Scientists have moved closer to being able to stop a huge asteroid colliding with the Earth and potentially wiping out human life. Researchers at the University of Tennessee have discovered that blowing the space rock up could make the collision worse by causing several devastating impacts.Instead, small changes could be made to its surface to disrupt the forces keeping it together and cause it to break up in outer space.They were studying asteroid 1950 DA, which has a one in 300 chance of hitting the planet on 16 March, 2880.
Posted: August 15, 2014, 9:39 am
VIOLENT solar superstorms could destroy life as we know it at ANY MOMENT, shocked scientists have warned today. Solar flares could destroy the earth at any moment[GETTY]It is “only a matter of time” before a catastrophic eruption on the surface of the sun hurtles towards the planet with devastating consequences.The Earth could be the target of an explosion equivalent to “10 billion Hiroshima bombs exploding at the same time”.It has emerged crisis meetings have been held to discuss how to limit the damage of solar superstorms which present a “long-lasting” threat to all forms of life.Scientists warn communication systems will be crippled, vital services such as transport, sanitation and medicine will close, and loss of power will plunge the planet into darkness.Ashley Dale, member of international task force SolarMAX set up to identify the risks of a solar storm, said: “Without power, people would struggle to fuel their cars at petrol stations, get money from cash dispensers or pay online.“Water and sewage systems would be affected too, meaning that health epidemics in urbanised areas would quickly take a grip, with diseases we thought we had left behind centuries ago soon returning.”An eruption was captured here by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory [NASA]The earth would be obliterated if the sun was to send out a flare [NASA]The warning comes as Britain is experiencing one of the hottest summers on record (http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/493781/SHOCK-WEATHER-FORECAST-Hottest-August-in-300-YEARS-on-way-as-jet-stream-BOILS-Britain). Scientists have warned of highly unusual activity on the surface of the sun which has already sent smaller solar flares spiralling towards earth.Solar storms are triggered when coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun tear into the earths magnetic field ripping it apart.This triggers huge surges of electrical currents which lead to widespread power outages and destroy machinery which use electricity.Mr Dale, currently writing a doctorate on aerospace engineering at Bristol University, said it is only a “matter of time” before a violent solar storm smashes into Earth.He warned the planet is facing a repeat of the devastating solar superstorm of 1859 - dubbed the Carrington Event after English astronomer Richard Carrington.Carrington spotted a solar flare before terrifying fireballs hurtled across the atmosphere making people think it was the end of the world.Reports followed of sparks showering from telegraph machines, out of control fires and electrical operators being injured.Around 10^22 kJ of energy catapulted around a trillion kilos of charged particles towards the Earth at speeds of up to 1,900 miles per second.
Posted: August 2, 2014, 2:23 pm
Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer has issued an unusual warning for investors, calling the threat of a widespread blackout from an electromagnetic surge the most significant danger in the world. Called an electromagnetic pulse or EMP, the events can occur naturally from solar storms or artificially from a high-altitude explosion of nuclear weapons. -- While these pages are typically chock full of scary or depressing scenarios, there is one risk that is head-and-shoulders above all the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence, Singer wrote to clients of his $24.8 billion Elliott Management on Monday in a standard investment update letter. Even horrendous nuclear war, except in its most extreme form, can [be] a relatively localized issue, and the threat from asteroids can (possibly) be mitigated.
Posted: July 29, 2014, 6:32 pm
A new study from NASA and the University of California suggests the entire Southwestern United States may be in for some major trouble in the very near future. Over the last decade, much of the water that the Southwest depends on has been depleted to levels that may soon cripple the entire region This month Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, dropped to its lowest level since it was filled after the completion of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s. In fact, it’s getting so bad that the lake is now dropping at a rate of one foot a week. Historic Drought Unrelenting Migration of People Could Spell Disaster The entire southwest region of the United States, most of which is a desert to begin with, is in the middle of a historic 14-year drought. The extreme drought conditions, combined with an unrelenting migration of people into areas that were never meant to sustain this much development, have caused water levels in Lake Mead to drop over 130 feet since the year 2000. 10 years ago almost everything in this picture would have been under water. Just 2 months ago, the truck in this picture would have been 10 feet under water. Lake Mead provides fresh drinking water to over 20 million people in southern Nevada, southern California and Arizona. Things are so out of control that the two intake pipes that provide water to Nevada could soon be above water, which has local water officials rushing to build (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/lake-mead-is-shrinking-and-with-it-las-vegas-water-supply/) a third emergency intake pipe. Without these water intake pipes, Las Vegas would not exist. FULL ARTICLE
Posted: July 24, 2014, 9:44 pm
On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere. These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. “If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA (http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm/).
Posted: July 24, 2014, 12:20 pm