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Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/28/2010 2:58 PM

We've had our share of discussions regarding an asteroid impact on Earth. I have one more tidbit to add to the pile, that I don't think I've seen. So I'm prompting a discussion on this idea, and asking if it has been brought up anywhere before, that you can remember? I know it didn't really come up in the movie Armageddon.

If an 10 km diameter asteroid coming to earth, moving at 25,000 kilometers per hour will cause the end of life on earth, and the ratio of earth size to asteroid size is 4000:1, then I think the least we can do is shoot a 10+ meter dia solid steel bullet at it, and target for a side impact.

Even to get an object to leave earth, it has to be moving at 40233.6+ kilometers per hour.. (25,000 mph).. so for round numbers, lets say 50,000 km/h.. slingshot round the moon (and/or mars) for steering and boooom!!! way out there the two meet, at a combined velocity of say 75,000 km/h, or greater. if the angle from the moon slingshot was enough to deflect it.. great.. if not, we might have to deflect also around mars and and hit it more sideways. (bullet shooting bullet, I know, but I believe we have already done a version of this) Even a head on collision would help, as it would impact earth with less energy. A side impact with 1/2 or 1/3 of the the energy of a head on impact may be enough to deflect?

the basic idea is to use the massive velocity differential to create a deflecting impulse. I imagine steering can be accomplished with a laser guidance system, which will allow corrections to be made in time, in the 'zone' so to speak. small corrections early on will conserve fuel.

If a SaturnV can go to the moon and back, then perhaps if we boosted a SaturnV with SRB's, it would have enough fuel usable in space to reach some very high velocity differentials.

So this system would be able to impact an asteroid for less than the cost of a moon mission, because there doesn't have to be any allowance for astronauts or science projects, or lunar landing... just fuel, engine, guidance, and payload. I'm sure that steering by the moon and mars are not necessary to achieve the velocities, but they are very helpful in the steering to a side impact.

I'm not a mathematician... Is there a way to rough out the mass/inertia/velocity-of-bullet calculations to make a different on mass X sized asteroids? maybe it should be DU instead of steel? Maybe it could have a nuke to add to the boom, if necessary, although that puts the cost up, and may not produce more than the amount of energy an equal amount of fuel might produce in added velocity.

Here is an image that shows most asteroids being outside the orbit of Mars. Detection is everything as has been said many time.. Perhaps if we had a better plan for defense, we might obtain more money for detection?

I appreciate your thoughts, calculations, criticisms and humour.

Chris

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#1

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 3:11 PM

I was going to ask 'what coloUr is the asteroid', but thought this might be more useful.

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12842

Defending Planet Earth:

Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report

See the mitigation strategies section.

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#2

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 3:24 PM

Thanks Sue,

I think that my idea introduces a method of achieving Side Impact, which can produce a different result than direct impact, which is all I've ever heard about.

Chris

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#204

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

02/22/2020 7:38 AM

If you want to make a bank shot,you should consult an expert:

Shane Van Boening:

https://8cfae304-5d15-403a-ae5e-e106436de284.filesusr.com/ugd/0ac490_0c97e43469834225b282039620d1a909.pdf

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#3

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 3:43 PM

Responding by request.

Per my calculations (someone check me out), the mass of a 10 meter diameter solid steel ball (density = 8 gm/cc) is about 4000 metric tons, which is way more mass than we have ever hoisted into even low earth orbit.

According to NASA, the mass of the entire Space Station is 344378 kg, or 344 metric tons, and of course the Space Station was hoisted into space in pieces, over many years.

So it seems we are not yet there on hoisting a kinetic energy weapon of such mass.

Hardly an expert on such things, but I think that other thought experiments along these lines tended to concentrate on a powerful explosion to either destroy the asteroid, and/or deflect its trajectory.

Given the energy available in a proven technology such as a megaton fusion warhead, that seems to me, as a layman, the way to go.

But I'm all for the project! We need something to replace Constellation...

emc_c

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#4

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 4:00 PM

thank you. solid input. ga.

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#5

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 4:22 PM

If you don't already know about it, you may be interested in the European Space Agency's Don Quijote Concept:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/NEO/SEMZRZNVGJE_0.html

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#8

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 4:54 PM

that sounds almost exactly like what I'm talking about.. Although it doesn't say 'side impact, it does say that the route is 'different for the impactor' than the measuring unit.

ga.

Chris

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#6

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 4:25 PM

Due to weights and speeds and I think it is a mostly a job for robots. I used to want to live in outerspace, but as time has passed it more and more appears as a miserable place to live and work.

Setting robots onto the task mining the Moon, or maybe Mars for the materials to make an Earth Defense System, seems to me the most cost effective route.

Due to variables and the possibility of "Rogue" asteroids and Comets et al, I recommend on station defensive systems with redundancy.

I am impressed that there are Rogue waves in the ocean and feel therefore we would be wise to accept the possibility of Rogue Asteroids, and comets.

Therefore the ideal system would be inplace and available for use at short notice. Sometimes it has been only three weeks from discovery of an asteroid, to note of its passing by harmlessly. Therefore it may well be that first we must determine out of which direction is most likely the threats will come, and put in orbits machines capable of respin deflection, and then go for a totally realized system capable of deflecting the rogues.

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#16

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 8:25 PM

I think Transcendian has the idea. You could launch a much larger (heavier) payload from the moon. It doesn't matter if it is steel or not, it is the moving mass that is important. Robots could fill a container with moon rocks and the whole device could be launched from the moon. It could even be launched and placed in orbit around the moon or earth ready for deployment.

Drew

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#7

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 4:51 PM

Chris,

I hate to burst your bubble.

Side, front, top, bottom, and rear impacts are all forms of direct impact. So you really don't have a new method here. Each approach will certainly require different amounts of kinetic energy to effect the desired outcome. Likely a side impact (orthogonal to the asteroid's trajectory) will require the least amount of energy transfer to divert the asteroid. But you did provide a great diagram to explore the difficulty of this two cushion bank shot.

In the diagram you have five different moving objects, Earth Moon, Mars, impactor and asteroid. All of these objects must be in the right location to permit this bank shot. But The impactor will certainly be so small that it's trajectory will be altered by the Moon and Mars and not vice versa. Now the Moon has a 29.5 day cycle around the Earth, so once every 29.5 days the moon will be in place to provide a gravity well boost toward Mars. {Oh, for a gravity boost to happen in the minor deflection mode you chose the moon has to be orbiting clockwise around the Earth in this diagram. If instead the Moon is in a counter clockwise orbit then this trajectory will slow down the impactor instead of speeding it up.) So one gets one and only one possible Moon assist cycler shot every 29.5 days if Mars is in the right position. Depending on Mars' position these Earth-Mars cycles alignments can then take the impactor from 87 to 280 days to reach Mars. Then and only then can aiming for the rogue asteroid be attempted. So this means that for this approach to be viable, the lethal asteroid must be found to be approaching us from a direction near where Mars will be in 90 days at the earliest.

Can this be done? Most certainly it can be and an interesting premise for another piece of fiction. Is it likely that an asteroid can be found that will sit in the correct orbit with all critical bodies for this to happen? I don't think so.

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#9

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 5:03 PM

redfred,

I'm certainly no expert on this stuff... but have been looking at space books for all my life.. so that helps.

for clarification, I didn't plan on the moon and mars to increase the velocity of the bullet. I thought that side thrusters on the craft would be able to adjust the radius of gravity slingshot curvature around those bodies, and thereby permit gross aiming. I don't understand so much how the direction lunar/planetary rotation affects this. I do agree that having these bodies in a reasonable position relative to the asteroid is important, and probably your final analysis is pretty true.. but I wouldn't put the final answer as one day out of thirty.. but maybe 10 days out of thirty... but without that more thorough analaysis, I can't say.

anyway, good thinking.. on point, highly relevant.. ga.

Chris

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#10

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 5:54 PM

Hi,

unfortunately we are far beyond the ability to act according to your suggestion.

From the link in post 1 there is a clear statement that the coming (a few years from now) generation of new launchers will be able to bring near 35 tons into a planetary orbit with 10Km/s extra velocity (above the needed velocity to leave Earth).

35 tons would be a piece of 4.5 m3 (if steel) - much too low to do more than a scratch to a dangerous object.

The only feasible approach will be a nuclear explosion - preferred a little bit inside the object, but possible with near or at surface blast too.

Sideways is better than head-on as to change an orbit sideways is like moving the object from velocity zero to the velocity needed to travel 6000 + Km within the time to impact. An impact head-on or tail-wise would also change the impulse of the object by m*Δv = F*Δt. If this is done at the perihelion (point of orbit that is nearest to the sun) it will change the the ellipticity by a large amount - but who wants to wait as long to hit it there? Somebody should try to calculate the different reactions.

My feeling is that a sideways hit is more difficult but can be done at any time and is more efficient.

With a high yield nuclear warhead a side-approach has to be at a minimum angle so that some material is available for backing the explosive pressure to expand useless into space. This will be very difficult with the rare (Sudbury tells a tale about one) iron-nickel asteroids. This dense and tough material cannot be penetrated except by the explosion itself. So may be 2 or more explosions are needed in short time intervals. The first one to generate a shower of debris that are used by the second one to dig deeper and explode. I do not think this will be successful at the very first trial.

But with a big object coming there would be the possibility to send a fleet of rockets with suitable warheads and steering one after another into it. With an interval of days and change of velocity of the asteroid of a few cm/s after any of the hits it would be "easy" to have most of the warheads hit at the right place.

Worst case outcome may be a failure to push with enough impulse then the action can be repeated to within the very last seconds before the impact.

Second worse would be a shower of 100m objects - 1000 pieces from a 1 Km object?

Enjoy your life - we will not see this scenario. But we should calculate to be prepared.

Reality is much more cruel.

RHABE

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#11

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 6:13 PM

Here is a little something I found in an old post.

Electro-dynamic Braking:

All electro-magnetic induction processes are composed of three primary components; the excitation field, the inductor, and rate of change. The rate of change can be supplied by velocity of the inductor relative to the excitation field, the oscillation of the excitation field in the presence of the inductor, or combination of the two.

For those of you who may have had the opportunity to empirically experience the fundamental physics of induction through experimentation with a simple hand crank generator, that lesson showed the relationship of circuit load to cranking force, and can be extrapolated to the inductive braking of a satellite or asteroid.

In the hand cranked generator, the permanent magnet supplied the excitation field for the induction process. The rotor, turning a coil through that excitation field, supplied the "Rate of Change" required for induction. The faster the rotor was turned the higher the voltage that was developed across the leads of the generator. When there was no "load" across those leads the generator was very easy to crank even though the "potential" or "voltage" was still being developed across the leads. But when a load, such as a light bulb, was placed in a circuit across the leads of the generator, that bulb created a "load" in the circuit. That "load" was the energy being dissipated in the bulb through resistive heating and light production. Supplying the circuit load with energy required greater force in cranking the generator. The force applied to the handle of the generator was converted to torque by the lever arm (handle) which spun the inductors (coils) at near right angles relative to the magnetic field (excitation field) of the stator. The energy required to spin the rotor was nearly equal to the energy being dissipated by the circuit "load".

In Electro-dynamic braking applications the solar or planet field will provide the excitation field while coils aboard the spacecraft, or the spacecraft/asteroid body itself, serves as the inductor. The spacecraft/asteroid velocity cutting the flux lines of the Solar or Planet field will supply the rate of change component. This induction process will generate a braking force as is inherent in any electro-magnetic induction process. The induced energy will then be dissipated through circuits designed to generate heat for radiative dissipation, conversion to vectored propulsive impulse, or stored for peak power/subsystem applications. Applications of Electro-dynamic braking will include adjustments in semi-major axis and eccentricity; as well as braking to orbit in planetary missions.

Because the orbital velocity of a satellite or asteroid is so high, significant voltage can be developed even though the excitation field may be very weak. The "tether" experiments flown on the space shuttle clearly indicate the validity and potential application of this technology.

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#12

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 6:28 PM

Hi Gavilin, I was hoping you would drop by... given that this is of some interest to you.

I know you wrote a bunch on the other thread about magnetic technologies...

which brings me to another idea. I was recently reading about high temperature superconductors, which are able to superconduct at -373F. This should be achievable in the spaces outside earth orbit...

so... what if a robotic vehicle is sent to the asteroid, where it proceeds to coil around the asteroid, wrapping it in many kilometers of nano-superconductor, engineered to interact with the same planetary magnetic fields that you have discussed.

Do you think this would improve the braking effect? can low temperature superconductors be used on the ion/plasma/nuclear vehicles to increase their boost, and/or gather more insterstellar hydrogen?

Chris

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#32

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 5:23 AM

Hi,

please post a sketch of magnetic field lines to show me how you want to operate this.

RHABE

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#13

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 6:44 PM

Hi Chris,

Love your thoughts, how long have you been snowbound?...(my wife says I have to be nice and not be a jerk or she will take my computer away)

Its possible, not feasable. I would like to capture one and put it in a usful orbit for a spacestation.

Spacecannon

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#14

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 6:55 PM

Hi Mr Cannon,

lol.... I usually get desperate in December before Xmas, and February when I've not gotten enough sunshine.

After Spring solstice, I'm a happy man, snow or no snow. (almost) and we had a pretty decent winter.. thanks global warming.

Chris

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#15

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 8:07 PM

I like the idea of trying to deflect the asteroid, for that is the first asteroid collision prevention/avoidance alternative I thought of. Here's another possibility:

Instead of a single-payload system that we launch that will travel all of the way from the surface of the Earth to the asteroid encounter, have one device, or several devices, strategically placed in geosynchronous orbit. When the times comes, a suitable craft, either manned or remotely-controlled, will swing by, pick up the device, fly to the intercept point, and employ the device.

By having the device "staged" in orbit, that reduces the time needed to get the payload ready for delivery once the need becomes known. Another advantage could be in cost savings, because the rocket that carries that launches the payload could also deliver other payloads into orbit.

Now the question is, what kind of device?

Gavilan's post inspired this suggestion: a Tesla coil or some other artificial lightning generator. Most asteroids have a high iron content. Why not take advantage of this?

Another possibility is a rail gun to shoot a solid projectile at the asteroid.

Of course, these ideas are hot off the griddle and need to be buttered with scrutiny by people more qualified than the humble drafter who offers them, and to be topped with the syrup of research and calculations.

If anyone has offered these ideas before, please be aware that I haven't visited CR4 as much as I used to, and I haven't taken the time to read all the other threads on this subject.

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#17

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 8:41 PM

At sometime most of these concepts have been discussed here on CR4. Doesn't mean we can't discuss them again.

I myself am very much for a redundant planet defense system with both parked and orbiting systems for throw at predicted, or rogue asteroids and comets, as ident and targets of threat is not mature, and has a relatively short history.

Even particle beam systems that propose to lopeside heat and spew push asteroids are dependent on target lock and focus using massive amounts of energy.

Bhankii and Rhabe are and have been very nice about sharing insights and arguing over the systems, and I used their input in my last years April Fools Day Speech.

I shall have great difficulty this year if I declare war on Earthquakes, for to win that one you would have to drill strategic stress relief holes in all the perfect places making building codes look cheap.

It is important that we continue to struggle with the environment.

I look forward to the dirt based drycell that will run all devices in the house made from duct tape and toilet and papertowel tubes, and zip cord.

P.S. While solar panels, geothermal, methane generation from pig shyt, and other systems using genetically altered yams and all are great, along with lithium ion, I wonder what I can drop in the sewage hole to get the power dc to run the house? There is the Septic tank, and hybrid battery. Do we need little dams in the sewage systems that keep the electrolyte at a level so the anode and cathode don't dry out?

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#18

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 8:53 PM

Hi 3Doug,

Thanks for visiting. I think you have some great ideas there. I like the rail gun idea, especially valid if large projectiles can be made from metals on the moon. but that would take decades to put together. Certainly the moon only has one sixth of the gravity of earth, so that makes launching anything more economic, if the supporting infrastructure is affordable, and the technology is simple enough to last, and not require continuous maintenance. and of course your ideas for parking objects or fuel in orbit is just as valid as any.

There is an interpretation of an ancient story that says that the planets were named after the ancient gods, and that when Zeus/Jupiter hurled his lighting bolts at Marduk/Ra, that it is really a story of the planet jupiter hurling lightning at the planet mars on close approach, and that the 'canals' of mars are evidence of massive electrical etching.

the winged disks in ancient clay tablets can be interpreted as planets.

Chris

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#25

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 12:08 AM

Just use one of those pyramid based moon laser things that is supposed to be ancient planetary defense super tech and shoot it to pieces with that.

Post 26 is where it gets a bit interesting if you are wondering. http://cr4.globalspec.com/blogentry/11876

You may need to read just your foil hat and refer to a good copy of the Stargate series first if you are not already up to speed on things. Oh yes and don't for get to consult Dr. Spock's big book of geometric gibberish as well. You will never get the "crystalline limestone" to resonate without being able to calculate the geodynamic trifecta point without it!

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#27

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 1:48 AM

it wasn't claimed that the great pyramid could deflect asteroids, only aircraft. It was reported to be able to communicate with the home planet.

no tin foil hat required. just an open mind.

Chris

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#70

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 5:14 PM

Seems to me that a good anti aircraft weapon needs to be compact, portable, easily aimed, and easily concealed. Kinda the opposite of what a pyramid stands for.

Being that us "field monkeys" have already figured out that subatomic particles can be interlinked and then separated to produce an effect that allows these separated particles to interact with each other over vast distances instantaneously this concept alone makes for a possible theory and likely workable near future design for a potential trans-galactic range cell phone device that would fit in the palm of your hand and work in real time without that problematic speed of light time lag of decades to centuries between the two callers on different planets!

If we beings of inferior intelligence and intellectual capacity have allready figured this stuff out it rather makes these ancients with supposed superior knowledge and technology seem to be quite a bit lacking in the common sense aspects of what should be the obvious for designing any type of practical defensive or communications equipment for in field applications. If these beings came from a different solar system I would think that a society capable of interstellar travel technology would have likely came up with something for basic communications and defenses that didn't weigh in at a few million tons.

Most of the things that the pyramids are supposedly able to do or did can be seen to be completely useless, impractical and outright just dumb as any type of practical application device. We now do that stuff every day and have been able to do for well over half a century with common and basic devices.

60+ years ago full voice communication between the Earth and the moon could have been done with plug and play vacuum tube tech that fit in a few suitcases. And all but the most advanced aircraft we have today can be shot down with basic military issue anti aircraft weapons that are able to be carried by a one or two people as well. No giant piles of rocks are required in either case.

Thats just some of the issues I have with this pyramid nonsense and the full blown lack of basic common sense that tend to follow and attempt to support it.

up until the last 100 years those supposed abilities of the pyramids where great science fiction to tell around the camp fire. Unfortunately by todays standards its just fodder for the tin foil hat cultists being we have already greatly surpassed those mythical technological achievements the pyramids where associated with some decades ago.

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#78

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:21 PM

On the 'common sense' and 'logical' level, I agree with you. All I really ask however is any theory to fit the evidence. There exists a large body of archeological, clay tablet evidence that must be explained. To date, the only one's that have come close are people like Zecharia Sitchin, Jeff Dunn, et al.

Logic has little to do with history, and has led us astray more often than not in that regard.

With your explanation of us, using radios in that last 50 years (actually invented by the genius Tesla ~115 years ago), you are invoking 'advanced' technology that, if you consult Egyptologists, would not have been available. That begs the question where did they develop the basic idea of electromagnetic waves upon which radio is founded? Nevertheless, the evidence is for maser communication/weaponry, not radio.

Also, as you know, with a normal radio signal, the wave is an expanding sphere that decreases in intensity with the square of the distance. That makes broadcast radio ineffective at reaching planetary distances. Again, Maser is the way to go, as it has all the necessary properties of coherence for distance, and high frequency for atmosphere penetration.

Here is an image of a spacebased microwave weapon using a concave mirror to focus the energy to deal with issues of divergent beams.

So here is an isometric of the grand gallery. Assuming there was some purpose in creating this shape, precise to decimal points when it was new... give me a theory what that purpose might be.. please use all the available evidence in your essay answer... I think that it brings to mind the bevelled ends of the original ruby laser at 23 degrees. (sorry can't find current reference... will look some more)

did you know that a few thousand 'things' were found near the pyramid, and that they would serve perfectly as helmholtz resonators. (as shown in Dunn's diagram) He figures that sound energy was converted to piezoelectric energy in the King's chamber.

anyway.. as much fun as this is, it is a bit off topic unless we can use the technology to divert asteroids.

Chris

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#19

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 9:55 PM

Thank you for the invite!

Celestial billiards is a fun game.

My question is (assuming the Moon is the first sling shot), why would we need Mars as a sling shot candidate when the Earth is so close and a larger mass?

Then again, my celestial math is not quite up to snuff, so I could be off my rocker.

Seriously, I think the plan has merit, but it relies on a few precursors. One is that we have enough time to plan and execute far enough in advance to pull it off.

The second is that the planets we need to boost the projectile to the velocities needed are in the correct position.

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#20

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 10:07 PM

just for the side impact... if mars isn't available, then earth-moon combos are fine if something is added, otherwise just a straight bullet through the heart of the asteroid is all we can do.

Thanks for the vote of confidence AH... but as was pointed out, mars will not always be available.. so we will have to have a multipronged approach...say a bose-einstein atomic laser... sun shielded, super cooled and superconducting in orbit around earth.

on another note... I think that a lot of asteroids may be largely ice, and therefore nuclear blasts will be so much more effective due to the expansion ratio of supercritical steam of (I think) 400 to 1.. so if nukes are set off inside it. along a line, then it will hopefully split in chunks, and the extra pressure will aid the splitting.

then being ice, the may melt on entry into our atmosphere (depending on size of course) and come down as steam or water rather than ice.

Chris

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#21

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 10:20 PM

"so we will have to have a multipronged approach..."

Or, a cheaper alternative is simply a pair of Joo Janta Peril Sensitive Sunglasses.

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#22

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 10:56 PM

Most working guys have more than one tool in the toolbox.

Been reading up on Audie Murphy.

Somebody asked me the other day what I do. I said, "What's in front of me." I wanted to smack the smartass for what he said, as we were at a bar and a beer was in front of me. -Wasn't what I meant.

Generals in command of combat troops are smart enough to have engineers, grunts, and more than one strategic or tactical offensive plan.

In the case of asteroids and comets the work is defensive.

There simply is no need for Earth to engage in offensive war with asteroids or comets.

Oakley Thermonuclear Dive Team went into sunglasses.

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#23

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 11:08 PM

I'll respond to the sentences I understand:

"In the case of asteroids and comets the work is defensive.

There simply is no need for Earth to engage in offensive war with asteroids or comets."

I'm a Golden Rule guy, but in the case of asteroids, I think it advisable, because it is not a living thing, (I think?) to Do Unto It Before It Does Unto You.

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#24

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/28/2010 11:43 PM

"In the case of asteroids and comets the work is defensive."

Why, I think we should get to work on an immediate preemptive war against them. That is what we do.

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#39

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 11:16 AM

Hi Chris,

There must have been a lot of snow in Alberta this winter. Anyhow - - would a nuclear explosion generate heat in the vacumn of outer space? There are no atoms of nitrogen, oxygen, etc.(known as atmosphere) present to be rubbed together in the explosion to create heat from the friction of the sudden expansion of the explosion. Just wondering.

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#40

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 11:27 AM

Ah, how do you think we get energy from the sun?

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#42

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 12:49 PM

yes, the nuclear chain reaction of the fissioning atoms (assuming it is a fission bomb we are speaking of) creates a release of energy directly, which includes heat. Certainly as the other forms of energy interact with local atoms, as you are suggesting, more heat is created, and that will not occur. The energy will simply remain as it is without other atoms to interact with, and radiate off into space, giving us all a nice tan.

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#79

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:27 PM

Hi,

"the nuclear chain reaction of the fissioning atoms (assuming it is a fission bomb we are speaking of) creates a release of energy directly, which includes heat"

This energy is from a small fraction of the warhead's mass that undergoes fusion or fission and the energy is mostly contained in fast neutrons, protons, electrons and fast fission fragments.

These have to collide with multiple atoms or particles to slow down from MeV to eV so that we can speak about heat - still hot enough to evaporate everything.

These collisions are likely and with best efficiency done with some evaporated material of the object. This is needed to bring the necessary mass of the explosive down as much as suitable.

So we will really need a trigger some few microseconds above the surface of impact. The nuclear reaction will take some few microseconds too (?), then the ultra-energetic - but not yet expanded - ball of energy and mass shall impinge on the asteroid, penetrate by impulse and heat, heat up the surrounding material and throw out as a burst of evaporated or molten material. This is to either fragment or blast to pieces the object. (10 Âµs will translate into 500m distance at a velocity of 50Km/s).

As small underground nuclear explosions on Earth did create voids of 50 to 300m diameter, a nuclear explosion inside an asteroid will very likely result in a fragmenting - unless the asteroid is above 10 Km in diameter - that one would require a big explosion.

To get the nuclear explosive device out there - today illegal - very likely the UN will approve that action, else a joint effort of nuclear armed states is likely.

To boost the throwing power - not sufficient from todays ICBMs - except if a smaller than planned mass is transported, we can use bundling of boosters.

This is a well known technology - so why not either use very small nukes or bundle the launch vehicles? With the new disarmament treaty between Russia and the US there will be 1500 ICBMs obsolete!

So in total two scenarios are suitable:

A.: fast response within hours or days or weeks: launchers (may be more than one) with one or 2 or 3 nuclear warheads. Maybe this to be designed as a penetrator: spiking of the explosion by mass enclosure into one direction. Or as a two detonator device.(with 10 or so Âµs delay time, the first to open a pit or channel, the second to enter this and blast the asteroid to fragments).

B: slow response (years) against a big threat (above Km diameter). With a tug-boat to get another asteroid to a collision. Or an electric gun on moon. Maybe a vapor gun will be more efficient? This is likely to be more efficient than bringing the energy to the threatening asteroid.

RHABE

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#81

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:34 PM

RHABE,

great post.. thanks.

there is also the solar lens idea.. a huge steerable lens placed near the orbit of Mercury, and used to focus energy on the offending asteroid.. if melting it will do anything.

any solution is fraught with technical issues...

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#88

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 4:04 AM

Hi,

"huge steerable lens"?

to illuminate an object that is 300 million Km away and is 2 Km in diameter will require an optical quality of surfacing that is far beyond anything we can do: 1:(3*108).

1:106 would be a super-good optical lens or mirror.

So this too is "unobtainium".

RHABE

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#91

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 7:36 AM

The original idea of sending up Bruce Willis is sounding better and better.

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#97

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 11:58 AM

Hey, can we start a list of who we would like to send? I have a few people I'd like to see on a doomed asteroid..

I'm jus' sayin'....

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#98

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 12:29 PM

My biggest concern with "whom" you send to an asteroid is that they might be coming back.

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#102

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 2:00 PM

Not a problem, unauthorized rentry will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of physical laws... =b

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#74

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 5:52 PM

chrisg288,

A couple of comments on your asteroid diversion post. Excellent topic, by the way.

Your initial message talked about Saturn V's having gone to the moon and back successfully. None have. Several of their payloads have, but I think stages 1, 2, and 3 all fell back to earth (or went to other places besides the moon).

The comment in this message that nuclear blasts might break-up an asteroid that is largely ice, and later just disintegrate in our atmosphere into water and steam sounds like a positive. At least compared to getting hit by a mass of nickel-iron. But wouldn't the water droplets/water vapor/steam still be somewhat radioactive? Maybe not. I don't know how long the water molecules would hold their radioactivity in space, assuming the blast was 1 to 6 months before impact. Would any persisting radioactiity just go into the Van Allen radiation belt and never really reach the surface??

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#75

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:01 PM

I think compared to the solar wind, radiation from a nuclear blast(s) in near-Earth orbit would be like "heavy rain" compared to "moderately heavy rain."

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#77

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:03 PM

guys, getting hit by an asteroid moving at interplanetary speeds, whether you get hit by a single chunk or a whole bunch of gravel is really irrelevant. you are just as dead because the kinetic energy has to still go somewhere. That "somewhere" is the earth. it won't be in the atmosphere long enough to vaporize at the closing speeds we are looking at here. I expect what'll happen is that it will enter the atmosphere going so fast that the bow shock will be moving at close to mach 50 or more. the asteroid(s) itself will be in a low pressure region behind the bow shock.

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#90

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 4:23 AM

Hi,

energy concentration plays a vital role in big damage.

So distribution of kinetic energy into many small chunks will be lifesaving.

Any of the chunks reaching Earth as you stated. Entering ground, yes, but explosion will be limited and cratering much smaller than with one big impactor.

Same as encountering a swarm of mosquitoes when driving a bicycle. This is survivable although disturbing: hundreds or thousands or ten-thousands.

But thousands (100g) in one piece at 70mph???

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#94

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 9:11 AM

RHABE, read "Lucifer's Hammer" by Niven and Pournelle, it is somewhat dated, but the math is valid. it addresses just that issue.

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#82

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:37 PM

Ya I don't know really. I do know that some of the energy will be absorbed by the water, and converted to verious types of energy. (Cerenkov radiation, heat, etc)

but I do not know the final result of that one...

Chris

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#83

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 8:06 PM

Wrote, attempted to post. Problem.

Question was, if the UN is so flawed, what other institution will work?

Is NATO it?

Full post lost.

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#84

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 8:46 PM

I think we have a censor lurking round... that's the second post that has disappeared. I wish they would leave a marker or something.. or have a link to an edit log for a thread... to show what was removed.

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#85

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 10:17 PM

Maybe its the report button that is getting a work out? 2 reports=delete? Automatic thing like with the GA's? Lucky the PM's are not edited or are they?

I'll get back to it, Ky.

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#86

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 10:32 PM

Hi Ky,

that might be it... but I don't think anything very offensive was said, and as far as I know, nothing personally offensive... so I can't imagine that someone pushed the report button. but, maybe CL isn't the person at the controls anymore, and we have a new moderator with a different view on 'acceptable behavior'?

for sure it is not an easy job keeping you lot in line!

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#96

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 11:56 AM

I am certain the PM's are moderated, but nothing can be done, as they are apparently 'private'.

And, Admin has hired a new bunch of moderators that are all on their very best behavior, deleting any and every thing that may be misconstrued as "offensive" <or original, thought provoking, or in anyway humorous...> to any one. Welcome to the new, plasticized, sanitized, Disneyfied version of CR4! Your personal observations, thoughts and ideas will be filtered through our standards...but we refuse tell you what they are...AND they seem to change daily....

<sigh> I miss the old days...

This post will also be removed in 3...2....1.....

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#104

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 2:06 PM

Kinda sounds like Apple and it's App Store rules.....

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#92

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 9:04 AM

T-man, I noticed my post is missing too, but to answer your question, none of the above. Any body that must deliberate is by definition going to be too slow and ineffectual to make a difference in a fast moving and fluid situation. There are very narrow and limited circumstances where a totalitarian dictatorship is useful, this might be one of them.

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#95

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 10:56 AM

A Good King is a good thing. Tried and True/ and nothing new. RSD

I Like Ike! Anyway it will be interesting to see what the Russians end up doing. I really don't know exactly what their plans are. There are known threats, and unknown threats.

Last time we discussed Asteroids we did cover the fact that they are hard to see, and even got around to discussing ways to light them up.

Fact is NASA and SETI and others have done some incredible work. While we don't necessarily have in hand a Planet Defense System, it is impressive really that we could. Wasn't that long ago at all, that we couldn't even fly.

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#205

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

02/22/2020 7:55 AM

Asteroids coming in from in front of the sun are VERY hard to see,some are impossible.

Such an object was the Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia.

It's radiant was close to the sun.

This meteor was only around 20 meters in diameter and released the equivalent of 400 to 500 kilotons of TNT.

Imagine hundreds or thousands of these striking the Earth.

Fragmentation of a large asteroid is not a solution that we could live with.

Perhaps a solar orbiter ,similar to SolO could be deployed to detect such objects.

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#89

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 4:17 AM

Hi,

if we can fragment the object than the fragments will have some m/s sideways velocity. Thus the size of the swarm of fragments will soon be bigger than Earth.

Result is first that the energy is distributed: no longer a super-problem.

Result is further that many fragments will miss Earth!

The remaining radioactivity is not from activated water but from the remains of the explosive.

VanAllen belt is able to catch charged particles only. (If not too fast).

RHABE

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#93

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 9:09 AM

RHABE, your point about the sideways vector is somewhat true, IF (and this is a big if...) you have time to disperse the swarm in time to disperse it to a large enough cloud.

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#99

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 12:30 PM

Hi Rorschach,

we need only 10 days in advance and a sideways velocity of 6m/s.

Any mechanism that would crack a solid ice-, stone- or iron-object will store so much elastic energy inside the object (immediately before cracking starts) that this velocity-requirement will easily be met.

Likely 1 day in advance will suffice.

The only doubt I have is the penetration mechanism into a solid iron-nickel object.

Maybe this would need a linear hollow-charge (nuclear), not extending over the full size of the object but maybe 5 % of the smaller diameter. Just enough to initiate severe cracking, and enough to open a crack and start its fast growth until rupture.

If excess energy is available then cracking into many objects - if not then only 2 or failure. If failure then next trial.

"Lucifer's Hammer" I did not read - I know its a fine story. But it neglects the initial velocity change after a split of the object.

Small forces suffice to smear the parts over considerable distance. Takes some time but efficient. See the results of Shoemaker-Levy comet on Jupiter.

RHABE

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#100

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 12:51 PM

You didn't read Lucifer's Hammer but you know that it neglects something. That alone says something about you.

I remember the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet impact on Jupiter quite well. One of the plumes from impact of one part of the comet was larger than the Earth if I remember correctly. So I would hardly call break-up of an impactor always a viable solution.

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#101

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 1:09 PM

Shoemaker-Levy 9, was no slouch, and the largest fragment was a couple hundred kilometers across, which created that large wound in the Jovian cloud cover.

The breakup was due to gravitational tidal forces as the comet was drawn into Jupiter's gravity well. Looked like a string of pearls.

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#103

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 2:04 PM

yes, and the sideways vector was completely obliterated by the forward vector too. Everything is relative. (but we won't talk about my relatives....=b)

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#26

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 12:22 AM

Let's send Bruce Willis up there. HE'LL know what to do!

That being said, we can slingshot masses off any planet and moon, including Venus and Mercury.

As concerns speed and such: the further out we punch a body out in space, the less energy we need to do it. A slight correction adds up over time, so that a nudge can suffice to make a body miss Earth by a wide margin.

Note that asteroids between Mars and Jupiter aren't much of a problem .. almost all of them stay there. The problem's with comets and rocks with off-kilter orbits or trajectories that come from every which direction; it's also from rocks like Apophis, which have an orbit similar to Earth's that's slightly inclined in relation to Earth's, which makes the asteroids rise above, intersect, and fall below Earth's orbit .. if the Earth is in the same place as an intersection point at the intersection time ... ka-pow!

Amusingly enough, we're due for a close miss with asteroid Apophis in 2029. It'll pass by Earth at a distance slightly less than that of the orbits of geosynchronous satellites. Fun thing too .. it'll do so on a Friday the 13th (Gaaaaaaah! :O). No worries, though .. odds are less than three percent that we'll get annihilated. I've read that chances are around one in 37 ... which makes me realize that some people bet on single numbers when playing roulette ... and there are 38 numbers (1-36, plus 0 and 00) ... and people think that odds are good enough for winning .... GAAAAAAAAAAAH! :O

You know, it's at moments like this that I contemplate about personal attitude. To optimists, we're on a winning streak; to pessimists, we're due. SOmeone really SHOULD do a study on this.

Cheers (I hope)! DZ :-S

P.S. And of course, I'll be 66 in 2029 ... JUST past retirement age. Be fearful ... Cosmic Irony has EVER been my foe. And the Friday the 13th thing is just icing onthe cake.

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#80

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:29 PM

"And the Friday the 13th thing is just icing onthe cake."

Why, are you a Masonic member or other form of Templar Knight?

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#28

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 2:00 AM

I would have thought that if we could get to it before Mars, then even hitting it direct on with 0.1% of its apparent mass and slowing it would then allow Earth to advance far enough through it's orbit that the slower body would then "just sail on through" behind us.

We only need it to miss. The WORST thing we could do is to obliterate it into "tiny" pieces the size of a bus where some maintain their trajectory AND velocity. Newton would then sit there and say "told you so" as all the tiny pieces continue on the path and bombard the surface of our one and only home.

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#29

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 2:40 AM

Someone must have predictive software for calculating planetary positions, to be able to figure out just how much deflection is required for any given asteroid?

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#34

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 7:13 AM

Yes, NASA and a host of other organizations are engaged in this. NASA's JPL does NEO (Near Earth Object) tracking.

NEOs are asteroids, comets, meteoroids, and missing socks that have orbital paths that cross near earth. The JPL catalogs these and assigns threat numbers to each that represent their risk of intersect with Earth based on orbital calculations. That catalog is updated continuously.

There is a whole network of individuals and organizations, both professional and amateur that work on discovery and tracking of potential NEOs.

The realities of of fending off a potential impact are frightful. We have had many surprise visits with little or no real warning and we also have large objects that we have been keeping an eye on for a long time.

Unfortunately, there is no one simple solution to fix or defend ourselves from this fate. However, there have been several proposed solutions that vary from kinetic kill, boost assist by planting a chemical or ion drive booster on the surface of the object, and thermonuclear weapon (either direct hit or proximity burst).

The latter has several issues. One, is international laws and treaties prevent the launch of nuclear weapons into space, and two, even if you hit the object, you may only fragment it and still end up with the object hitting you in pieces.

Surprises

Early this year, object 2010 AL30 made a surprise pass just 76,000 miles from us. That is less than half the distance between Earth and Moon. It was discovered January 10th and passed by us January 13th. That was three days notice!

If 2010 AL30 had intersected our orbit it would have been consumed in the atmosphere, but still produced an airburst explosion with an effective blast yield of about 100 kt (kilo ton). Nagasaki was hit by a 13 kt nuclear blast, for comparison.

Estimates of 2010 AL30's size was about 10 meters and it had a rather slow velocity of just about 10 km/s (Earth's escape velocity is 11 km/s and your commute to work is about .028 km/s for comparison). Nevertheless, just hitting that object is like trying to shoot down a bullet with a BB gun.

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#35

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 9:51 AM

Nice summation AH. And a GA.

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#45

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 12:55 PM

great! ga

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#87

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/30/2010 1:19 AM

In addition to your excellent post, and I don't know if it has been posted before, but I don't think it is in this thread, but this wiki is pretty comprehensive, and touches on virtually everything we've covered here in terms of basic strategies.. (except side impact, nets and few others.)

but they really have great writers... it all sounds so... official and professional like. (wonder where they hid their tinfoil hats )

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#30

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 2:48 AM

Ive heard about the shotgun effect regarding blowing up incoming asteroids from physisits in the past, but personally i would rather get hit from a shotgun at a 100yards than a 30-06.

Spacecannon

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#43

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 12:50 PM

I agree... and greater surface area means more opportunity for our atmosphere to shield us, and burn the pieces up.

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#31

Re:Cosmic life insurance

03/29/2010 3:57 AM

G'day Chris

What you are really asking for is a cosmic life insurance. I think that can be done.

I heard just a few days ago that the USA an Russia are cutting down there nuclear arsenal. Well, there you go, it will be good for something after all. Here is what I suggest:

1. Take all the unused nuclear weapons and send them to a collection point, in orbit, somewhere, one by one, tied together with duck tape with harmonized guidance systems, waiting for the final order. Strength in numbers kind of thing.

2. Stop building new weapons and finance the insurance this way. It is like a normal insurance only with the difference that if the impossible happens (whenever) payout is guarantied.

3. Getting them off the planet cuts the danger of them being used here permanently and frees up funds for other stuff, not only creating a constantly growing super bomb in space.

4. It would be something that all countries could participate in and would be something like nukes for the worst case scenario. If nothing happens? Well, at least the stuff is off the planet.

These roughly 5000 warheads could throw a surprise attack out of tilt, you bet. Just getting them there will take time but even a normal life insurance can take 40 years until payout, unless the company went broke in the meantime, then you get Eff all.

Imagine something like your scenario would happen in 50 years time and our grand, grand children would find out that there was this chance of killing two birds with one stone and we missed it!!

Any life insurance broker with a computer model around here?

Any weapons dealer?

Not necessarily in that order, Ky.

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#44

Re:Cosmic life insurance

03/29/2010 12:54 PM

Hi Ky,

1) I really like the numbered lists. I think I will adopt that for all future posts... It makes the engineering part of me feel safe.

2) can we put all the insurance lords in with the package of nukes we deliver to the asteroid... then as they are all crying for forgiveness, we will be polishing the red button!? (maybe its too early in the morning for such romanticism)

good thinking Ky,

Chris

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#33

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is coming our way! but wait....

03/29/2010 6:35 AM

It's a matter of momentum. How much momentum can you put into your "bullet" compared with the amount of momentum possessed by the 10 km asteroid (mass x velocity). After the collision, the asteroid+bullet has the combined momentum, which alters its velocity vector a very tiny bit. Hit early enough, it might make the difference between a collision with earth and a near miss. Given enough time, there are probably ways to impart a greater change in momentum, possibly a nuclear powered thruster of some kind, ejecting mass from the asteroid in a direction at right angles to its trajectory.

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#36

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 9:51 AM

I honestly don't know the efficacy of impacting an asteroid. If it's a loose conglomeration of material it might just absorb your bullet. Even if you crack it into little pieces, by the time it reaches earth it may have pulled itself back together under it's own gravity.

But, with regards to how you get it there, I would forget about strapping boosters to a Saturn V, and look at Ad Astra's VASIMR plasma rocket. This could be left in very high earth orbit, powered by plutonium, and launched when needed.

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#48

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 1:03 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_Specific_Impulse_Magnetoplasma_Rocket

sounds interesting... but now that the NASA budgets are cut back... how are such organizations funded?

Chris

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#52

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 1:57 PM

As I keep trying to explain over and over - NASA's budget has not been cut. NASA's budget has been increased, twice in the past year and a total of \$6billion over the next 4 years. What was cut was the Constellation program, which frees up \$billions to be spent on new technology projects, in particular, ion and plasma propulsion technologies.

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#53

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:02 PM

Well its good that you have been repeating..thats the first time I heard it. some people, you just have to whack them on the side of the head eh?

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#56

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:04 PM

Sometimes repeatedly and at high velocity! =b

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#37

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 9:57 AM

Chris, the Russians are way ahead of all of us....

The problem with impact as a means of deflecting asteroids is that many of them (perhaps even most) aren't all that terribly solid, they are actually conglomerations of gravel and dust that have clumped due to gravitational attraction, they aren't solid by any definition of the term. any impactor would simply go right on through and not deflect anything to speak of.

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#49

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 1:19 PM

"they are actually conglomerations of gravel and dust"

I think that the fact that comets vapourize and condense in their orbit around the sun is indicative that a lot of ice is contained in these bodies, and I would assume that the asteroids are the same.

I don't disagree with your statement about them being conglomerations... it makes the game rather like a snowball fight with snowballs meeting midair, and exploding... we just need a larger, but lower density impactor... Perhaps if we are able to create a large impactor on the moon, it can be foamed concrete (from moondust), rather than solid.

If we can make concrete on the moon, now that there is water located, then we can make lauch ramps 6 times higher than we can on earth. and using the rim of a canyon to launch with makes great sense. then there is the BiFrost scheme proposed by Marshall Savage which can accelerate masses on a maglev style launcher, and then use a laser array to vapourize an ice pack on the bum of the launch vehicle. the expansion ratio of the ice to vapour provides final velocity thrust. this is a practicable scheme on earth.. much more so on the moon.

Chris

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#57

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:12 PM

My thinking is a large net that is escorted to the asteroid with "bolos" which would be small plasma or ion rockets flying in formation with the net between them. then as the net "impacts" the asteroid they swing around and lock together to close the bag forming a knuckle for a later spacecraft to lock onto. then you have another small craft with a furled solar sail as it's payload intercept and lock onto the knuckle and then unfurl the sail and let the solar wind do all the work.

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#58

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:15 PM

I like that. strength of net is obviously an issue... but given that... there are numerous configurations of net capture that could make a difference. ga.

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#59

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:19 PM

Not really, strength of the net is going to be a function of the forces the solar sail can generate which will be quite small, but constant. Any of the aramid fibers currently in use would be well more than adequate I would expect.

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#60

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:51 PM

yes, sorry for that.. when I wrote that I was thinking about rocket boosted nets so. I missed the part about the sail.

Chris

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#66

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 4:10 PM

Prior to last years speech when a war on asteroids was declared, I considered the net and bean bag approach. I also considered the trailing bullwhip approach.

These may fall under the Spiderman Strategic Planet Defense System Plans.

They may be flawed for defense against Asteroids ought not be so taylored as to only work for one size.

I see that the speed of the Asteroid determines the correct response. It would appear that it would be nice to have knowledge of what we have, or could make that would counter the threat, first for interception, and second for redirection.

It appears to me that the Sticky Burn Blob approach would have the most universal impact regardless of the size of the Big Rock Threat, due to Newtonian realities of outerspace.

The burrowing burn charge implanted as a repulsive engine is possible. I think it important to know what we can hit the damn asteroid with that will stick to it, and burn like a rocket engine, so to change its course.

The problem is two part. One part is the delivery system. The other part is what to deliver.

The problem with the slingshot systems is that they require prior long ahead knowledge of the threats, and cannot be expected to possibly react to the 3 day scenario that AH has clearly said could be the case. Hence the need is for a system that will enable targeting and delivery of an effective asteroid deflection method with the capability to be activated within a very short period of time.p] At least that is my understanding of the problem, in longterm, midterm, and short term threats from known and not yet known asteroids.

It would appear to me that the ideal system would be a Asteroid Death Ray, since light is fast. The Ion Propulsion system does have the potential of attaining great speeds, but last I knew it was estimated to take 5 thousand years for such a creation to accelerate to 99 percent of the speed of light, at which point it was supposedly hitting a wall.

Whereas Star Wars technology has a mixed record around town, it may offer solutions for asteroid defense, I am unaware of right now.

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#71

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 5:18 PM

A laser may actually offer some help in that ablating one side of the surface would provide a tiny nudge. There are at least 3 significant problems:

1. The object's trajectory and the position of such a laser may not be anywhere near optimal for a side strike, which is the area of the object where you get the most bang for the buck.

2. The object may have a very high albedo and reflect a significant amount of energy away.

3. The object will probably be rotating, so you end up smearing the contact point significantly and dissipating too much energy over the whole surface or the area of contact rotates and nudges the object in a unpredictable way.

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#72

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 5:26 PM

Minor point here but wouldn't a high albedo help instead of hinder here. The light will have reflected so twice its momentum will have been transferred.

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#73

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 5:29 PM

Yair, I forgot about the rotational smear problem.

Wonder what a light type sticky burn bomb charge would be?

Thanks.

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#38

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 10:45 AM

All we have to do is change the vectors of the objects involved, enough. We can do this by adding or subtracting energy of any kind to the system, which we can apply as direct energy or mass. In sufficient quantity given the point of application, simply doubling the mass of the object would be enough to deflect its collision course, due to the effects of gravity of its surroundings.

As others have noted, the closer we let it get before acting, the more deflection we need to apply.

With all that room and all those directions to choose from up there, the likelihood of a direct head-on collision with Earth is infinitesimal. So we could increase its velocity along its current vector, or slow it directly in order to achieve the desired deflection.

Friggin' lasers could push it aside, but they'd probably be ground-based in a "point defense" arrangement and therefore would need to be very powerful.

We could lob ICBMs at it, but they aren't designed to travel very far/high, so it's another point defense engagement. We'd probably fry all of our electronics with EMP so why would life be worth living anyway?

Either of those direct energy applications could detonate it into fragments, which would contribute to our survival chances since our atomsphere and planet can better manage a dispersed addition of energy/contaminants than a concentrated one.

One alternative that no one mentions is slowing or speeding up Earth. (There are good reasons to not consider it. But if we could slow ourselves down, we could likely also speed ourselves back up in order to restore our comfortable orbit.)

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#41

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 12:45 PM

"One alternative that no one mentions is slowing or speeding up Earth."

Interesting... It is like we are a boxer, trying to fight with a swarm of bees, but we don't have the ability to dodge, or rope-a-dope. If we can't get any significant mass into orbit, we can't even use it as a shield... if we could drag another unmoving asteroid into the path, we could have a 3 billiard ball scenario, (one being earth) causing a deflection.

The only method that I have ever heard of to 'move the earth' is harmonic antigravity, (which we haven't been able to implement yet) but I don't think such a thing will work as the earth is not being accelerated in it's speed, only in its orbit/distance to sun, and it's relationship with the moon of course.

What method were you thinking of, btw?

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#46

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 12:56 PM

I didn't say "move the earth." I already know how to do that, or so my wife/girlfriend says. (Thank you! I'll be here all week.)

As for slowing or speeding up our planet, I'm more of a concept guy. I'll leave the implementation up to younger bright-eyed engineers. But I've heard that everyone jumping at the same exact moment is supposed to accomplish something.

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#47

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 12:58 PM

I was thinking of flushing at the same time, but jumping will do.

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#51

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 1:28 PM

That is TOO FUNNY, Chris!

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#55

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:04 PM

well it was while it lasted... but now it appears to have been vapourized by an impactor.

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#54

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 2:03 PM

But the problem is aligning all those vectors!

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#50

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 1:21 PM

If only we could all 'move the earth' at the same time...

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#61

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 3:11 PM

What about simply moving one of the smaller asteroid floating in the area in the path of the big brute to divert it a little. Just enough to miss earth and get to the sun or another planet to get some good pictures of the crash...

We don't need to send tons of weight ins space, it is already there. Just send a few boosters and some directional controls.

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#62

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 3:24 PM

The asteroid belt may well hold the solution, as it should be a tremendous source of materials. Hopefully we would be able to find the mass in a correct trajectory to be able to deflect a rogue asteroid (def: one which threatens earth) as well as the fuel, metals, and wealth, to be able to perform such feats.

If all there that is there is ice, then perhaps it will not be as economical or possible.

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#65

Re: Oh Crap, an Asteroid is Coming Our Way! But Wait....

03/29/2010 4:04 PM

I always thought it was comets that were ice, asteroids from the belt(s) were rocky/metallic.

I am certain that astronomers know the makeup of the different asteroid zones. As for the solidity, the net and sail looks good to me. As has been already said, not much force needed if you have enough advance warning.

If we get the solar sails working, small robot packages could meet and deploy the net then deploy a larger sail to move said asteroid.

Only problem I have with the concept of solar sails is if the wind comes from the sun, how do they slow when they near the target? Sailboats slow through friction with the water.

Drew

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