August 2011

Scientists Go "Mythbusters" On Actual Killer Asteroid

Scientists look at diverting the path of a near-Earth asteroid by smashing stuff into it.

It seems that every 8-10 years there's the imminent threat of another asteroid heading toward the planet, potentially wiping out life on Earth. This decade that asteroid is 99942 Apophis, a near-earth asteroid that is expected to pass very close to Earth in about eighteen years (circa 2029 CE) and, although missing us, it will pass through a strange gravitational "keyhole" that will slingshot the space boulder back around to possibly collide with our planet seven years later (circa 2036 CE). This has prompted scientists in China and the U.S. to propose measures to divert the asteroid away using a tried and true tactic for diverting other earth-bound objects moving at high rates of speed; smashing things into them.

Invading Aliens Will Wipe Out Planet To Punish Humanity for Global Warming

Not really...but it would make a great movie.


A recent report released by a handful of scientists was based on a "scenario analysis" of an alien invasion. In this scenario, it looks at the likelihood that aliens would "wipe out" the human race because of our hand in global warming... just as plausible a reason as any other, I suppose. After all, there have been a lot of alien invasion movies where the motive wasn't know, and now we can point to an easy culprit: climate change. In fact, it's the very fact our rapidly expanding populations that would incite the aliens to this carnage. It's remarkable, as Megan McArdle of Atlantic Monthly pointed out, "how often the aliens in science fiction just happen to be preoccupied with the exact same political issues that obsessed intellectuals of the era when the fiction was written."

Dawn Probe: First Look at Distant Bodies

The Dawn probe reaches well into our asteroid belt and surveys Vesta, the second largest asteroid in our solar system.


There are two high-profile NASA probes in the big black, and one of them has just made an important stop. Having successfully entered the orbit of the second largest asteroid in our solar system, the Dawn Probe is settling in to begin mapping the asteroid and answering some questions about one of the largest "breeders" of Earth-bound meteorites of which we know. As reported on, settling any space vessel into a planetary object's orbit is a tricky maneuver and anything but guaranteed. When the Dawn Probe completed it's entrance and settled into the asteroid's gravity field, scientists celebrated, and then got down to the business of making discoveries.