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Old 08-31-2019, 09:17 PM
Wesley Clark is offline
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In the event of a meteor strike, can some humans live underground until the surface is inhabitable


Imagine a giant meteor hits the earth. Not just one that blocks out the sun but one that will turn the entire surface into fire for a time period.

If people knew about it long enough beforehand, could some of them (by some its obviously going to be the rich, powerful and well connected) just move underground and grow crops via artificial lighting? Keeping people alive isn't hard. All we really need is food, water, oxygen, protection from the elements, protection from pathogens and protection from physical trauma.

Electricity generation would still work. Nuclear, fossil fuels, geothermal, etc are still viable underground. Even if the surface is blasted and solar, wind, hydroelectric are no longer viable for a time period. If need be couldn't the CO2 from fossil fuels be used to feed the crops, which give off O2 that the people breathe?

I'm assuming the military has some contingency plan for this kind of situation. Could a small group of a few thousand people live underground until the surface became habitable again, then go back to the surface? Would it be days, weeks, months, years, decades?

If this did happen, how long would the surface remain uninhabitable (meaning there was too much heat to live on the surface)? I'm assuming crops could be grown via artificial lighting both underground and on the surface even if the sun is blocked out, but the temperature is down (don't know if the surface catching fire will alter earths atmosphere so that it affects crop growth or breathing or not though).
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:30 PM
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I'm going to say "depends", on the size of the meteor.

For something like this (500k diameter meteor)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU1QPtOZQZU

Do you think it matters how "underground" you are?
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:00 PM
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If the surface is literally superheated, geothermal might work better. But I suspect there's a very, very narrow Goldilocks zone between "can't live on the surface" and "can't live anywhere we could conceivably dig to in time."
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:10 PM
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I'm going to say "depends", on the size of the meteor.

For something like this (500k diameter meteor)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU1QPtOZQZU

Do you think it matters how "underground" you are?
Watching that video on youtube is partly why I made the post. However even if a meteor that large hit the earth I assume if you're 50+ feet down the temps will be stable, even if the atmosphere is several hundred degrees you'd be fine.

Here is a graph of temperature underground based on outside temps at 2, 5 and 12 feet. At 12 feet the temperature fluctuations are minor.

https://www.builditsolar.com/Project...g-vs-depth.gif
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:12 PM
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If the surface is literally superheated, geothermal might work better. But I suspect there's a very, very narrow Goldilocks zone between "can't live on the surface" and "can't live anywhere we could conceivably dig to in time."
I'm assuming governments and the wealthy would have set up underground shelters beforehand at least a hundred feet underground that had nuclear power and/or geothermal power stations as well as artificial lighting to grow crops.

If the US military prepares for any contingency, I'm guessing they have self sustaining underground bunkers in case the surface becomes uninhabitable.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:15 PM
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I'm assuming governments and the wealthy would have set up underground shelters beforehand at least a hundred feet underground that had nuclear power and/or geothermal power stations as well as artificial lighting to grow crops.
Yeah, but that's my complaint. I'm having difficulty envisioning something that would make the surface literally uninhabitable for vast spans of time, but a mere hundred feet down all is/can be made rosy over those same timespans.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:54 AM
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I think our best chance is to try to work on a way of deflecting or destroying major meteors before they hit us. That seems more realistic than trying to rebuild society underground (especially when you consider there would likely be major riots where the unlucky people who didn't get dibs on the underground shelter and were left to die on the surface would probably storm the underground shelter). If it were really practical to live underground long-term, then I think we'd see more of that being done already.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:17 AM
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I'm going to say "depends", on the size of the meteor.

For something like this (500k diameter meteor)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU1QPtOZQZU

Do you think it matters how "underground" you are?
Well, that's pretty terrifying. I feel better about this video now that I have read up on what's being done to work on ways to deflect asteroids. Suddenly that seems like an extremely urgent priority.
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:27 AM
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How long are the underground shelters to sustain the inhabitants? Years? Centuries? What happens when the technology starts to break down? Who will repair it, and with what? Life doesn't just go merrily along, regardless of the environment. There are all kinds of problems with this scenario.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:02 AM
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How long are the underground shelters to sustain the inhabitants? Years? Centuries? What happens when the technology starts to break down? Who will repair it, and with what? Life doesn't just go merrily along, regardless of the environment. There are all kinds of problems with this scenario.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkvbZ-e795k&t=0m31s

I'm assuming the rich and powerful will also make sure all the people who can keep society functioning are also invited into their bunker.

I'm assuming a bunker capable of sustaining a few hundred or even a few thousand people for years at a time would cost many billions to set up, but in case of an asteroid attack it could mean the difference between humanity disappearing forever vs just being set back by a few centuries.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:51 AM
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Eh. Know one knows really. Two things come to mind.

1. Man made things fail. The thousands or millions of little bits and pieces of every day life fail all the time. Replacing some from a stock of stored widgets will work for a while of course. Or specialized, or not so specialized manufacturing can be done. But what are you gonna do when you need an XB-457799? Improvisation will be the new specialty, and people that can will be highly valuable. Thinking Apollo 13 here.

2. The social fabric is gonna be a bitch. People are, well, animals. And often act like them.

I think looking at biosphere projects would give some insight to this. While they didn't have billions of investment, and many have been kinda kooky, they didn't work out so well.
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:07 AM
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How long are the underground shelters to sustain the inhabitants? Years? Centuries? What happens when the technology starts to break down? Who will repair it, and with what? Life doesn't just go merrily along, regardless of the environment. There are all kinds of problems with this scenario.
Not to mention having to survive a Magnitude 100 earthquake. That's why my plan for a 500km object impact is to get up on the roof with a bottle of whiskey and a rifle and shoot it down. It has a higher probability of success.
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:18 AM
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A "meteor" is a luminescent atmospheric phenomenon (saw a nice one last night--crossed a little above Jupiter and died out in the Milky Way--wish I could have got it on camera) so a space rock is a meteor for only a few seconds and is not a meteor before or after those few seconds. What is happening here is the exact equivalent of calling an airplace a "contrail."
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:13 AM
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I don’t think we have the technology to allow a multi-year stay underground. There’s simply too much equipment required to support an army of people, and there’s no way that you could fix all the possible failures without a fully functioning technological society.
Look at a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier - they still need to come into port at least every 3 months or so, and they have pretty complete facilities to repair anything that breaks.
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:34 AM
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I doubt we know enough to keep a contained ecology of that sort going indefinitely.
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Old 09-01-2019, 01:49 PM
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Read Neil Stephenson's "Seveneves" for some speculations on the possibilities. He considers three: A space station, submarine life, and life underground. He has all three "working" in some sense, for hundreds of years. How realistic any of this is is not for me to say.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:30 PM
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Yeah, but that's my complaint. I'm having difficulty envisioning something that would make the surface literally uninhabitable for vast spans of time, but a mere hundred feet down all is/can be made rosy over those same timespans.
Depends on what you mean by uninhabitable, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be the sort of scenario where the Earth's surface is burnt to a cinder. What about just there’s a lot of fine debris in the upper atmosphere and large land-dwelling animals can’t survive in large numbers due to a lack of food?

See, I don’t think underground is essential when radiation is not a concern. That’s why you need to go deep for thermonuclear war. What you need for a more run of the mill natural disaster is enough food to last you until the sun comes back and you can start growing crops. An energy source might be nice, particularly if you want to get started on growing crops while you’re underground and need the light, but it’s not essential if you’ve got enough food.

The only thing being underground buys you is perhaps concealment from your fellow man, who isn’t quite dead yet and sure would like to eat again. You don’t need to be deep for that, just out of sight. Once all the surface dwellers have died off from starvation, you’re more than welcome to live on the surface if you can stand the cold, just be sure to bring your food supply with you, and be prepared for roving bands of other hole-diggers who maybe didn’t stash as much food as you.

If the surface dwellers never do fully die off, well, then I guess it wasn’t as bad as you thought.

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Old 09-01-2019, 02:38 PM
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I donít think we have the technology to allow a multi-year stay underground. Thereís simply too much equipment required to support an army of people, and thereís no way that you could fix all the possible failures without a fully functioning technological society.
Look at a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier - they still need to come into port at least every 3 months or so, and they have pretty complete facilities to repair anything that breaks.
Assuming it's not a secret, what's the longest submerged patrol any nuclear submarine's done? Even there though, they can dump heat to, and make air from, water. 2 months? Longer?

I thought we'd, to .999 or so, found all of the 4km diameter plus rocks that could hit us?
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:02 PM
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He has all three "working" in some sense, for hundreds of years.
More specifically, for 50 hundred years.

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How realistic any of this is is not for me to say.
I'll say it--Seveneves would be the worst book he has written in 20 years if he hadn't written Fall.
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:09 PM
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I'm going to say "depends", on the size of the meteor.

For something like this (500k diameter meteor)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU1QPtOZQZU

Do you think it matters how "underground" you are?
Well, THAT was a "cheerful" thought... !
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:15 PM
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Assuming it's not a secret, what's the longest submerged patrol any nuclear submarine's done? Even there though, they can dump heat to, and make air from, water. 2 months? Longer?

I thought we'd, to .999 or so, found all of the 4km diameter plus rocks that could hit us?
A boomer patrol is 70 days. All submerged. Longer sub voyages, especially by SSNs have happened. The longest I could find via Google is 111 days. A sub is limited by it's food supply. Unlike Capt. Nemo and the Nautilus, they can't send out hunting parties.
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:08 PM
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A boomer patrol is 70 days. All submerged. Longer sub voyages, especially by SSNs have happened. The longest I could find via Google is 111 days. A sub is limited by it's food supply. Unlike Capt. Nemo and the Nautilus, they can't send out hunting parties.
Though there are stories of crab dinners, from boats like USS Parche...

I didn't know if there was some unintentionally long patrol that was kept quiet. Something like it's the end of the cruise but, e.g., the Soviets are playing games for the next two weeks, and you're the only boat in the area.

I thought Triton's voyage was longer than 60 days, but I guess not. 111 days sounds really unpleasant.
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:53 PM
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I thought Triton's voyage was longer than 60 days, but I guess not. 111 days sounds really unpleasant.
Any amount of time on a submarine would be unpleasant. Only the very worst people are cast down into the depths of the ocean, banished from receiving the sun's rays until such time as better men and women deem it proper for them to come to the surface again. Thatís why theyíre called sub-mariners. Proper mariners would be up top, basking in the warm light.
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:33 AM
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Assuming it's not a secret, what's the longest submerged patrol any nuclear submarine's done? Even there though, they can dump heat to, and make air from, water. 2 months? Longer?
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A boomer patrol is 70 days. All submerged. Longer sub voyages, especially by SSNs have happened. The longest I could find via Google is 111 days. A sub is limited by it's food supply. Unlike Capt. Nemo and the Nautilus, they can't send out hunting parties.
Exactly. A nuclear submarine is limited only by its food supply (assuming nothing breaks onboard that the crew can't fix). They can distill water from seawater, and produce oxygen by electrolysis as long as they can keep the reactor going, and modern nuclear submarines carry enough fuel to last decades.

I've personally been continuously submerged for something like 4 months when I served on a fast-attack submarine. After some R&R and loading up of food supplies, we then went right back to sea for another 2 months. FWIW, at the end of the 4 months when food stores were getting low, meals were getting a little weird, like chili mac and beets.

If you removed the missiles on a ballistic missile submarine, I'd bet you could load enough food onboard to last for years.

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Any amount of time on a submarine would be unpleasant. Only the very worst people are cast down into the depths of the ocean, banished from receiving the sun's rays until such time as better men and women deem it proper for them to come to the surface again. Thatís why theyíre called sub-mariners. Proper mariners would be up top, basking in the warm light.
It's not always sunny on the surface. I've been through hurricane-force storms in the North Atlantic. They're a lot easier to ride out a few hundred feet below the surface. Any ship on the surface in a storm like that would have likely become a submarine, too...at least once, anyway.
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:46 AM
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Imagine a giant meteor hits the earth. Not just one that blocks out the sun but one that will turn the entire surface into fire for a time period.
So let me understand: "into fire": everything on the Earth's surface is immolated. So you have to survive underground for centuries, and then re-establish a breathable atmosphere above ground while also attempting to start plants growing again? Sounds like a massive undertaking. Not to mention, what effect is this impact going to have on day length, axial tilt (seasons) and (subtly) orbital eccentricity? These are all important parameters that can fuck up livability if they go too far out of spec.
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Old 09-02-2019, 07:26 AM
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Well, that's pretty terrifying. I feel better about this video now that I have read up on what's being done to work on ways to deflect asteroids. Suddenly that seems like an extremely urgent priority.
How far out would need to spot something of that size to deflect it? I'm pretty sure that the 'split it in half' plan isn't going to work for something that size.

As large as it is, you are going to have to apply a lot of force to have any affect at all, right?
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:40 AM
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Or a fairly small amount of force - relatively - applied VERY long before potential impact.

Honestly, one of the easiest solutions is to just shove it to the side a bit and let the laws of motion take care of things. But you have to be way ahead of the game for such to work.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:26 AM
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So let me understand: "into fire": everything on the Earth's surface is immolated. So you have to survive underground for centuries, and then re-establish a breathable atmosphere above ground while also attempting to start plants growing again? Sounds like a massive undertaking. Not to mention, what effect is this impact going to have on day length, axial tilt (seasons) and (subtly) orbital eccentricity? These are all important parameters that can fuck up livability if they go too far out of spec.
I think the one that killed the dinosaurs was 6 miles across and it heated up the earths atmosphere for a while. However it seems to have only been for a few minutes.

IT doesn't have to be a 500 km meteor.

http://theconversation.com/revealed-...mosphere-36606
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:43 AM
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We have never made a self sustaining biosphere that contains more then 3 species. Our spacestations are a moldy unhealthy mess. Biosphere 1 and 2 turned into a sour rat and cockroach infested hell and still needed oxygen pumped in so the people can survive. We would need inputs besides energy to our closed environment. A lot is going to depend on what else we can get from our damaged environment.


Another thing you didn't include in your list of things is the will to live. Without that depression and worse will tear at the health and mental well being of the vault dwellers.


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I'm assuming the military has some contingency plan for this kind of situation.
Perhaps, I do recall they do have plans as to fighting a war with a intersteller species which is vastly superior and devastates any command and control of the government, which was to detach and head into the wilderness areas, or where-ever they can, and act as guerrilla groups to act to discourage they staying, hoping they will leave, then reform the military. So if they came up with that, I'd say they would easily have plans for something that we could cause (using nukes instead of the astroid strike.
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Old 09-02-2019, 05:01 PM
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Read Neil Stephenson's "Seveneves" for some speculations on the possibilities. He considers three: A space station, submarine life, and life underground. He has all three "working" in some sense, for hundreds of years. How realistic any of this is is not for me to say.
You know, I really wanted to like Seveneves because it was a great concept but yeah, the book as written is pretty terrible.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:03 AM
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....Look at a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier - they still need to come into port at least every 3 months or so, and they have pretty complete facilities to repair anything that breaks.
As a person who see the repairs on nuclear ships including aircraft carriers, I can tell you that there are many things the crew is not able to fix. Now if they were all that was left, their make-shift repairs would have to do.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:04 AM
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Assuming it's not a secret, what's the longest submerged patrol any nuclear submarine's done? Even there though, they can dump heat to, and make air from, water. 2 months? Longer?....
A nuclear sub can stay underwater for several months. The food and a few other (classified) supplies are the limiting factors.

I think the only viable power supply for living underground if the surface is too hot for humans is nuclear power. If an impact is going to affect the surface that much, then it think it is reasonable to believe that the air will be too contaminated with dust and ash for diesel generators to work.

Given enough advance warning, an underground refuge could be made, but there is still the problem of a heat sink for the nuclear reactor if a steam plant is used to generate electricity. I suppose a cooling tower could be used, but if it fills with ash or dust, then is stops working. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:31 PM
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According to this article, while the dinosaur-killing asteroid caused a brief period of intense heating, the longer-term effects were cooling as dust and soot blocked the sky for a long time.

So if we're worried about that sort of impact, there's a good chance that humanity would survive. You don't have to stay in a submarine or underground bunker for years, just long enough to ride out the heat wave. After that, sure, it's harder to farm, but not impossible. And you have a nuclear reactor to power lighting and plenty of ocean life to draw from. Head to the tropics and repopulate.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:10 PM
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I'm assuming the rich and powerful will also make sure all the people who can keep society functioning are also invited into their bunker.
But look here, Dr..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZct-itCwPE
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:26 PM
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According to this article[/url], while the dinosaur-killing asteroid caused a brief period of intense heating, the longer-term effects were cooling as dust and soot blocked the sky for a long time.

So if we're worried about that sort of impact, there's a good chance that humanity would survive. You don't have to stay in a submarine or underground bunker for years, just long enough to ride out the heat wave. After that, sure, it's harder to farm, but not impossible.
Let's see. First we burn all the topsoil to cinders, along with all the soil life in at least the top few inches, and all of the pollinators.

Then most of the light is blocked off by dust and soot in the air; which also settles on and blocks the essential breathing pores of anything you're trying to grow.

All the rainfall patterns, and most of the wind patterns, are also going to be knocked entirely out of whack.

I sure wouldn't expect a crop of much of anything under those circumstances.

Life did return to the planet's surface after the previous episodes. But the recovery time's now thought to have been millions of years. I really don't think we'd be able to just pop up to the surface and set up successful farms as soon as the heat level died down.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:35 PM
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What about the tsunami? Of course estimates vary but some talk about a mile+ in height.

Is your bunker far enough away and high enough altitude to avoid the tsunami and it's affects? Sure, you might be in a tight sealed bunker. But once the tsunami gets done maybe there's a bunch of debris covering all your exit doors.

(Of course if the meteor hits your bunker, it's all over.)
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:11 PM
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Any viable underground habitat capable of providing a home for even a few hundred people for the time it would take until the return to the surface is possible, even if only a few years, would cost billions and billions or trillions of dollars and would be improbable to be kept secret, for the time it would take to build the thing. If we had enough time and money to do such a thing it would be better spent diverting, or trying to, the asteroid. Which also is highly improbable, we are unlikely to be allowed the advance notice. And in spite of all the fantasies, we are nowhere close to having the technology to divert an asteroid. Not even close. Not even a small one.

The issue is time. We are unlikely to get much, certainly not enough to devote the entire resources of this planet to the problem.

And for all those who think that surely the government has thought of this and is planning accordingly. Like the movie Deep Impact. Have your worked within the government? Dealt with the entrenched bureaucracy? Believe that the best and smartest people are working for the government and protecting you?

All I can say is don't call me Shirley.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:11 PM
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The bunkers already exist. They are called "decommissioned nuclear missile silos."

Some people have remodeled them into comfy homes. A group of investors was trying to develop luxury condos with stores, a swimming pool, and ultra mongo security.

Sort of Doomsday Preppers on steroids with lots of money.


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Old 09-11-2019, 04:29 PM
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... and ultra mongo security.
Pfft, anything short of mega ultra mongo security is a waste of money.
  #40  
Old 09-11-2019, 04:30 PM
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Let's see. First we burn all the topsoil to cinders, along with all the soil life in at least the top few inches, and all of the pollinators.

Then most of the light is blocked off by dust and soot in the air; which also settles on and blocks the essential breathing pores of anything you're trying to grow.

All the rainfall patterns, and most of the wind patterns, are also going to be knocked entirely out of whack.

I sure wouldn't expect a crop of much of anything under those circumstances.

Life did return to the planet's surface after the previous episodes. But the recovery time's now thought to have been millions of years. I really don't think we'd be able to just pop up to the surface and set up successful farms as soon as the heat level died down.
Those are all really good points, but I think it's still easier to stay alive on the surface than in a bunker. Rainfall patterns will change, but it will still rain. Most of the light being blocked by dust and soot is better than all of the light being blocked by a submarine hull or earth above your bunker, etc. I have no idea if the problems would be surmountable (and of course there's a whole range of different scenarios to consider).

Can you provide a cite for the millions of years to repopulate the planet's surface claim? I'm not disputing it, I've just had trouble finding much in the way of hard numbers on anything.

Last edited by iamthewalrus(:3=; 09-11-2019 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:43 PM
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Let's see. First we burn all the topsoil to cinders, along with all the soil life in at least the top few inches, and all of the pollinators.
Everyone seems to be latching on to the idea that the entire surface of the earth was exposed to a global firestorm after impact. I donít think there is a scientific consensus on this. As bad as a year-long winter followed by still substantially reduced average global temperatures would have been, I've got to believe that enough humans who werenít caught up in the immediate after-effects of the strike (a localized incineration of flora and fauna) would figure something out to ensure humans werenít completely wiped off the face of the earth.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:20 PM
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If the entire planet is immolated, then as already mentioned upthread, you'll lose all plant life and therefore all breathable air. At that point you may as well be colonizing Mars.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:31 PM
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  #44  
Old 09-11-2019, 06:34 PM
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If the entire planet is immolated, then as already mentioned upthread, you'll lose all plant life and therefore all breathable air. At that point you may as well be colonizing Mars.
I disagree, and blame movies like Interstellar for spreading this misconception. Even if all the plant life and all the animal life were lost, and the atmosphere became unbreathable, Earth would still be a vastly superior place to restart life. It would still have an atmosphere (so no need to worry about pressure containment boundaries being punctured and leading to near-instant death for everyone, also the surface would be explorable with just oxygen masks), it would still be closer to the sun and in the temperate zone, and it would still have literal oceans full of liquid water. Oh, and the Van Allen Belt.

And that’s just the first few that come to mind. I’m sure there’s lots of other fringe benefits that would come from having the remnants of human civilization close at hand (like scavengeable construction material, roads, simple tools, etc.).

In short line, the best hope humanity has of surviving in space is the Earth itself, even after a global cataclysmic event, and even if we come up with some sci-fiesque technology like anti-gravity propulsion. Think about it. If you can create an enclosed ecosystem capable of sustaining hundreds of people as they traverse the void of space, how many more people you could support in an equally enclosed ecosystem on or beneath the surface of the Earth/oceans with so many fewer challenges to face?

It will not, IMHO, for as long as Homo Sapiens are likely to exist, ever be more cost effective to lift large segments of the human population off the Earth than to sustain an equal (and likely much greater) population of humans on the Earth.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 09-11-2019 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:45 PM
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I wasn't saying that it would be the equivalent of going to Mars, I was saying it would be roughly equivalent to the task of surfacing from deep underground on Mars since you can't breathe the air either way.

Fair point on the pressure, though. So maybe it would be more akin to Venus?

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 09-11-2019 at 06:48 PM.
  #46  
Old 09-11-2019, 07:09 PM
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If the entire planet is immolated, then as already mentioned upthread, you'll lose all plant life and therefore all breathable air. At that point you may as well be colonizing Mars.
There's plenty of oxygen in the Atmosphere.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:47 PM
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Can you provide a cite for the millions of years to repopulate the planet's surface claim? I'm not disputing it, I've just had trouble finding much in the way of hard numbers on anything.
You seem to be thinking in terms of the asteroid or comet that formed the Chicxulub crater and arguably killed the dinosaurs. It's estimated to have been 11-81 km in diameter and made a 150+ km crater. There's a couple other big craters that get close to or overlap the very bottom part of that size range. The video up top is estimates of what happens if we get struck by a 500 km diameter body. It's a whole different kind of hurt .

Of course we don't have any evidence of anything remotely that big striking us in the last 4 billion or so years. To give it a little perspective, we've only got about a billion years left till the sun cooks us all anyway as it ages.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:03 PM
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The video up top is estimates of what happens if we get struck by a 500 km diameter body.
Only half the diameter of Ceres!

ETA: I think we’d at least see that one coming.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 09-11-2019 at 09:03 PM.
  #49  
Old 09-11-2019, 09:36 PM
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Everyone seems to be latching on to the idea that the entire surface of the earth was exposed to a global firestorm after impact.
I was responding to the video and to the OP, which postulated

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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
Imagine a giant meteor hits the earth. Not just one that blocks out the sun but one that will turn the entire surface into fire for a time period.

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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Can you provide a cite for the millions of years to repopulate the planet's surface claim? I'm not disputing it, I've just had trouble finding much in the way of hard numbers on anything.
On taking a second look for cites, I realize that most of the ones talking about multiple millions of years are talking about return to pre-disaster levels of diversity. For instance:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0118101922.htm

Quote:
The full recovery of ecological systems, following the most devastating extinction event of all time, took at least 30 million years, according to new research from the University of Bristol.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_relea...-aml061919.php

Quote:
A team led by British Antarctic Survey studied just under 3000 marine fossils collected from Antarctica to understand how life on the sea floor recovered after the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction 66 million years ago. They reveal it took one million years for the marine ecosystem to return to pre-extinction levels.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...?noredirect=on

Quote:
Scientists working to understand how life rebounded after the K-T extinction found that it took another 4 million years before biodiversity returned to healthy levels in South America ó making the recovery period 125 times as long as the actual extinction.

And that's short, by global standards, said Penn State paleontologist Michael Donovan, the lead author of a study in Nature this week: North America took 9 million years to recover.
But what we're talking about here isn't a return to full normality, but just a return to being able to find something to eat. So it does look like that would be less than millions of years -- but it might still be a lot longer than we'd be at all likely to survive to see:

https://www.space.com/36239-dinosaur...fe-return.html

The headline is that life returned "surprisingly quickly"; but they mean "quickly" in geologists' terms:

Quote:
it took life on the planet at least 30,000 years to bounce back. The space rock also melted the crust and mantle at the point of impact, making modern scientists suspect that life would have had a particularly challenging time recovering at that location.

Yet a core sample from the crater rim has revealed that, even at ground zero, life managed to bounce back rapidly, closely matching the resurgence of life around the globe. [Wipe Out: History's Most Mysterious Extinctions]

"Life returned to the crater very quickly," Christopher Lowery, a researcher at the University of Texas-Austin, said during a news conference at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference (LPSC) here in Houston on Tuesday, March 21. Microfossils found in the core sample show that life at the crater reappeared after about 30,000 years, roughly when it reappeared in other locations, according to Lowery.
which reads to me that at least in most areas it took tens of thousands of years for any significant life to reappear on land.
  #50  
Old 09-11-2019, 10:07 PM
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There's plenty of oxygen in the Atmosphere.
Even after an impact as depicted in the video upthread? The entire earth is on fire; wouldn't that burn off the oxygen? (He asks, literally from a place of complete ignorance...)
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