[ExI] Asteroid Defence (Was: Re: META: Overposting (psychology of morals))

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Wed Mar 2 19:16:40 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 07:57:12AM -0800, Ben Zaiboc wrote:

> Yes, I know these arguments, my point is that while all this is fine
> in principle, I don't think we'll have any chance of actually doing
> this for quite a while, mainly because we can't predict the path of an
> asteroid accurately enough to know for sure that it will hit the
> earth, until it's too close to feasibly do anything about it.  This

Don't need certainty; can simply push anything that remotely might hit
the Earth to an envelope where it certainly won't.  That raises the
costs in having to do more nudging, but lowers the costs in terms of not
needing as much force.

> I strongly suspect that a practical defence against
> civilisation-destroying asteroid strikes is simply too difficult for
> us, at least at this point in history.  It's rather like the idea of
> establishing a global network of solar power stations.  Great in
> theory, we could do it if there was the will and universal agreement
> and all the financial, political and social aspects could be ironed
> out, but it's not gonna happen this side of the singularity.

Stuff that's technically but not politically doable becomes doable if
you change enough minds.  Universal suffrage was a pipe dream until it
wasn't.  Giving up won't change anything, though.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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