Subj: Asteroid 2022 and THREE WISE MEN
Date: 2/8/00 8:20:48 AM Pacific Standard Time

You probably already have this info, though I don't see it on quick glance. DRUDGE this morning had a link to this article in The Sun about an asteroid that may hit in 2022. Yeah we've all seen these stories. What caught my eye though was the mention of setting up a task force of "THREE WISE MEN". What an ODD biblical phrase to find in a discussion of science and astronomers. So I did a search to see if that phrase was just something cute that the author threw in, and it popped up in other articles about this task force. Here's the link to the Sun article from today (2/8) and another from a months ago (1/4) about setting up the task force of "Three Wise Men". I note that the "Three Wise Men" were set up BEFORE the asteroid that may threaten us in 2022 was discovered 1/28. (unless it is one that has been rumored on the web for some time and only officially noted on 1/28). I wonder WHO is on that panel of Three Wise Men... no names mentioned... odd.





The Sun Spaceman

AN asteroid has been discovered on a collision course with the Earth - and could crash into us in 2022.

Astronomers have been monitoring the path of the giant space rock since it was spotted on January 28.

The asteroid, which has been named 2000 BF19, is thought to be about 1km in diameter.

Experts say if it hits Earth it would cause an explosion that could wipe out a city.

Or it might cause a tidal wave that would devastate low-lying parts of the world.

The asteroid is now officially listed as a "Potentially Hazardous Object."

The astronomers' discovery is a chilling echo of the blockbuster movie Armageddon, in which a massive asteroid is heading for Earth.

In the film, disaster is averted when a team of astronauts led by Bruce Willis manage to blow the asteroid in half before it hits.

The real asteroid was revealed by astronomer Professor Andrea Milani, of Pisa University, Italy. He said: "Available observations are not enough to allow us to exclude a future impact. I rate this as scientifically urgent."

Professor Milani appealed for observatories to keep track of the asteroid before it fades out of sight of the world's biggest telescopes.

It is vital that the orbit be calculated accurately to check if it will hit the Earth.

The risk has been estimated by one expert as one in a million - but that is enough for scientists to be taking it extremely seriously.

Astronomers have been urging governments to invest cash in the search for asteroids that might threaten us.

At the moment only a tiny number of scientists are involved in the valuable research.

Last month the British Government set up a task force of Three Wise Men to assess the risks of global catastrophe by a giant asteroid strike.

In August 1998 a mile-wide asteroid had a near-miss as it passed within 450,000 miles of Earth.

Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology recently found there are 700 large asteroids close enough to cause devastation.

Each is over half a mile wide. A hit from a rock this size travelling at 15 miles per second would be the equivalent of 50,000 H-bombs.


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Tuesday, January 04, 2000, 9:18 ET

Asteroid task force to assess risks from space


LONDON (Reuters) -- Britain turned its gaze from domestic worries towards the distant corners of the galaxy on Tuesday, launching a task force to assess the risk of asteroids hitting planet Earth.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's government unveiled a panel of three wise men to examine the threat of collision with what it called Near Earth Objects (NEOs).

"The risk of an asteroid or comet causing substantial damage is extremely remote," Science Minister Lord Sainsbury said. "This is not something that people should lie awake at night worrying about."

"But we cannot ignore the risk, however remote, and a case can be made for monitoring the situation on an international basis," he said.

Sainsbury said the panel of two scientists and a former diplomat would assess the nature of the hazards posed by asteroids and the potential levels of risk.

It would also consider how the United Kingdom should best contribute to international efforts to deal with NEOs.

The government said none of the NEOs already identified posed a threat to the earth in the foreseeable future. But on a wider time scale of millions of years asteroids had caused serious damage to the planet.

"Last year an object passed between the moon and Earth which, if it had hit us, would have done a lot of damage," said panel member Sir Crispin Tickell, Britain's former ambassador to the United Nations.