Latest blog post: An unforseen hiatus. (2023-01-02)
I wanted to pause on some clearly finished scene, but it is what it is. The corona approached suddenly, but for almost a year, the comic was able to somehow maintain a consistent episode release schedule, which was an achievement for me. For the coming holidays, I need to recover and refill my buffer, so see you in January!
I just wanted to express my appreciation. I found the comic a few days ago (how ever did I miss it for so long!), I just went through the archives and the Wiki. This is some remarkable word building you did! I also like how you managed to make your aliens, well... alien.
Added to my reading list, will come back in January. I wish you well for the holidays! And please watch out for COVID-19 - nasty bug!
[experts] are saying
entered the [atmosphere]
The military needed to say something, but they might be painting themselves into a corner PR-wise. Besides the obvious, they're claiming the capability to shoot down a meteor "nearly as large" as the Chelyabinsk one, which weighed 11,000 tons and mass for mass carried ~40 times as much kinetic energy as TNT can produce.
Enjoy your vacation. I for one would definitely take a scheduled hiatus over a spotty update schedule and/or author burnout.
Such a claim wouldn't get past certain folks in certain corners of the internet that are heavily discredited, like 4Chan, but for most people the scale of such things is not well comprehended.
It's certain though that some onlookers will come by, and the story will have to develop some new mutations to survive nosy people, and not just the people hiding alien lifeforms on their couch. I'd expect claims of radiation, aftereffects and so on, real concerns for sure, but something the present idiots probably doesn't believe in.
Depending on the year, it's possible the military would have had some sort of technology in place, since there have been near misses with interstellar objects, of which the referenced event is one, and I have found via sources such as InfoWars (don't even start) an incident dating back to 2013 of allegations the Russians may have used their air defense systems to intercept a meteorite, though the Russians denied the claim publicly. With enough ordnance, you can perhaps actually do something to alter an incoming object, but the size and mass of such objects makes it difficult to do so. Bunker busters or better type ordance would be required to effectively intercept an object like this, if I had to guess.
Scifi is great.
Chelyabinsk was estimated to be a 20M object with a 0.64 MT areal burst. The Barringer crater meteor in Arizona was estimated to be a 50M iron object with a 10 MT ground impact. Chixalub by comparison was a 10 KM object and impacted with 80 Million MT of energy. It would take a good lead time and a lot of energy to stop or alter some of these objects.
Well fortunately, unlike missiles, jets, or other manmade objections, rocks don't jink or fly in otherwise erratic patterns to evade. Sure, they have a lot of velocity behind them, but they're far more predictable than anything our defense systems are designed to stop. And hey, if one doesn't do it, the next ten or so might. Or, at the very least, reduce it's velocity, and reduce or transform the kinetic power of the impact.
We don't know the IC year though. It's entirely possible this is some capability that is entirely reasonable with the military tech on hand. Or they're lying through their teeth, or it's theoretically something they could do, but haven't because that's typically not something needed to be done, or they hadn't the equipment in place yet.
There are options here besides blanket skepticism and doubt that it could happen at all. It's just an engineering problem after all.
With enough of a lead time (read: years), an Earth-crossing asteroid could be deflected with a relatively small amount of energy, by landing some sort of nuclear or solar-electric engine on the object and applying force to gradually bend its course away from the intercept vector. Or if the asteroid has a spin, it could conceivably be dug into and weakened (or its spin accelerated) to the point where it breaks into multiple diverging objects, none of which are on the original course. Ofc for a rock (let alone a metallic object) measured in kilometers, a "relatively small amount" of energy is still huge.
I personally support developing intercept technology of the install-an-engine variety, because I think bigger than just deflecting a dangerous asteroid. Once the engine is in place, you could start thinking about steering it into an actual Earth orbit, ready to host a space mining operation. Landing equipment on an asteroid is definitely possible, the Japanese have already done it and even gotten samples back.