What would you do? Answered
In 1908, a meteor the size of a truck obliterated 2000 square miles of Russian countryside. Over a populated area, that would have incinerated a city the size of modern New York.
The next major threatening event could occur in less than 20 years. Asteroid Apophis is due to pass close to the Earth and analyses suggest a one in 45,000 chance of a collision, and an impact one hundred times more destructive than the Tunguska event. Overall, major impacts occur on average every thousand years or so.
Although the chance is, on the face of it, quite small, that is just the risk of one particular, known Near Earth Object ("NEO") hitting us on the next pass. There are hundreds of other rocks out there, large enough to cause significant damage, and we don't know where all of them are.
UN scientists are calling for proper, internationally-concerted preparations to prevent such a collision.
Of course, any plans made so far are pure hypothesis, blue-sky thinking of the most literal kind. They range from gentle nudges with solar sails, to whole-scale nuclear obliteration.
So, Makers, what would you do?
How would you avert disaster?
How would you detect and track dangerous rocks?
How would you prevent them causing damage? Deflection? Destruction? Or would you exploit them somehow?
Post ideas, sketches, wild suggestions or sensible plans.
Association of Space Explorers
NASA's NEO pages
NASA Flash animation