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mrentropy's avatar

Would NASA tell anyone if an asteroid were going to smack into us?

Asked by mrentropy (17119 points ) February 11th, 2013

Somewhere around Friday Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be making a really close flyby. NASA is stressing that the rock will miss Earth.

But would they really tell anyone if it were going to hit us? Would there be any point to it?

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19 Answers

flutherother's avatar

An interesting thought. I don’t think they would tell us, or at least they would want to ‘manage’ the announcement. It might be difficult to keep quiet. The few people in the know would want to tell a few others, relatives and friends perhaps who lived in the target zone and word would get out.

gasman's avatar

If they didn’t announce the near-miss to the world, you wouldn’t know about the asteroid in the first place! So what’s the point of even mentioning its presence? There are numerous programs for asteroid surveillance, which tends to rule out conspiracies – somebody will always blab. Some day we might be able to actively intervene to avert an impending collision (like in many sci-fi movies) but even now I think most people, like the Godfather, “insist on hearing bad news right away.”

This object, 50 meters across, will miss us by 15 minutes and pass closer than many of our orbiting satellites.

If it hits land, a lot of people are doomed to be instantly vaporized. But a great number of other people on the fringe of destruction might well be saved by early warning.

mrentropy's avatar

@gasman : There are a lot of amateur astronomers that would be able to tell if an asteroid were going to make a close pass, so, yeah, we’d know about that. I’m more curious about the idea of actually telling the world that we’re kind of doomed.

rojo's avatar

Somehow, I doubt it.

Which, to my way of thinking is bullshit. If I am going to die tomorrow, I want to know it so I can get some tonight.

LuckyGuy's avatar

This one is so small they would have to tell us. They would completely lose credibility if it hit and they didn’t give at least a one week notice to the affected area. I’m not sure they’d tell us if it was a big, world ending one.
I just changed my mind. Yes they would tell us. Too many people would know beforehand.
Relax. You’re safe until 2029.

ucme's avatar

Apparently it’s known as a “city killer”, as opposed to a “bye-bye planet killer.”
They’d be bound to tell, maybe wait until the city in question is sleeping…“sshh, don’t tell them, but…”

mrentropy's avatar

I’m not particularly worried about this one. I was going through all the news reports and they mentioned that NASA says it won’t wallop us. That got me to wondering if they would mention it if a really big one came trundling along. I guess I should go back and watch Deep Impact or Meteor! or something.

marinelife's avatar

Somehow it would get out.

ucme's avatar

The Obama’s in matching space suits being a dead giveaway.

rojo's avatar

I wonder if Michelle would use the same designer she used for the previous two inaugurations? Don’t know who it was but CNN could tell us.

Seek's avatar

The beauty of space is that it’s there for anyone to see.

Someone would let the word out.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I know. I was just trying to calm his fears. Statistically there are at least another 5 or 6 that will pass this way between now and then.

mazingerz88's avatar

Question is, would we want to know?

augustlan's avatar

Since there are so many amateur astrologists out there, they’d have to tell us. If NASA didn’t, we’d hear about it anyway. If that wasn’t the case, though, they probably wouldn’t. What point would there be, if we couldn’t avert the hit? Our last days on earth would be one panic filled clusterfuck. :(

rojo's avatar

@augustlan Well, if it had to be your last day, why not!?

augustlan's avatar

The fuck without the panic would be good. ;)

mattbrowne's avatar

Not at first. But there are too many amateur astronomers.

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