Beating nature at biology doesn’t mean you’ll still be able to live forever if a the ground opens up, buildings collapse on top of you, you’re buried under hot ash or you’re swept away by a wall of water. Will we one day be able to prevent natural disasters, who knows? Maybe increased earth monitoring we’ll be able predict when its coming and get out of the way, or we’ll even have personal survival suits like those developed for off-piste skiers – super advanced ones that throw an unbreakable shell around you when disaster strikes… but those are a long way off.
For now, we’ll just keep track of some of the major natural disasters that hit our planet as a reminder that health and physical improvements are only part of the picture – if you’re living forever eventually nature is going to strike you.
Natural disasters – BBC Earth
Information on avalanches, earthquakes, floods, forest fires, hurricanes, landslides, supervolcanoes, tornadoes, tsunamis and volcanoes.
Defending Planet Earth – US National Research Council (NRC)
Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies (2010)
The objective is to detect those that may collide with Earth.
Asteroid Almost Hit Earth Yesterday – Outer Places – 16-Apr-2018
Asteroid 2018 GE3 passed by Earth at half the distance to the moon.
Scientists only had a few hours’ warning before it closed in.
Estimated to be between 157 to 361 feet in diameter.
Three to six times larger than 10,000-ton Chelyabinsk meteor.
NASA plans to use nukes against a killer asteroid – Digital Trends – 12-Mar-2018
NASA has designed Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response craft.
8.8-ton HAMMER would be able to alter the orbit of an incoming asteroid.
Either by crashing into a small one or detonating a nuclear device on a large one.
Asteroid named Bennu has a 1 in 2,700 chance of striking Earth in 2135.
Asteroid Hunter Tasked With Saving Earth from Killer Impacts – Motherboard – 12-Jan-2018
Rare for asteroids to survive passage through the atmosphere to cause damage.
Lindley Johnson is NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer.
Was for several years the sole member of NASA’s Near Earth Object Observation program.
Responsibilities fall into three main categories: detection, deflection, and emergency preparedness.
In 2020, NASA will launch the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
This will ram a spacecraft into a binary asteroid system to test our planetary defence apparatus.
Seismologists produce new 10-year big quake forecast – Stuff – 19-Dec-2017
Improved understanding of how larger earthquakes cluster in time and space.
Forecasting is also being helped by research into slow slip events.
Geonet producing 1-year and 10-year forecasts including probabilities of large events.
An element of human judgment still goes into the new forecasts.
NASA Fails To Spot City Destroying Asteroid – Tech Times – 9-Dec-2017
Only spotted the day after it skimmed past the planet.
Asteroid 2017 VL2 was just over 100,000 km from Earth – about a third of the distance to the moon.
Could have annihilated life within six kilometers of the impact area.
Measuring around 20-30 metres in diameter the space rock belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids.
First international asteroid tracking exercise proves a success – New Atlas – 8-Nov-2017
An international team led by NASA has tested the International Asteroid Warning Network, which successfully tracked a potentially dangerous asteroid.
In addition, scientists were able to deduce the asteroid’s shape and clock its rotation, giving it a “day” of 12 minutes as it tumbles as well as spins.
The odds of the Earth being struck by a large asteroid are small, but fact that even a small asteroid can deliver the impact of a tactical nuclear weapon, preventing or at least predicting such impacts is a high priority in the space community.
12% chance tech-destroying solar flare could hit in next decade – New Scientist – 16-Oct-2017
In 1859, a powerful solar storm affected the Telegraph systems of the day.
Today it could knock out our electrical grids, satellite communications and the internet.
Estimate of up to $10 trillion of damage.
A new study finds a 12 per cent chance of it happening in the next decade.
Most extreme superflares occur every 20 million years and would disrupt the entire ecosystem.
House-sized asteroid narrowly misses Earth – Sky News – 12-Oct-2017
NASA has estimated that “2012 TC4” is 15m to 30m long (45ft to 100ft) – and in space terms, the asteroid narrowly missed our planet.
Its closest point of contact with earth was predicted to be over Antarctica at 7.40am UK time.
TC4, will return to Earth in 2050 and 2079, is one of thousands of asteroids with a known location.
Scientists Urge Funding For Armageddon-style Asteroid Mission – Universe Today – 22-Sep-2017
Space agencies from around the world are dedicated to develop techniques for protecting Earth from asteroids that pose a collision hazard.
In order to test possible asteroid deflection techniques, scientists intend to send a spacecraft to crash into the tiny moon of the distant asteroid named Didymos (nicknamed “Didymoon”) by 2022 to alter its trajectory.
This mission would be a first for scientists, and would test the capabilities of space agencies to divert rocks away from Earth’s orbit.
Three asteroids give Earth a close shave in a single week – CNET – 20-Sep-2017
Last week three never-before-seen asteroids were discovered whizzing by Earth significantly closer than the vast majority of passing space rocks.
The closest and smallest piece of space Asteroid 2017 SR2 which is about the size of a bus whipped by about 55,000 miles (88,500 kilometers) from us.
How Nepal’s earthquake was mapped in 48 hours – Wired – 28-Apr-15
Over two thousand digital volunteers examine 14,700 km2 of satellite imagery to identify over 3,000 damaged buildings.
Counting the Economic Cost of Natural Disasters – Bloomberg – 27-Apr-15
U.S. Geological Survey estimates Nepal economic losses at 35% of GDP.
Yellowstone supervolcano just got bigger – Science – 23-Apr-15
New lower-crustal magma magma reservoir discovered with 4-5 times the size of know upper chamber.
Natural disasters displaced more people than war in 2013 – The Guardian – 17-Sep-14
Norwegian Refugee Council study claims 22 million people driven out of their homes by floods, hurricanes and other hazards