Friday, March 5, 2010

Overdoing It

"Killer Asteroids" is on National Geographic this morning. The somewhat breathless title conceals a somewhat run-of-the-mill treatment of Earth-crossing asteroids. As one might expect, the program showcases a number of different astronomers, including David Levy (co discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9), who, we are told, regards Earth-crossing asteroids as "celestial terrorists."

Render unto Caesar a break, willya? "Celestial terrorists?" I understand the idea that many people don't take the idea of the Earth being hit by a large asteroid very seriously - despite the potential for worldwide catastrophe, it's a VERY remote risk. This can make it hard to motivate people to put time and resources toward the issue. But calling big chunks of space rock "terrorists" doesn't seem to be a very good way to change that.

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