Asteroids and Near Earth Objects

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ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299
Asteroids and Near Earth Objects

So there's been lots of talk over the past few years, particularly early 2011, about the Apophis asteroid and the likelihood of it hitting the earth in 2029 or 2036. While it appears now to have a very slim chance of hitting (I think like 1 in 250000) it brings up an interesting question.

If an Asteroid was going to hit earth with 100% certainty and there wasn't anything NASA or the military could do about it, does the government or the government-funded space programs have a responsibility to inform the citizens of the strike or is it in the interest of nations to keep this information secret?

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Secret.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Non secret. Yes chaos might ensue, but people have the right to know. They can make peace with God, tell off their Mother, try that heroin they've always wanted to experience, love on their kids, or do whatever it is they want to do.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

Golly. I'm stumped.

I'm going to have to think about this one and come back.....

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

"Potter75" wrote:

Non secret. Yes chaos might ensue, but people have the right to know. They can make peace with God, tell off their Mother, try that heroin they've always wanted to experience, love on their kids, or do whatever it is they want to do.

This exactly. We absolutely have a right to know.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

It's not "might" though. There are a lot of people who would go bat-**** crazy within minutes of hearing that announcement and no one would be able to enjoy their last days on Earth. It would be outrageous and scary and it's not something I'd want to go through. I feel totally different if it was a disease or something that you might be able to protect yourself from, but knowing that the planet isn't going to make it as a whole would take away the thing that holds our society together- wanting to make life better for the future.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

I can see an argument for both sides....and not to be grim and all, but once you are dead its not going to matter.

You know, in many ways, i'd really rather not know.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Some people might go crazy. Others might flock to churches, hold lovely peaceful gatherings etc. Some people might have the opportunity to right wrongs, to ask for forgiveness, to come to terms with religion or what have you. You would deny them that right just because some people might go crazy and....and what? Kill eachother? So what, everyone is about to die anyway, in this scenario where it is a 100% guarantee.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

"wlillie" wrote:

It's not "might" though. There are a lot of people who would go bat-**** crazy within minutes of hearing that announcement and no one would be able to enjoy their last days on Earth. It would be outrageous and scary and it's not something I'd want to go through. I feel totally different if it was a disease or something that you might be able to protect yourself from, but knowing that the planet isn't going to make it as a whole would take away the thing that holds our society together- wanting to make life better for the future.

Of course that will happen - but I think there will be a vass majority that will also want to say their goodbyes, make peace with God, etc. The rest of 'em can kill each other off if that's what they prefer.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

I'm in the "we have the right to know" camp. Sure, some people will go crazy, but they're probably the ones who would go crazy over something else anyway, kwim? And to be honest, the thought of dying in whatever manner comes with the planet being blown out of its orbit by an asteroid is horrible, I'd much rather drink some Kool-Aid with my family the day before and be done with it.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I would want to know, but in the end I think I would rather not know, because like others have said, people would go ape-sh**. The chaos that would ensue from something like that getting out would be insane... riots, looting, people doing whatever illegal acts they could because they know there would be no consequence from it. I think I would rather be obliviated in one second than live through days or weeks of hell before the thing hit.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6567

I think people have a right to know, and that no one should withhold that kind of information. That said, my ideal way of dying is either in a fast car accident or in my sleep so I do not have to dwell on it. (There are several people in my life who have cancer right now and I do not want to die slowly over months)

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I think that this actually has interesting spiritual/life perspective implications. To me, and maybe I'm an optimist, but I just don't get the notion that if we all heard that we had days before imminent death people might come to my house to eff with me. Why bother> Want my flat screen for a day before you die? Take it. Maybe I'm utopian or something......but I think that the prospect of imminent death brings people together, rather than rending them apart. Aint taking no flat screens to the after life. And, truly, if someone decided to try to kill me for my stuff a few days before I knew I was going to die.....well.......okay? What is today vs tomorrow, other than I get the chance to consider my position on the afterlife in a more important and meaningful way? Who are "they" to keep that information from me, any more than a Dr ha the right to with hold the information that I am terminally ill?

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

People have the right to know. Yes, some would go nuts, but I think most would spend that time well with the ones they love.