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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 8

Nov 20, 2021

NASA is tracking a 1,000-foot-tall asteroid that’s headed towards Earth

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

NASA scientists have issued a warning about a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” (PHA) that will fly close to earth in mid-December. The asteroid is larger than 90 percent of asteroids, according to Daily Record, but still smaller than some of the larger reported asteroids. Thankfully, the asteroid won’t come close enough to our planet to do any damage. Near passes like these happen somewhat frequently. But the term “near” is relative when you’re talking about the infinite vastness of outer space.

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NASA predicts that the massive asteroid will pass by Earth on December 11, just a month and a few days from now. The asteroid has been classified as 4,660 Nereus, and NASA does consider it very hazardous. The organization says that the asteroid is almost three times the size of a football pitch — roughly the size of the Eiffel tower.

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Nov 17, 2021

To Save Earth, NASA Is Testing Hitting An Asteroid With A Spacecraft

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, satellites

“We know of no asteroids that are coming in to hit the Earth,” Rivkin emphasizes. DART, he says, is part of a multi-pronged effort to examine the asteroid collision problem. “Asteroid impacts are really the only natural disaster that humanity can see coming years or decades in advance and do anything about.”

NASA calls DART its “First Planetary Defense Test Mission.” Rivkin is the DART investigation team lead at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, which is running the experiment for NASA.

Full Story:

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Nov 11, 2021

Researchers recreate deep-Earth conditions to see how iron copes with extreme stress

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Far below you lies a sphere of solid iron and nickel about as wide as the broadest part of Texas: the Earth’s inner core. The metal at the inner core is under pressure about 360 million times higher than we experience in our everyday lives and temperatures approximately as hot as the Sun’s surface.

Earth’s planetary core is thankfully intact. But in space, similar cores can collide with other objects, causing the crystalline materials of the core to deform rapidly. Some asteroids in our solar system are massive iron objects that scientists suspect are the remnants of planetary cores after catastrophic impacts.

Measuring what happens during the collision of celestial bodies or at the Earth’s core is obviously not very practical. As such, much of our understanding of planetary cores is based on experimental studies of metals at less and pressures. But researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have now observed for the first time how iron’s atomic structure deforms to accommodate the stress from the pressures and temperatures that occur just outside of the inner core.

Nov 7, 2021

That’s Why We Haven’t Met Any Aliens Yet!

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks

Extraterrestrial life refers to life forms that did not originate and are not indigenous to our planet. So this term covers all possible types of life outside the Earth: These can be viruses, but also plant-like life forms. Some go even further: they are looking for creatures that are very similar to humans in their complexity or even surpass them, popularly known as aliens. But if there is extraterrestrial life, why hasn’t anyone heard about it until now? Do so-called aliens even exist? The Fermi Paradox addresses this very question. What approaches there are to this you can find out here!

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Nov 6, 2021

Asteroid the size of Eiffel Tower heading for Earth in December

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Dubbed 4660 Nereus, or 1982 DB, this vaguely egg-shaped asteroid has a size making it taller than the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Washington Monument. It is set to pass by the planet on December 11 at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers and at a speed of 6.578 km/s.

For comparison, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is about a thousandth of that – around 385,000 km. As such, despite being classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) due to its size and close proximity to Earth, it seems unlikely to pose a threat to the planet.

Nov 5, 2021

NASA Is Launching Its New DART Spacecraft. To Deflect Asteroids?

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, space travel

In a concept test for an advanced planetary defense solution.

We are vastly unprepared for the event of an impending, potentially civilization-ending asteroid impact. Knowing this, NASA is developing planetary defense solutions to add to its arsenal of space technologies.

One of these technologies, NASA’s DART spacecraft, is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 10:20 Pacific time on November 23 a press statement reveals. … See more.

Nov 3, 2021

Analysis: Country by country, scientists eye beginning of an end to the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks

“We think between now and the end of 2,022 this is the point where we get control over this virus … where we can significantly reduce severe disease and death,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist leading the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 response, told Reuters.


CHICAGO, Nov 3 (Reuters) — As the devastating Delta variant surge eases in many regions of the world, scientists are charting when, and where, COVID-19 will transition to an endemic disease in 2022 and beyond, according to Reuters interviews with over a dozen leading disease experts.

They expect that the first countries to emerge from the pandemic will have had some combination of high rates of vaccination and natural immunity among people who were infected with the coronavirus, such as the United States, the UK, Portugal and India. But they warn that SARS-CoV-2 remains an unpredictable virus that is mutating as it spreads through unvaccinated populations.

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Nov 1, 2021

Live Q&A with NASA Planetary Defender

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

NASA planetary defender Dr. Kelly Fast has a hard and fast rule: “Find asteroids before they find us.” Working in NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, Kelly is helping send the #DARTMission to test “nudging” an asteroid in space. DART, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is a planetary defense-driven test of technologies for preventing an impact of Earth by a hazardous near-Earth object. DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space. NOTE: the target asteroid is currently not a threat to Earth.

Get all the info on our #DARTMission: https://www.nasa.gov/dart

Nov 1, 2021

Ben Novak, Lead Scientist, Revive & Restore — De-Extinction Biotechnology & Conservation Biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, education, ethics, evolution, existential risks, genetics, health

“De-Extinction” Biotechnology & Conservation Biology — Ben Novak, Lead Scientist Revive & Restore


Ben Novak is Lead Scientist, at Revive & Restore (https://reviverestore.org/), a California-based non-profit that works to bring biotechnology to conservation biology with the mission to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct animals (https://reviverestore.org/what-we-do/ted-talk/).

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Oct 27, 2021

Global catastrophic and existential risks: the weightiest complex phenomena?

Posted by in categories: biological, ethics, existential risks, food

Anders Sandberg, University of Oxford.

One of the deepest realizations of the scientific understanding of the world that emerged in the 18th and 19th century is that the world is changing, that it has been radically different in the past, that it can be radically different in the future, and that such changes could spell the end of humanity as we know it. An added twist arrived in the 20th century: we could ourselves be the cause of our demise. In the late 20th century an interdisciplinary field studying global catastrophic and existential risks emerged, driven by philosophical concern about the moral weight of such risks and the realization that many such risks show important commonalities that may allow us as a species to mitigate them. For example, much of the total harm from nuclear wars, supervolcanic eruptions, meteor impacts and some biological risks comes from global agricultural collapse. This talk is going to be an overview of the world of low-probability, high-impact risks and their overlap with questions of complexity in the systems generating or responding to them. Understanding their complex dynamics may be a way of mitigating them and ensuring a happier future.

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