Mile-wide asteroid may kill us all (in 2028)

Dan Kohn (
Thu, 12 Mar 1998 07:05:43 -0800

According to Slate's Today's Papers:

The NYT has a big illustrated front-page piece on the recent discovery
that an asteroid
tml>, called "1997 XF 11," is likely to pass within 30,000 miles of
Earth (that's eight times closer than the moon) on October 26, 2028.
What's more, there's a possibility it will hit Earth then. The
astronomer making the announcement is quoted saying there is "no
immediate cause for alarm." (That's right--the cause for alarm is thirty
years from now.) We have, he says, plenty of time "to improve our
knowledge of this thing and take steps, if necessary." Steps, like, says
the Times, blowing up a nuclear bomb near the asteroid. The Times also
mentions that two movies coming out later this year deal with the
scenario of threatened interstellar collisions. The producers of those
movies must just be sooo upset about this news.

The NYT article has links to:
Press release and related material on Asteroid 1997 XF11
<> from the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Images of the asteroid
<> from the
University of Washington.

Everyone should get the superb January 27, 1997 New Yorker article "Is
This the End?" by Timothy Ferris. Note that Brian Marsden, director of
the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams at the Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory is mentioned in the second paragraph of the
hypothetical New Yorker account of how a killer asteroid would be
announced to the world. Marsden is quoted in the second paragraph of
this morning's New York Times story.

- dan

Daniel Kohn <>
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