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Another Expert Agrees With Dark Comet Theory

February 21, 2013 – 11:31 am | No Comment

Astronomer David Asher (from Armagh University) has agreed with Bill Napier and Janaki Wickramasinghe (Cardiff University) that “dark comets” are real and dangerous.
The following quotes are from a paper by Napier and Asher published in Astronomy & Geophysics.

We know that about one bright comet (of absolute magnitude as bright as 7, comparable to Halley’s Comet) arrives in the visibility zone (perihelion q<5AU, say) each year from the Oort cloud. It seems to be securely established that ~1–2% of these are captured into Halleytype (HT) orbits. The dynamical lifetime of a body in such an orbit can be estimated, from which the expected number of HT comets is perhaps ~3000. The actual number of active HT comets is ~25. This discrepancy of at least two powers of 10 in the expected impact rate from comets as deduced from this theoretical argument on the one hand, and observations on the other, is …

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Home » NASA, Solar Storm

Second Solar Storm Detector Launching in 2014

Submitted by on April 3, 2012 – 11:16 pmNo Comment

Better late than never!

In my recent article on the incredible harm a solar storm could inflict on infrastructure, I pointed out that we only have a single line of defense, and the solar storms it detects could kill it:

When warning us about incoming geomagnetic storms, the NOAA’s only source of data is the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite. It was launched in 1997, and according the the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2009, it is “well beyond its planned operational life”. I take this to mean it could fail any time, and there is no backup satellite! And all current safety measures become redundant – we won’t be able to remove vulnerable equipment from the grid before it is too late. “ACE is a single point of failure and it’s old,” said William Murtagh, program coordinator for NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. “Every time I have a space weather storm I cringe a little bit that our very own space weather satellite doesn’t succumb to the storms I’m relying on it to help forecast.”

Here’s some good news from NASA – a second satellite is due for launch in 2014, and it will sit at twice the distance of the ACE, which means we will get double the warning of a solar storm.

Essentially a large square of extremely thin metal (it’s one eighth the width of a human hair), the sail can be attached to a satellite to cheaply and constantly produce thrust. With a planned launch in 2014, the sail might be able to fly a satellite close to the sun to study solar flares—and alert scientists when one is incoming.

Given that it will only cost NASA $20 million, and the ACE needs replacing, and a solar storm could cost trillions in damages (plus millions of deaths), I’d like to expect that thus project will proceed.

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