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Saving the Earth from an asteroid could come down to a good paint job

image Scientists and Hollywood can agree on one thing: It’s only a matter of time before the Earth is destroyed. Most likely by an asteroid. Possibly as early as this evening. That's because scientists at the PanSTARRS observatory in Hawaii tell us astroid TB145 will have a near-miss with the Earth tonight around 5:45 p.m. (PST). The discovery of this asteroid was made from the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System on Oct. 10. That's Oct. 10 of THIS MONTH, people! Thanks for the heads-up, scientists! That's plenty of time to prepare for the destruction of civilization by organizing survival kits, loading the car and then driving it off the nearest cliff. Scientists assure us that, although "relatively close" to Earth, TB145 is no real threat. Keep in mind these are the same scientists who, using the most sophisticated surveylance system on the planet, overlooked something roughly the size of the Titanic rolling through our solar system.

ALL CLEAR!

ALL CLEAR!

As expected, this has once again sparked talk of how to deal with an actual extinction-level threat from an asteroid. Scientists suggest the only way to avoid annihilation would be to somehow divert the offending asteroid into a different orbit, therefore altering its path into a collision course with something less vital, such as California.

Until recently, experts believed that the only way to accomplish this would be through the use of nuclear missiles. These missiles could be launched from space and lodged into the asteroid, where they would remain undetonated until reaching the precise location astrophysicists determine would be far enough away to safely deflect the asteroid while, at the same time, still being close enough to scare the pants off of everyone on Earth.

However, a recent study suggests that there might be a more practical way of handling the situation by simply having someone go up and paint the asteroid white.

Wanted: commercial painter. must enjoy air travel. experience with spray gun preferred; will consider brush and roller if time allows.

When do I leave?

When do I leave?

According to an article in Science magazine, changing the surface temperature of an asteroid can lead to a dramatic shift in orbit by creating an uneven release of heated gas known as the “Yarkovsky Effect.” As an illustration, this very same phenomenon has been observed here in the LAP office, where it is known as the “Brainrants Chili” effect; and yes, in both cases there was a notable shift in orbiting bodies.

If it comes down to it, there are essentially three ways of changing temperatures of an asteroid.

The first, as we mentioned, would be to actually paint a large section of the asteroid white. Or maybe even a nice mauve or fuchsia. This would not only induce the Yarkovsky Effect, it could potentially save the entire planet. More importantly, it could also be the first step toward adding some much needed color to what many agree is a really drab solar system.

However, we need to remember that painting an asteroid isn’t without its drawbacks.

For example: What if we get the thing painted, then decide we don’t like the color? Unless we can talk someone into going back, we’ll be stuck looking at a giant, orbiting eyesore.

"My God, that's hideous! And what about that Asteroid?"

“My God, that’s hideous! And what about that Asteroid?”

Of course, this is assuming we can get paint to work in zero gravity in the first place. Even with gravity, it’s hard enough not to lose half the paint down your arm while trying to paint the ceiling. Now try doing it while flying through the air at 78,000 mph and trying to keep your Dutch Boy from floating away in the shape of an orb. Even if we were able to develop a special paint with its own super-gravitational pull strong enough to overcome the vacuum of space, who’s going to lift it?

As you can see from this live ABC remote, Dwaine “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena have just put on their painters caps and are entering the space capsule….

Our second option, according to Joseph Spitale of the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, would be to “put a lot of dirt on the asteroid.” Apparently, this would change the temperature and aerodynamics of the asteroid enough to potentially cause an orbital shift.

Probably.

Now, we’re no scientists here at LAP, but wouldn’t adding tons of dirt also make the asteroid BIGGER?

The good news is that we successfully added an extra 60 tons of dirt to the asteroid. The bad news is that we’ve doubled its size and, consequently, doomed all of mankind. Still, we’d like to thank our premier sponsor, Bill’s Gravel and Dirt….

This leaves us with our third and final option, which is to send a specially trained team of astronauts into space in order to intercept the asteroid and shift its orbit by heating it with a giant hair dryer.

Okay, that’s just a subtle way of saying there IS no third option.

Unless you include nuclear missiles.

Which is really about the only way of guaranteeing we as a species can, once and for all, kiss our asteroids goodbye…

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About Ned's Blog (35 Articles)
I've been a journalist and humor columnist at the Siuslaw News for 16 years. I'm also a volunteer firefighter. If the newspaper ever burns down, I will have some explaining to do. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

20 Comments on Saving the Earth from an asteroid could come down to a good paint job

  1. There are some other less known options that are seldom mentioned Ned. For instance Trump’s hairstylist could be sent up in a space ship to give the asteroid a comb over – this would change the refractive qualities of the the body giving it hot spots that would result in uneven discharge of particles and a course change.

    We could send the population of Florida to the asteroid. This would accomplish numerous great ends – not the least of which would be when it came time to vote whether the asteroid was to hit the earth or not, so many recounts would have to be run that by the time they decided the earth would be long passed and the danger of collision would be gone. As a bonus we would relocate half of the population of Quebec who typically inhabit Florida, to a celestial body with little chance of returning to earth.

    Another possibility is to send Sarah Palin to the asteroid with guns blazing – much like Yosemite Sam – the resultant off gassing from the gunshots would change the trajectory of the asteroid and move it away from Earth.

    See, there are lots of options Nd = no need to fear, we humans are an adaptive species.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m surprised it took them that long to figure out the paint job trick. Nothing like a fabulous ass-teroid, right? Note: there’s how you lure your painters up there.

    Glad you all like my chili.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m racking my brain for ideas, and the only thing I can think of is the world Whip/Nae Naes all at the same time thus causing the Earth to shift off it’s axis narrowing missing the asteroid.

    Like

  4. Yeah, I can just imagine hiring a contractor to paint the asteroid white only to find out that the contractor took the money and is only just getting around to actually painting long after the Earth has been destroyed…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I vote for a rainbow color. I think that could improve our chances, Ned.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. They could try sending a drill team up there to drill a hole in it and drop a nuclear weapon into the hole! Then they wouldn’t ever have to pay taxes again because the governments of earth would be so grateful and….. wait, that sounds like a good plot to a movie!!! LOL! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hahaha. 🙂 I think this is a zombie asteroid. If we’re really quiet, it will just fly by … 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Haha… “like California”. Awesome. Love the humor! Thanks for the laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. One word: Mega-Paintball

    Liked by 1 person

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