Hi Pumpkin!

Did you know that an asteroid with an estimated diameter of 2,000 feet is zipping by planet Earth this Saturday at a speed of roughly 78,000 mph at slightly more than the average distance between the earth and the moon (which is ~240,000 miles, the asteroid will be about 300,000 miles distant)? In astronomical terms this distance is less than a hair. You didn’t know?

 

AsteroidApproachesEarthMoon.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smartHello, spooky Pumpkin! Please be so nice and don’t change course “unexpectedly” at the last minute.

Image credit: AFP

 

Fear not, so did no-one else until a few days ago. That’s when it was picked up by coincidence by one of the three telescopes that are regularly scanning for what is somewhat euphemistically referred to as “near-earth objects” (colloquially known as “genocidal killer asteroids”). Its name is the prosaic sounding “2015-TB-145” (we were vacillating between naming it “Goofy” and “Deathbringer”), but some scientists have in the meantime decided to call it “Spooky”, except for the NASA, which calls it “The Great Pumpkin”.

Luckily, the flight path predictions of asteroids rushing our way are on average a lot more reliable than the predictions of economists. Otherwise it would be high time for a few minutes of contemplative silence and prayer, just in case.

Why are we telling you this, dear readers? First of all, we often refer to asteroid strikes in these pages, mainly because we’re curious what the stock market would do if one them were to actually impact. Would it be a “sell the rumor, buy the news” event? Or would the market just streak to new highs right away? You have to admit, it is an interesting problem to think about.

Secondly, this near miss puts many things into perspective. If ole Pumpkin’s flight path were only a little bit different, it would have the potential to lay the AGW debate to rest forever. It would be a strong reminder that simply being born can be highly dangerous. It is thought that it is a good sight larger than the meteor that caused the Tunguska event in 1908 (which flattened 770 square miles of forest in Siberia after exploding some 3 to 6 miles above ground) – which was hitherto the largest impact event in recorded history.

It is far smaller though than the prehistoric asteroid that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago (that one was about 6 miles wide, traveled at a speed of around 70,000 mph and released the equivalent of 100 million megatons of TNT upon impact. When its tip touched the planet, its other end was still as high up in the atmosphere as the cruising altitude of most jet airplanes nowadays).

 

dinosaurs_1There are still a few competing theories as to what exactly wiped out the dinos …

 

Pumpkin is obviously far smaller, but still large enough that it would do incalculable damage if it were to e.g. hit a densely populated continent like Europe or were to come down in the ocean not too far off a densely populated coast. Possibly the firestorm wouldn’t race across the entire planetary surface, but it would be double-plus-terrible for sure.

 

asteroid_kim_1931125Kim is getting ideas over in Hermit Land.

 

Lastly, we are slightly taken aback by the fact that this sucker was only discovered such a short time ago. The thing is, these days it would at least be thinkable that a plan to divert an asteroid on impact course could be devised and might actually succeed (a number of viable sounding ideas have been proposed) – but only if it is discovered well in advance of the potential date with destiny.

 

Conclusion

Although Jupiter and Saturn are luckily catching or diverting most of the stuff that travels into the solar system from the Oort cloud or the Kuiper belt, it is thought that especially large “long period” objects that are on a regular orbit around the sun occasionally hit planet Earth. It is rare that this happens, but it can happen.

The problem is that if it does, it is pretty much curtains for us. This highlights how important the capital accumulation made possible by a free market economy is. It is the only thing that can ensure that we will have the resources and technological capabilities at our disposal to actually take one of these iron-nickel bastards on should the need ever arise. You knew of course that we would say that, but then again, it is true. If we become socialist, we will burn!

 

Addendum: Secret Weapons

We should perhaps mention that there are also a few secret weapons we could try out if an asteroid should ever be so impertinent to cross our path. Here are a few of them (listed by likelihood of success):

 

PutinVladimir Putin’s laser eyes!

 

secret weapon-2A UN resolution!

comics-dilbert-asteroid-compilation-580024Dilbert and company!

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

   

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our header carries ab black flag. This is due to the recent passing of the main author of the Acting Man blog, Heinz Blasnik, under his nom de plume 'Pater Tenebrarum'. We want to thank you for following his blog for meanwhile 11 years and refer you to the 'Acting Man Classics' on the sidebar to get an introduction to his way of seeing economics. In the future, we will keep the blog running with regular uptates from our well known Co-Authors. For that, some financial help would be greatly appreciated. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

7 Responses to “Asteroid Near Miss”

  • Crysangle:

    “If we become socialist, we will burn!”

    One of the privileges of equality, decision makers share the fate of their planning with you . First to move is a splitter… oh , they already left.

  • No6:

    Shame it will miss. A hit would have been good for the economy.

  • VB:

    Hey, Pater, any amusing thoughts on the subject of the “WTF” object which is scheduled to hit our planet somewhere north of Sri Lanka soon?

    • WTF is too small to be of great concern (it will probably burn up upon entry) – but it is funny that they know it’s “man-made”, but don’t know which man-made object it actually is. That we have put so much stuff up there by now that the debris is occasionally coming back is by itself quite amazing.

  • Rick T:

    Shame on you, Pater, for missing a good analogy. To statist economists, aren’t recessions and financial crashes random, completely unpredictable events that arrive suddenly like this astroid? Certainly no one on earth can be blamed for their appearance. Don’t they require courage, I believe Bernanke calls it, on the part of the central banks to give money to their friends in order to save all of mankind from disaster? Etc.

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