On April 13, 2036, the asteroid aptly named Apophis may hit the Earth. Sure, the odds are low (around 1 in 45,000 it would seem), but obviously this would be, as they say, a “bad thing.”

So what to do about it? Well deflect it carefully of course. And, more importantly, who to do it? Why the UN, of course, the world body renowned for its forthrightness, efficiency, progressive thinking, and speed of action. I mean, it’s not like the UN would ever sit on its hands when faced with a crisis of world-shattering prospects. Certainly they wouldn’t dither around while millions of lives are on the line. And, naturally, petty concerns and rivalries won’t get in the way of speedily working to avert a major crisis. I mean, sure as the Earth is a giant cube, the UN is just the group to handle it.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry, that’s the Bizarro UN, from Bizzaro World. But sadly, just as technically, the bathroom of a bus station isn’t considered Bizarro World, technically the actual real-world UN isn’t actually good at doing anything. Except talking. And passing resolutions blaming Israel for all the world’s problems. They are good at that. So if we could convince them that it was a Jewish asteroid…

Hmm, perhaps they should have named it “Ariel Sharon” or “Golda Meir” or some other demon from the UN’s pantheon.

But sadly, as it is, I don’t think the UN’s quite the group for the job. Especially not a job that requires a 300 million dollar mission needing finesse, panache, and precision. Three traits that the UN does its best to eliminate from the hiring pool on any project it oversees. If we task the UN to do this, we can guarantee that when April 12, 2036 comes around, they will have convened another committee to review the results from the Second World Consortium on Stopping Asteriods Using Environmentally Safe Methods Not Offensive to Muslims Which Also, Simply Coincidentally, Shower Debris Over Jewish Areas of That Portion of Palestine Which A Couple Member Nations Call Israel (SAUESMNOMWASCSDOJATPPWCMNCI). Of course, since April 12, 2036 is a Saturday, they’ll have actually rescheduled the meeting for Monday, the 14th.

So, who does that leave. Well, NASA is out, of course. If they can’t even hit Mars more than one time in three, I don’t think we want them in charge of something actually important. And if NASA policy forbids employees from even communicating with a subcontractor enough to ensure that everyone’s using the same units, I don’t think we want them in charge of the Gravity Tractor. “What do mean you imparted 3000 m/s, we wanted 3000 ft/s?” No, this is a recipe for moving the asteroid from one part of Earth, which we can at least predict at some level, to some other part of the planet at random.

Really, who should you trust in a case like this? Everyone knows the actual answer. The US Air Force. Easy when you do the math. Okay, we want a group which:

  • ideally has experience conveying payloads to precise destinations far away (nukes, Cold War, USSR, tiny little silos, just one try)
  • considers 300 million dollars to be a reasonable amount to spend (real problem here is getting them to take 300 million seriously, I mean that’s like 1/6 of a B2 bomber)
  • isn’t terrified up front by the prospect of failure in a life or death situation (Hey, guys, can you build a system that launches nukes on a confirmed launch warning by the other guys and thus ends all life on Earth? No problem, Mr. President.)
  • doesn’t get cold feet at the last minute when death is on the line (arclight, rolling thunder, Operation Linebacker, the Road of Death—okay that last one, not so much, but only because higher ups put the kebosh on it)
  • can say “mistakes were made” with a straight face if everything goes horribly wrong (okay, not so good at this, but only because nothing goes wrong, by definition)

I think it’s pretty clear that the USAF are the guys for the job. Especially if we arrange a high-level briefing for the Air Force brass at the impact site on April 13, with the President teleconferencing (due to his busy schedule, naturally). Now, Pentagon procurement ain’t exactly swift or cheap, but we have nearly 30 years to spend that money, and if we invest the 300 million today at about 5% interest, we can afford the inevitable cost overruns sure to come. And remember, when that waste and corruption comes around, at least it’s going to patriotic American corporations, and not the UN. I mean, those corps may be greedy jerks, but at least they don’t consider child sex rings and drug sales to be the usual course of business…