Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ron Bailey Reports From The Conference on Global Catastrophic Risks

Saturday's subject was the one yours truly was extremely interested in hearing about..

It Came From Outer Space

Ronald Bailey | July 19, 2008, 7:21pm

July 19, Oxford, UK-Death by asteroids, comets and gamma ray bursts was on the agenda of the conference on Global Catastrophic Risks this morning. First up was NASA senior scientist David Morrison to talk about the Spaceguard Survey and the threat of a catastrophic asteroid strike.......
..........According to Morrison, 80 percent of the NEAs that are a kilometer or more in size have been identified. Consequently, Morrison could happily assure the assembled Oxford catastrophe mavens, "We are not going the way of the dinosaurs." Why because the Spaceguard Survey has not turned up any NEAs near the size of the one that likely killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. That asteroid measured between 10 and 15 kilometers and blasted the 180 kilometer-wide Chicxulub crater.

Bailey reports that "Morrison groused that NASA has spent only $ 4 million on Spaceguard and argued that the magnitude of the risk merits a budget of half a billion dolars."

The impression I get from the conference is that we still aren't looking at this issue from a reasonable cost-benefit analysis. The budget for NASA is usually in the $18-20 billion range the last few years, and it's inexcusable that we've spent such a mere pittance on resolving the one issue that would make all of NASA'S other projects a moot point.

As always, please visit the folks at the B612 Foundation for more.

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