Tag Archives: apocalypse

NASA maps 93% of all near-Earth asteroids. In other news, Dinosaurs wish they had science.

Armageddon can wait, NASA‘s in charge for a little while longer. The space agency recently released to the general public a report which censuses more than 93% of the total number of asteroids in the vicinity of Earth’s orbit, meaning they’re all tagged and tracked – risk of undetected collision to a minimum. That’s not all either, it seems the number of near-Earth asteroids is a lot smaller than previously thought.

The data on the astereoids was gathered by NASA’s Wide-field Infared Survey Explorer (WISE), a satellite which had completed its mission with all instruments intact and quite a bit of fuel. Instead of scrapping it, the probe was put to extremely good use and repurposed for the mission of tracking down every space rock, big or small, in the vicinity of Earth’s orbit around the sun.

The study, re-named NEOWISE, studies space rocks for two years, time in which it surveyed over 100 thousand objects in the prime location between Mars and Jupiter alone  — the so-called Jupiter Belt. NASA informs that NEOWISE has found far fewer celestial bodies in the vecinity of Earth’s bodies than previous Earth observations had led scientists to believe. As such, the probe logged 19,500 mid-sized (between 300 and 3,300 feet wide) near-Earth asteroids instead of the previous estimate of 35,000.

Near-Earth asteroid census. Click for larger view. (c) NASA

Near-Earth asteroid census. Click for larger view. (c) NASA

Regarding larger, apocalyptic asteroids (more than 6 miles in diameter, the kind that killed off the dinosaurs)  the probe mapped tracked down 981, fewer than the initial 1000 estimated, of which 911 have been mapped in the sky. In all, 93% of the near-Earth asteroids have been now mapped.

NASA reports:

“NEOWISE allowed us to take a look at a more representative slice of the near-Earth asteroid numbers and make better estimates about the whole population,” said Amy Mainzer, lead author of the new study and principal investigator for the NEOWISE project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s like a population census, where you poll a small group of people to draw conclusions about the entire country” . . . It is believed that all near-Earth asteroids approximately 6 miles (10 kilometers) across, as big as the one thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs, have been found.

“The risk of a really large asteroid impacting the Earth before we could find and warn of it has been substantially reduced,” said Tim Spahr, the director of the Minor Planet Center at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.

via NASA

Defy nuclear war with the doomsday survival suit [photos]

Doomsday suit

For the 2012 panicked or just the doomsday memorabilia  collectors, Kacey Wong‘s doomsday survival suit will definitely spark interest. The Hong Kong artist has designed the robot-shaped suit inspiring herself after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, with the idea of protecting people from radiation leaking from nuclear power stations.

Mobile and equipped with glowing red alarm lights for eyes, the doomsday suit is entirely made out of led plates and can be unfolded to create a bed so you can have some well deserved rest after a nuclear war night. It also features solar panels to power electrical devices the inhabitant may need during radiation alerts.It only generates about 15 volts of electricity, which is just maybe enough to power an iPod and soundtrack the apocalypse.

Previous robot-like mobile homes by Wong include this one designed for rich people made homeless by the credit crunch and another that doubles as an office for homeless people.

Here’s how Wong describes her doomsday suit.

Natural and man-made disasters killed tens of thousands of people and many more lost their home, Hong Kong being much closer to the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station than to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, maybe it is about time to reflect and address the potential risk and hazard produced by nuclear energy.

Unfortunately for now, the suit is not available for sale and has been designed only for illustrative purposes – or art. If you want to snag a look at it, though, you’ll be able to find it at the 30 x 30 exhibition in Hong Kong from July 7 to August 9.

Doomsday suit


Survive the apocalypse in a Kansas missile silo

As the year 2012 steadily approaches, conspiracy theories, general panic and distress are growing ever thicker as Mayan calendar superstitions are turning into mainstream concerns. Much like in the cold war when a lot of people, some more intelligent than others, formed various nuclear holocaust survival plans like backyard bunkers, there are a lot of people nowadays as well with similar initiatives, a lot more elaborate however.

Software developer Larry Hall for instance is converting an Atlas F missile base in Kansas into a heavily-guarded, fully-furnished underground luxury condominium shelter, a model of which can be seen captioned above – the concept is actually called a “survival condo”. Hall bought off the decommissioned missile base (which he says cost the government $65 mil to build) for $250,000 out of personal paranoia with plans to turn into a safe haven for himself and his family. Somewhere along the road, though, the 54 year old software engineer must have gotten some entrepreneurial ideas and soon announced a “condo suite package” starting at $900,000, which includes a five-year food supply and “simulated view windows” with light levels calibrated to the time of day to keep you from going crazy.

It’s really not a bad place to site out the apocalypse, since it will feature a pool, a theater and library, a gym and even a waterfall, and all other modern day utilities like electricity will be powered by geothermal energy and wind turbines.

The silo is still in construction, but if you think it’s just a wacko plan with no one in their right minds willing to invest 900k for a seat in bunker, you’d better think again. “When they call me up,” he says, “they’re like, you had me at MISSILE BASE!” Hale goes on, confessing that three out of the seven condo floors have already been sold out. Who else wants a doomsday-safe condo?

More about Larry Hall and the Survival Condo project at the official website. You can read an interview with Hall here.