Friday, February 28, 2014

Asteroid Threat & the Singularity

The threat that Earth will suffer a life terminating asteroid impact is certain—only the timing is uncertain.  Planning, coordinating and developing a system to divert or destroy major, planet threatening asteroids will demand immense planning, engineering and financial resources. It will also likely require: 
  • the capacity for prolonged working and living in space environments
  • the capability to process and analyze Immensely complex sensing and orbital prediction technologies.
  • the ability to provide on-site management of asteroid diversion or destruction efforts.
All of which would be ideally suited for enhanced, New-Humans and artificially intelligent beings. As we approach and assimilate the Singularity, human life spans will dramatically increase and very long-lived individuals will likely view long-term threat probabilities differently than their short-lived ancestors. 

In my longtime and evolving project, Ecological Theory of the Cosmos, I suggest that asteroid collisions function as the pollinators of life throughout the cosmic ecosystem and that collisions are a means of dispersing biological precursors and information. However, in this case, could not we consider taking serious action to protect our planet flower via asteroid defense systems. Then we could consciously assume and carry on the role of asteroid pollinators by broadcasting information and disbursing biological precursors via AI space beings that serve as New-Human ambassadors preserving Earth and germinating the seeds of life in perpetuity?

Worst Case, the End of all Life on Earth

What is Out There Waiting?
Of the more than 600 000 known asteroids in our Solar System, more than 10 000 are classified as near-Earth objects, or NEOs, because their orbits bring them relatively close to our path. 
Dramatic proof that any of these can strike Earth came on 15 February 2013, when an unknown object thought to be 17-20 m in diameter arrived at 66 000 km/h and exploded high above Chelyabinsk, Russia, with 20-30 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
The resulting shock wave caused widespread damage and injuries, making it the largest known natural object to have entered the atmosphere since the 1908 Tunguska event, which destroyed a remote forest area of Siberia.  Getting Ready for Asteroids, Space Daily 
Meteorites are more common than most people realize.  Several "thousand meteors that could be classified as fireballs enter the atmosphere every day, but most go unseen because they burn up over oceans or uninhabited areas." Source

Call to Action, Will it be Enough?

For the first time, national space agencies from North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa will establish an expert group aimed at getting the world's space-faring nations on the 'same page' when it comes to reacting to asteroid threats. 

The Space Mission Planning and Advisory Group (SMPAG - pronounced 'same page') was established by Action Team 14, a technical forum with a mandate from the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) to develop a strategy on how to react on a possible asteroid impact threat. 
It will coordinate the technological know how of agencies to recommend specific efforts related to asteroid threats, including basic research and development, impact mitigation measures and deflection missions.
"SMPAG will also develop and refine a set of reference missions that could be individually or cooperatively flown to intercept an asteroid," says Detlef Koschny, Head of the NEO Segment in ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme office."These include precursor missions or test and evaluation missions, which we need to fly to prove technology before a real threat arises." "Getting ready for asteroids" Space Daily
"But the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere-altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all NEOs (near-Earth objects), as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources." Source.
It is apparent that we live in a cosmic bowling alley in which Earth's gravitational attraction rolls the asteroids down space-time-curved lanes. But aren't the stakes too high not to take notice? Too many friends, too many masterpieces, too few memories to be lost forever?

What do you think? Please take the polls. The results are automatically tabulated.

© Ron S. Nolan, Ph.D.

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