assignment1 - Mitch McMichael ASTRO 2202 Professor Veverka...

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Mitch McMichael ASTRO 2202 Professor Veverka February 6, 2011 Should We Be Defending Ourselves From Asteroids? In hopes of this letter finding the proper hands, I wish to address the issue at hand that is the possible threat of an asteroid or comet coming into contact with the earth as we presently know it. It is through a senator that I have come in contact with whom wishes a scientific paper be written in caution of such an event. Over the history of mankind, and far beyond our presence on this very earth that we have found that such a catastrophe has plagued the soils of our land before. It is with this knowledge and the intelligence we currently hold that such incidences can’t be ignored whether it is during our lifetime or stretches far beyond our stay on earth that we must be concerned with such events happening again. The very notion that there is a possibility of an asteroid striking earth, must leave those in positions of power to set in place defense mechanisms to ensure such devastation does not occur on our blessed soils. Through this paper, I intend to outline the probability of such an event and position a set of possible defenses to begin discussion on a final plan. The threat of an asteroid or comet coming in contact with the earth has been an issue since the earth was created 4.5 billion years ago. These collisions have been recorded and studied since we have held the technology to do so, and the result of these impacts has been thought to be catastrophic. One of the more scientifically studied episodes in our long history has been the extinction of dinosaurs during the Cretaceous- Tertiary period, which has been strongly supported by the idea that it was in fact due to an asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico. Since that time, it is known that the earth has
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been hit by a number of asteroid fragments and it is without question that they will strike again. The issue at hand of course, is whether we are expecting it to happen again in the near future. According to Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System’s website ( http://pan-starrs.ifa.hawaii.edu/public/asteroid-threat/asteroid_threat.html ), and popular news casts, in 1994 a comet by the name of Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke into twenty one fragments and came into contact with Jupiter. The possibility that this comet could have come into contact with earth is not farfetched and if it had, there would have been catastrophic consequences according the scientists within Pan-STARRS. In recent history, there have been a number of incidences that have cautioned
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This note was uploaded on 01/08/2012 for the course ASTRO 2202 taught by Professor Veverka, j during the Spring '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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assignment1 - Mitch McMichael ASTRO 2202 Professor Veverka...

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