Have your luggage ready.

If you haven’t already heard, there’s (depending on your source) a 1 in 45 or a 1 in 37 chance that Asteroid 2004 MN4 could wander into the planet on April 13, 2029, causing widespread destruction and other unpleasant effects reminiscent of the plots of bad movies from 1998. Information may be found here and here.

Happy New Year!

UPDATE: As reported in the responses, more recent estimates significantly reduce the odds of impact.

10 replies on “Have your luggage ready.”

  1. theangrymob says:

    My only question…
    Where to I send nominations for people that should go on the “B” Ark?

    • Gaewyn says:

      Re: My only question…

      Where to I send nominations for people that should go on the “B” Ark?

      I vote we mark Ark A as Ark B and Ark B as Ark A…. and then make sure all the “important” people get on the one marked A.

      :}

      • hitch says:

        Re: My only question…

        Where to I send nominations for people that should go on the “B” Ark?

        I vote we mark Ark A as Ark B and Ark B as Ark A…. and then make sure all the “important” people get on the one marked A.

        :}

        good point. if you’ll recall, getting rid of all the “useless” people resulted in the death of their entire society due to a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone.

        I REALLY need to get my hitchhiker’s reviews up….

  2. obiwan says:

    Towel!
    Make sure you bring a towel! :)

    • y42 says:

      Re: Towel!

      Make sure you bring a towel! :)

      You don’t actually need to bring it. The important step is a constant awareness of your towel’s current location : )

  3. chad says:

    Safer Than You Think

    As of this posting, the odds are now officially 1 in 26,000 (0.0038%). There’s an article on slashdot that attempts to explain why the risk factor suddenly changed so much (something about cones of probability). Personally, I think it’s simply a government cover-up to avoid mass panic…

  4. joe__gee says:

    Don’t bother packing …
    The size and speed of the asteroid — 390 meters wide, impact speed of 12.5 kilometers per second — mean that although it would certainly ruin someone’s day if it hit them, people even 160 kilometers away from a land impact would only hear a thud and have to dust off a light coating of non-radioactive ash/dust.

    From this site, a land impact would leave a 2-3 kilometer wide crater, cause destruction within 100 kilometers and knock out windows for an extra thirty kilometers. An ocean impact would cause tsunamis very similar to those that just swept through the Indian Ocean basin. In general the world would continue, everything would continue: only a small percentage of the world’s population would be directly affected.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately if you’re a booster of the aerospace industry and were hoping for something to spur a new space race, the latest news on 2004 MN4 is that it will, indeed, miss us. The chance of it hitting went from one in thirty eight to one in twenty-six thousand when photographic plates from March allowed a more precise calculation of the asteroid’s orbit.

    Nothing to be seen here folks. Move along. :)

    -Joe G.

    • chad says:

      May Be Even Smaller…

      The size and speed of the asteroid — 390 meters wide, impact speed of 12.5 kilometers per second…

      Found an interesting article on SciScoop that speculates the “object” may actually be a rocket booster from a lunar probe launched in 1967. The booster, being shiny, would reflect more light than a similarly-sized asteroid and would thus appear to be larger than it really is. Apparently NASA JPL responded to the article, stating that they have also been considering this possibility.

      • y42 says:

        Re: May Be Even Smaller…

        The size and speed of the asteroid — 390 meters wide, impact speed of 12.5 kilometers per second…

        Found an interesting article on SciScoop that speculates the “object” may actually be a rocket booster from a lunar probe launched in 1967. The booster, being shiny, would reflect more light than a similarly-sized asteroid and would thus appear to be larger than it really is. Apparently NASA JPL responded to the article, stating that they have also been considering this possibility.

        Mental note: Buy black paint for doomsday device.

    • joe__gee says:

      In rereading this … addendum.

      An ocean impact would cause tsunamis very similar to those that just swept through the Indian Ocean basin. In general the world would continue, everything would continue: only a small percentage of the world’s population would be directly affected.

      Although no one else commented, and everyone seemed to read this in its proper context — I didn’t mean to trivialize what has happened in the Indian Ocean. Those who have the means may wish to consider making a donation to help the survivors. It sounds like these people need all the help they can get.

      Anyways, Happy New Year, folks! Have a safe, prosperous, and fun-filled 2005! :)

      -Joe G.

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