In a press conference held today (along with material released prior) former astronauts working with the B612 Foundation announced that large-scale asteroid explosions, similar to the one which hammered the former Soviet republic of Russia in February of last year, have actually been more common than previously thought.
Utilizing data recovered from satellites which track nuclear testing around the globe, the researchers determined that at least 26 ‘atomic bomb’ sized events have occurred since 2001 as a result of Near-Earth Objects [NEOs]; this represents three to ten times more asteroid strikes than formerly believed to be true.
The researchers warn that this trend will continue, calling it ‘blind luck’ that none of these impacts have either hit low enough in our atmosphere to cause significant damage nor occurred near major population centers; add to that the fact the Russian event happened without any advanced warning whatsoever and it paints a grim picture, at least for the next few years.
Asteroids can and do strike Earth, Check out the B612 Foundation short 2 minute video https://t.co/fPO8z44PTZ
— ALDO Relaxing Guitar (@AldoRelaxGuitar) April 22, 2014
One of the concerns not covered in the presser was how these asteroid explosions - high enough in the atmosphere - could adversely affect our technological infrastructure via an electromagnetic pulse [EMP]; while the possibility of an EMP has received generous media attention in recent weeks, it has been in relation to a nuclear device being detonated as an act of war.
In that vein it should noted that the 2013 incident in fact produced a shock wave of compressed air rather than an EMP, though that could have been caused by its height at the point of explosion; due to lack of verifiable data it is impossible to know with certainty how likely an EMP is from a high-altitude asteroid event, nor what devastation in which it could usher.
B612 is a group working to create a more sophisticated detection system (called 'Sentinel') for NEOs, along with a method of deflecting any incoming bodies; until such a system is deployed [the detection system will launch in 2018, while deflection is more than a few years away] we are basically at the mercy of chance and nature.
Notes: Source materials were written prior to press conference. Special thanks to Phillip Lewis, who tipped the story via the new Apocalyst Facebook page.
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