Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 15, 2009


Wired - Without more funding, NASA will not meet its goal of tracking 90 percent of all deadly asteroids by 2020, according to a report by the National Academy of Sciences. The agency is on track to soon be able to spot 90 percent of the potentially dangerous objects that are at least a kilometer (.6 miles) wide, a goal previously mandated by Congress. Asteroids of this size are estimated to strike Earth once every 500,000 years on average and could be capable of causing a global catastrophe if they hit Earth. In 2008, NASA's Near Earth Object Program spotted a total of 11,323 objects of all sizes. But without more money in the budget, NASA won't be able to keep up with a 2005 directive to track 90 percent of objects bigger than 460 feet across. An impact from an asteroid of this size could cause significant damage and be very deadly, particularly if it were to strike near a populated area.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then there are the All~Too~Real Threats NASA is gagged by the Military Industrial Complex and the Agenda of the Elites~~~

Full Article~~~Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe - space - 23 March 2009 - New Scientist
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"23 Mar 09 – (Excerpts) - “IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

"A fierce solar storm could lead to a global
disaster on an unprecedented scale."
(Image: SOHO Consortium / ESA / NASA)

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation's infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event - a violent storm, 150 million kilometres away on the surface of the sun.

“It sounds ridiculous. Surely the sun couldn't create so profound a disaster on Earth. Yet an extraordinary report funded by NASA and issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in January this year claims it could do just that.”

You must read this report.

"We're moving closer and closer to the edge of a possible disaster," says Daniel Baker, a space weather expert based at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and chair of the NAS committee responsible for the report.

“From time to time,” the report says, the solar wind “carries a billion-tonne glob of plasma, a fireball known as a coronal mass ejection. If one should hit the Earth's magnetic shield, the result could be truly devastating.”

“The incursion of the plasma into our atmosphere causes rapid changes in the configuration of Earth's magnetic field which, in turn, induce currents in the long wires of the power grids. The grids were not built to handle this sort of direct current electricity.”

“A severe space weather event in the US could induce ground currents that would knock out 300 key transformers within about 90 seconds, cutting off the power for more than 130 million people.”

First to go - immediately for those in high-rise buildings - is drinkable water.

With no trains, no trucks, no cars (filling stations wouldn’t be able to pump gas) supermarket shelves would empty very quickly.

Back-up generators would run out of fuel in less than 72 hours. After that, hospitals shut down. No more modern healthcare. And with the factories shuttered, no more medications.

And forget nuclear power. The stations are programmed to shut down in the event of serious grid problems and are not allowed to restart until the power grid is up and running, the report says.

With no power for heating, cooling or refrigeration systems, people could begin to die within days.

"It could conceivably be the worst natural disaster possible,” the report says, “a planetary disaster.” “It is questionable whether the US would ever bounce back.

August 19, 2009 1:04 AM  

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