When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 3 March 2013

See also, previous columns:
23 Dec 2012: Avoiding the ‘Mother of All Tsunamis’

24 Feb 2013: ‘Wake-up Call’ from Outer Space

Earth in danger

Imagine this scenario in the near future.

Thanks to enhanced surveillance of the skies, astronomers detect a five-km-long asteroid on a collision course with our planet. They also calculate that the impact isn’t due for another…25 years.

What reactions, if any, might this elicit?

As we noted last week, a very early warning in such situations can make all the difference. In this game of cosmic billiards, even a modest ‘nudge’ or pull, done far enough in the trajectory, can deflect a hazardous space rock from hitting the Earth.

But how many governments — or inter-governmental organisations or humanitarian groups, for that matter – can really focus on something a full…

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