[ExI] libertarian (asteroid) defense

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Tue Mar 1 00:30:52 UTC 2011

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> On 02/28/2011 02:42 PM, Anders Sandberg wrote:
>> If you calculate the expected number of fatailities times the 
>> estimated frequency distribution of impacts, you get numbers like an 
>> annual risk of dying of 1 in 2 million (a lifetime risk of 1 in 30,000).
> The numbers I have seen lately have been adjust as to the probability 
> of a > 1 km impact.  The latest I have seen range from 1 in 200,000 
> to  1 in 700,000 argument from
> http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/10/13/death-by-meteorite/. 

The numbers should be declining with time too, since Spacewatch and the 
others have increasingly mapped out the unknown NEOs and not found any 
dangerous ones.

I like to point out in my talks that impactors may be a GCR we are 
actually doing fairly well on. We could be doing much better (funding 
for a Venus orbit or L4 satelite to watch for Atens) but we are nibbling 
at the unknown and bringing it down to size. The real headache happens 
either when we find something we need to take action on, or when people 
start demanding that we look for smaller asteroids - then we *are* going 
to find impactors, but the best strategy might actually be duck and 
cover (still, if it gets us into space...)

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute 
James Martin 21st Century School 
Philosophy Faculty 
Oxford University 

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