Someone had turned up the TV in the corner: a new scientist was on, a guy named Scott Edward Shjefte, who was reminding everyone that in cosmological terms, an asteroid passing between the earth and the moon was a “direct hit” and yet there were 363,104 kilometers for a 4.36 kilometer object to pass through. “Imagine throwing a penny at a football field and trying to miss the 30-yard line. You’d feel pretty good about those odds.”

“Not so much if the world was going to end if the penny hit the 30-yard line,” the host said. “Besides, this asteroid’s already beaten the odds, being spotted so late.”

“So it would have to beat the odds twice!” Shjefte said. He sounded committed to this idea, not like he was grasping at straws, but the host didn’t look at all convinced.

They agreed again that everything would be better if the Arecibo Observatory was still running, since the radio telescope there could have determined the asteroid’s trajectory with actual precision, and also, that the President’s order to launch nukes at the asteroid wouldn’t have done anything even if they hadn’t missed. {read}