuable scout for that set of missions, as the spacecraft’s maps will be used to develop plans for lunar bases or to help scout safe landing sites for astronauts.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending