URL to an article that appeared in MSNBC
Asteroid strikes have been a staple in science fiction - Lucifer's Hammer,
for example, or the opening few chapters of Benford's In The Ocean of Night.
There is also the continuing discussion of what really killed the dinosaurs
65 million year ago. Wasn't there an alt hist in which the Dinosaur Killer
missed and dinosaurs and humans evolved together into co-existing species?
If anyone wants to get an idea of what would happen if a 1/4 mile (440 yds)
in diameter rocky asteroid collided with the Earth check out
First few paragraphs
"ASA has outlined what it could do, and in what time frame, in case a
quarter-mile-wide asteroid named Apophis is on a course to slam into Earth in the
year 2036. The timetable was released by the B612 Foundation, a group that is
pressing NASA and other government agencies to do more to head off threats
from near-Earth objects.
The plan runs like this: Eight years from now, if there's still a chance of
a collision in 2036, NASA would start drawing up plans to put a probe on the
space rock or in orbit around it in 2019. Measurements sent back from the
probe would characterize Apophis' course to an accuracy of mere yards (meters)
by the year 2020.
If those readings still could not rule out a strike in 2036, NASA would try
to deflect the asteroid into a non-threatening course in the 2024-2028 time
frame by firing an impactor at it — using this year's _Deep Impact
comet-blasting probe_ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8464385/)
as a model. Experts would
start planning for the "Son of Deep Impact" mission even before they knew
whether or not it was needed."
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]