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And asteroids and climate change share some features—both can have abrupt and worldwide consequences that would have nothing to do with one's lifestyle or location on the planet. Contrast that with earthquakes, malaria, tobacco or firearms use.

The asteroids most likely to hit Earth

Fatality estimates for both an NEO impact and climate change "are similarly impacted by uncertainty in our understanding of climate change and statistical attribution of indirect causes," Boslough and Harris wrote in a poster presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. And when you look at the risks side by side, the researchers continued, "by any objective measure the impact threat is minuscule by a factor of at least a thousand compared to the threat from anthropogenic climate change.

So why were the climate change figures removed from this chart? Panelists are forbidden from discussing how they arrived at such decisions, but steering committee chair Irwin Shapiro of the Harvard—Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics says he recalls no discussion about anthropogenic climate change. The end result was a compromise to which Mark took strong exception at the time the draft report was about to be sent for review.


I suppose there may be some doubts about our quantitative predictions of climate change, and there were certainly doubts about the quantitative predictions of deaths due to it. Clearly that opinion did not carry the day. It is an estimation of the current as of existing rate of annual deaths reasonably attributable to climate change, albeit from a limited subset of climate-related health impacts: malaria due to an increase in the geographic range of disease-bearing mosquitoes, malnutrition associated with loss of agricultural productivity, water-borne diarrheal diseases, and deaths from flooding, McMichael says.

Regarding the strength of McMichael's climate change fatality estimates, Boslough says: "I do not dispute that there are uncertainties in the numbers, but that's true of every number in the table, including and perhaps especially the impact number. Their death certificates would not say, 'killed by impact.

Nevertheless, scientists can estimate the risk and the frequency of such events quite well, Harris says. Here is a rough outline of how it's done, he says: "In round numbers, [this risk] is dominated by very large events that would kill about a billion people, and happen about once in a million years—thus, in round numbers, about 1, per year.

Poisson Process and Poisson Distribution Basics

Present [NEO] surveys have found about 90 percent of that risk, and provided assurance that no such event will happen in the next century or so from the 90 percent we have found. So the leftover short-term risk is around [per] year, as tabulated.

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On the other hand, it is also unfortunate because…it has distracted attention from the central messages of the report. The report, which came out in January and with which Boslough otherwise fully agrees, reveals that the scientific inventory of Earth-threatening space objects asteroids and comets , especially the smaller ones that are most likely to impact our planet, is far from complete and unlikely to improve significantly without a greatly increased funds for NEO search programs.

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And our preparedness, if scientists found a moderate to large asteroid with our name on it, is weak—it'd take at least a decade to mount a space mission to deflect the object. And that might not be soon enough. You have free article s left. She separated from her husband and eventually died of kidney failure in a nursing home at the age of The meteorite did bring good fortune to one of her neighbors. McKinney told his postman, writes the Decatur Daily , who helped him get a lawyer to negotiate the sale of his find. In the end, he made enough money to buy a car and a house. There was a loud boom and black smoke.

Sixty-two years after her brush with the heavens, Hodges remains the only well-documented case of somebody being hit by a meteorite. But humans have continued to be affected by space junk. In , a pound meteorite crashed through the roof of another home, this time in New Orleans, though fortunately no one was hurt. And in , a meteorite strike made people sick in Peru when it released arsenic fumes from an underground water source, writes Brian Howard for National Geographic.

In , a meteorite exploded over central Russia. One scientist found the lifetime odds of dying from a meteor strike near you to be ,,—to put that in perspective, your odds of being struck by lightning are , The odds of dying as the result of a meteor strike anywhere in the world—like the kind of rare but catastrophic geologic event that shapes an eon—are , The odds of winning the PowerBall lottery?

Meteor: Perspectives on Asteroid Strikes

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Even If We Can Stop a Dangerous Asteroid, Being Human May Mean We Don't Succeed | Space

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