Go Back   Alternate History Discussion Board > Discussion > Alternate History Discussion: After 1900

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old April 7th, 2008, 02:20 PM
acgoldis acgoldis is offline
Earthling
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Brookline, MA
Posts: 1000 or more
Large meteor which skipped off atmosphere above US in 1972 actually hits

Hi!

Check out the following article:

http://www.newwest.net/main/article/...eball_of_1972/

Now consider the following: instead of bouncing off the atmosphere, the meteor dips a little lower, slows down a little, and impacts near Salt Lake City. The article estimates that the object was "big enough to obliterate a Denver-sized city with a force equal to Little Boy and Fat Man, the uranium and plutonium bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

How would the country have reacted and what would the consequences have been? Nuclear terrorist? Soviet first strike (NORAD picks it up too late) triggering WWIII? The destruction of Salt Lake City?

ACG
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old April 7th, 2008, 06:29 PM
BrianWall BrianWall is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by acgoldis View Post
How would the country have reacted and what would the consequences have been? Nuclear terrorist? Soviet first strike (NORAD picks it up too late) triggering WWIII? The destruction of Salt Lake City?
If NORAD did not pick up anything, then they would not think it was an inbound USSR missile exploding over SLC. If they picked it up late, there still would not be any launches detected prior to the explosion. At first there would be chaos surrounding the event, but I doubt it would start WW3. Too many people involved in the US, even back in 1972, for the missiles to just start flying.

Now that said, if instead of Salt Lake City, say Karachi or New Delhi was hit by the rock, then one side thinks the other has just nuked them. How long until an Indian-Pakistani Nuclear War turns into WW3?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old April 7th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Doctor What Doctor What is offline
Charismatic Cult Leader
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Land of the Odaawaa
Posts: 1000 or more
Quote:
Originally Posted by acgoldis View Post
Hi!

Check out the following article:

http://www.newwest.net/main/article/...eball_of_1972/
If it had not skipped it would have slammed directly into either Calgary or Edmonton.

Interesting WI--what if, instead of an american city getting hit, it was a Canadian city instead?
__________________
Snake Oil novel now available on Amazon!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old April 7th, 2008, 11:30 PM
Bear Flag Oligarch Bear Flag Oligarch is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 98
Like above only moreso.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old April 7th, 2008, 11:47 PM
Thande Thande is online now
Inspector Grumpy Trousers
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Doncaster
Posts: 1000 or more
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor What View Post
If it had not skipped it would have slammed directly into either Calgary or Edmonton.

Interesting WI--what if, instead of an american city getting hit, it was a Canadian city instead?
Nooo! They can't destroy Calgary or Edmonton before I ever get to go there!

One thing's for sure, it would heighten interest in asteroid deflection, which was already rising to prominence in the 1970s IIRC. I bet the space programme gets a lot more cash poured into it, and probably the Apollo Applications Programme is funded heavily along with some sort of space-shuttle analogue. (Or even a revival of that old AH favourite, Project Orion, if people are desperate enough to overlook the nuclear problems?) Perhaps there might be a detente agreement about putting weapons in space, as everyone would be clamouring to have nuclear-armed defence stations (regardless of whether that would actually work or not).
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old April 8th, 2008, 12:18 AM
rcduggan rcduggan is offline
大元帅
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New England Democratic Republic
Posts: 1000 or more
Does this kind of thing (alternate asteroids and whatnot) go in ASB, or is this the right place to put it? I honestly don't know, and would like to be clear.
__________________
Currently planning: "All who want revolution, step to the Left." -- Liao Zhongkai's China
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old April 8th, 2008, 12:18 AM
Thande Thande is online now
Inspector Grumpy Trousers
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Doncaster
Posts: 1000 or more
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcduggan View Post
Does this kind of thing (alternate asteroids and whatnot) go in ASB, or is this the right place to put it? I honestly don't know, and would like to be clear.
It's usually in ASB, but there are issues with that.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old April 8th, 2008, 01:46 AM
Lord Grattan Lord Grattan is offline
quinquagenarian
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Michigan USA
Posts: 1000 or more
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thande View Post
It's usually in ASB, but there are issues with that.
Generally I agree w/you. However, this particular WI is more likely/realistic and less ASB-ish than many what ifs that get posted here.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old April 8th, 2008, 01:51 AM
Hobbesian Hobbesian is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: byzantion
Posts: 109
Somebody with physics knowledge correct me, but as far as i know, a meteor the size of britain can actually be the apocalypse. That is, huge ash cloud, massive greenhouse effect, plants dying, almost unbreathable air.. not to mention the tsunami.. so i guess if the aforementioned asteroid is big enough, we can have a desert world and live in cars with spikes and machine guns attached (duh).
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old April 8th, 2008, 02:06 AM
Mad Bad Rabbit Mad Bad Rabbit is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 759
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Grattan View Post
Generally I agree w/you. However, this particular WI is more likely/realistic and less ASB-ish than many what ifs that get posted here.
Is there a rule of thumb, say, "impactor must have missed Earth by less than 1 lunar distance in OTL" ?
__________________
>;K
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old April 8th, 2008, 10:32 AM
~The Doctor~
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbesian View Post
Somebody with physics knowledge correct me, but as far as i know, a meteor the size of britain can actually be the apocalypse. That is, huge ash cloud, massive greenhouse effect, plants dying, almost unbreathable air.. not to mention the tsunami.. so i guess if the aforementioned asteroid is big enough, we can have a desert world and live in cars with spikes and machine guns attached (duh).
If it's the size of Ireland, we're fucked. It'd probably wipe out all life altogether. Even single-celled organisms.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old April 8th, 2008, 11:41 AM
Riain Riain is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1000 or more
This thing actually entered the Earth's atmosphere, it was that close. Was there any manned spacecraft up at the time? This have passed below it's orbit.

Anyway, if it had hit there would be a flurry of research about hit's in the past, concluding that with this and Tunguska major meteor hits are quite common and we can expect at any time.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.