NEOGraFX courtesy of David A. Hardy -
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NEOMyths: 'They' Got Your Six...

- The next NEO to strike Earth will not do so anytime soon.
<The 'odds' that Earth will be struck by a Large NEO again are virtually 100%. We just don't know 'When'. In order to calculate the probability of  'When' the next NEO will be in the same place at the same time as Earth we must know exactly 'Where' ALL the asteroids in the Solar System are, their individual orbits, mass, composition and attitude (yaw, pitch, roll) at a single given point in Real time (they do bump into each other).>

- The 'odds' that a Large NEO will strike Earth in the next 100 years are 6,000:1 (JPL).
<Could be True! No way we can verify it empirically... even after the fact. However, it does not say that Earth will not be struck by a Large NEO tomorrow. In fact such a statement is only a metaphor for 'We don't know when so Don't Worry Be Happy'. Since the only data we have to determine anything about the general NEO condition is an estimate of 'how many' NEOs there are, the only probabilities we can calculate would be the statistical average for the frequency of impact - how often is still not 'When'. With frequency as a baseline, over 200 years the 'odds' would then be 3,000:1 - 1000 years 600:1... In other words, if the next one strikes tomorrow it will still fit into the statistics eventually. CYA at JPL - SOP.>

- The tactics employed to dispatch the NEOShiva in "Armageddon" will work.
<There isn't a Nuclear device on Earth big enough to deflect an NEO that size, that close (Moon's orbit) from impacting Earth let alone blow it apart so that neither half hits. At half way to Mars and you got a plan (and a much longer movie). But we can't get there from here today. We can't get there from anywhere today.>

- The next NEO that will strike Earth will be the easiest one to detect in advance.
<This does seem intuitive and logical until you say it out loud. Say it out loud with me... The next NEO to strike Earth may be sitting quietly in the Main Belt minding its own little asteroid business when Bang! some comet comes crashing into the Belt and it's 90 days to Splat on Earth! "Armageddon" got that bit right. Or it could be the NEO we have already detected and cataloged as 'safe' last year but did not know about the little 'roid about to run into it this morning. Cosmic Chaos Dispatch does not publish a schedule.>

- ICBMs can be used to attack NEOs in space.
<ICBMs are only designed to carry warheads into our sub orbital atmosphere where they can fall harmfully back to Earth. If their payload is reduced they can reach Low Earth Orbit but then what's the point. They can not be upgraded to do more or their warheads be redesigned to hit anything other a large stationary target (city) on Earth - One MAD Trick Ponies!>

- A Nuclear bomb can be exploded close to a NEO to nudge it from its trajectory.
<No air in space. No air - no shockwave; only heat and radiation. You can give a NEO a good glaze and maybe make it glow in the dark so we can better see it coming. The mass of the nuclear device itself will have a nominal effect. However, even at the speed of light the few hundred pounds that impact the target will only move the impact point of a trillion ton asteroid from the East side of Chicago to Midtown... still No Joy!>

- We can put together an ad hoc 'AntiNEO' missile from existing launch vehicles.
<Not and deliver anything more than a camera and a nuclear hand grenade fast enough or far enough away from Earth to effectively deflect anything larger than the smallest asteroid.>

- We can 'hit' a NEO with an 'AntiNEO' missile.
<To intercept a NEOShiva with a direct hit at 25 million miles (half way to Mars), with a combined closing speed of 150,000 kph (Mach 120) - ain't no way no how. With our best Technology and far friendlier tolerances, our last shot on an asteroid (Eros) missed (late) by a year.>

- 'They' are urgently developing something to defend Earth against NEO Impact.
<No, 'They' are not! Duck and Cover is the best 'They' got. 'They' want to count them first... some kind of a new spin on 'Safety' in numbers.>

- Asteroids less than 50 meters diameter will burn up harmlessly in Earth's atmosphere.
<Most will burn up in our atmosphere and not actually strike the planet but that does not mean they will not have an impact. On January 18, 2000 in Canada's Yukon Territory a meteor (tiny asteroid) the size of a bowling ball exploded at an altitude of 25 km with a force of 3 kilotons. In 'burning up' in Earth's atmosphere it generated an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) similar to that of a nuclear bomb, knocking out the power over one third of the Territory. In 1908 the 50 meter NEO Tunguska Event generated a 10 megaton explosion 6 km above the Earth's surface (the altitude prescribed for military use of nuclear weapons to achieve maximum effect) flattening 2,000 square km of Siberian forest and incinerating more than twice that. However, no EMP was reported... It is estimated that a 1 megaton nuclear explosion (10% of Tunguska) 250 miles over Omaha would emit an EMP strong enough to collapse the economy and society of the United States from coast to coast at the speed of light.>

- Detecting and plotting the orbits of all the Large NEOs will make us safe.
<Since asteroids bump into each other all the time, a single sweep observation using only brightness to determine their size and time lapse photography their orbits can be assumed to be useless shortly after the light from the observers last look has reached him. Without greater precision and some idea of their mass and composition any consequential orbits resulting from a projected NEO/NEO collision are impossible to predict.  In a recent NASA/NEAR mission to Eros they found that it had over 100,000 impact craters on its surface. That would suggest that Eros has changed its orbit many times in its bumpy life>

- Only NEOs are potential Earth Impact threats.
<Any asteroid, comet or interstellar interloper can strike Earth on its first pass through Earth's orbital plane - many possibly have and we can't tell from here.>

- Not everyone will be killed by a NEO Impact or by the dramatic consequences.
<True! Any survivors will just wish they were - with everything they love dead and dying before their eyes because their species failed to deal with a simple and common act of nature... Cosmic Competitive Selection!>

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