Dr Robert Massey, Royal Astronomical Society
Robert Massey returns with a roundup of news from the Royal Astronomical Society. This month; The history of astronomical imaging, Near Earth Objects and Auroras above northern Britain...
I am a little confused about a subject that often comes regarding the different techniques that might be applied.
Earth gets hit once or twice a century with an object, maybe 1 to 10 meters in diameter. Then the effect really depends on where it hits. Oceans (tidal waves?) Rural, or the very few highly concentrated urban areas.
Imagine the politics of one big hit and some possible diversion but not avoidance!
I do not think one trillion dollars would buy enough anti matter to zap an asteroid considering the rate at which it is produced at present. syhprum, Sat, 28th Jan 2012
If the Earth was at stake I suppose I would expect there to be a few more missiles heading towards the offending target then ONE! Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket....... Then the question might be, what levels of radiation can we treat as acceptable in such a scenario.
Capturing an object would require both altering the course, and slowing it down significantly. Perhaps using lunar slingshot to dump velocity into the moon. Could you use atmospheric braking without breaking up the object, or loosing it?
A 10 Km diameter size asteroid would be perfect for building an orbital space station on. Even better if it had some ice present and other useful resources.
Moving an object that is 1021 kilos would not be easy.
How big does an asteroid need to be so that when you blow it up, its own gravity pulls it back together? Chemistry4me, Sun, 29th Jan 2012
Yes I suppose it would be rather hard to calculate even as a purely theoretical exercise. Chemistry4me, Sun, 29th Jan 2012
Energy of moving is more useful than energy of blast for a changing of asteroid direction.Only attack should be early.Electromagnetic lunar accelerator can do it. simplified, Sun, 29th Jan 2012
I guess what they did in the movie Armageddon wouldn't have worked in real life Chemistry4me, Sun, 29th Jan 2012
A few things.
Astronomers have been pretty good at predicting what will not hit the planet, and are now tracking thousands of NEOs.
Should we bother to defend against them? There are numerous supervolcanos waiting to blow which will have the same effect, so it might be best to focus our efforts into working out how to get the world's population through events of that scale instead of worrying about much lesser threats from space.
Maybe instead of all the money in the world going into the production of things made to kill each other we could use that money to become that adventurous traveler who decided to abandon war over dwindling resources and leave Africa for a better life.
I suppose one should find it disturbing that in lay-terms, impact events are often described in "Hiroshima Bomb", or Tsar Bomba Equivalents
Maybe there something similar exists already. ::) simplified, Tue, 31st Jan 2012