(Ann Arbor, Michigan) A University of Michigan space scientist is worried that global warming is increasing the risk that an asteroid could, one day, collide with the Earth. The seemingly impossible connection is due to a basic law of physics: when a gas is heated, it expands.
"Some large meteoroids have skimmed the outer reaches of Earth's atmosphere, skipping off back into outer space", said Professor Charles Boyle, chairman of U. of M.'s Near-Earth Asteroid Team (NEAT). "As the atmosphere warms, it expands outward, potentially capturing large asteroids that would have otherwise been a near-miss. It seems that the dangers from global warming just keep mounting up…like the national debt."
Now that all reputable scientists agree that global warming is the greatest threat to face mankind since the secretly-thwarted alien invasion of 1955, it seemed that just the warming alone was enough to strike terror in the hearts of Earth's imperiled inhabitants. But this new connection between global warming and the asteroid threat makes immediate action to avoid planetary collision just as important as avoiding planetary meltdown.
"Our NEAT researchers have been feverishly calculating the risk enhancement factors associated with the thermal expansion of the atmosphere", said Prof. Boyle, as several scientists nearby made animated gestures as one of them guided two billiard balls past each other. "We hope to have risk assessments in place, ready to assist future defensive measures that might be taken to divert potentially dangerous asteroids from colliding with the Earth."
Other researchers we contacted seemed unfazed by the findings, one stating, "I'm sorry, but if the problem has not already been addressed at OUR research institute, it can not be very important."
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