It sickens me to read about all the different plans for dealing
with a potential asteroid strike if one is ever actually found.
All the articles, movies, etc. I have seen take the approach of
choosing one idea that they think is best, then send it out into space,
and then what do they do? THEY WAIT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
Why do they wait? Because WAITING "COSTS" LESS "MONEY".
Sweet mother of pearl, if I were in the position of deciding what
to do if an asteroid were approaching, I would send out one new space
probe every other month under the assumption that ALL PREVIOUS PROBES ARE GOING TO FAIL.
Only when one of the probes actually verifiably blows that thing out
of our path will I stop sending more probes.
If it takes 10 years or so for a single probe to reach the asteroid,
this lets me try 200 times to save humanity instead of 4 or 5.
Sure, maybe I waste 150 probes, but how much is really wasted?
Some relatively small chunks of metal.
People who dare to even HINT at assigning a "COST" in "DOLLARS" to such an
endeavour should be put in the Hall of Most Idiotic Morons.
What is "COST" when it comes to issues of global scale?
What we call "COST" is really just us shuffling some bits of paper
from one part of our planet to another part.
Or these days we're just shifting around some electrons.
It's not like we're paying a bunch of space alien contractors
to come get rid of the asteroid for us in some kind of inter-planetary commerce.
ALL THE MONEY STAYS ON THE PLANET!!! IDIOTS.
Or they might be more clever and say there is a cost in the amount of time it
takes to perform the task, but this is already bounded by the number of years that it will
take the asteroid to reach Earth, and that number is going to
be small by historic proportions.
Besides, even if we could have been developing other technologies
during the time we took, what if we fail? All the new goodies
we made would have been for naught. So any new goodies made
during that time should be saving-humanity-type goodies anyway.