January 30, 2012

Researching how to stop asteroids from “just dropping in”

Filed under: Europe, Science, Space, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:08

Brid-Aine Parnell in The Register on some of the technologies being explored to reduce or eliminate the chance of unpleasantly close encounters with celestial objects:

A new international consortium has been set up to figure out what Earthlings could do if an asteroid came hurtling towards the planet on a path of imminent destruction.

The project will look at three methods of averting disaster: the Hollywood-sanctioned solutions of sending up a crack team of deep drillers with a nuclear bomb to sort it out, or frantically hurling of all our nukes at it; dragging it to safety with a Star Trek-inspired tractor beam; or hitting it with something we have more control over, like a spaceship.

Sporting the cool moniker NEOShield, the project will explore the possibilities for kinetic impactors, gravity tractors and blast deflection as ways to save our planet from oblivion.

[. . .]

“In the light of results arising from our research into the feasibility of the various mitigation approaches and the mission design work, we aim to formulate for the first time a global response campaign roadmap that may be implemented when an actual significant impact threat arises,” NEOShield boldly stated.


  1. A new international consortium

    The stupid it burns .. it burns.

    We don’t need a _consortium_.

    We _need_ millions of man-hours of experience in space, moving stuff around, doing things quickly, but with all due haste. We need ad-hoc mission so we know how to get stuff done without a years-long lead time to plan. We need best practices based on actually getting things done, not guess-work.

    When the real thing comes we won’t _have_ time to fart around, trying stuff out. We need stuff that works, and we’ll need it quickly.

    This is why we need a moon base – so when a dinosaur killer comes over the horizon we have a reasonable chance.

    Comment by Brian Dunbar — January 30, 2012 @ 15:00

  2. Oh, no! We can’t just do something! We must study the issues, weigh the alternatives, consult with the stakeholders, ensure that all parties are listened to and given their fair share of time and resources. Forming a consultative body to consider the possibility of convening a commission to deliberate on the urgency and immediacy of the issue is the only way to accomplish anything!

    You can’t rush into something like this!

    Think of all the blue-ribbon committee positions to be handed out, the plenary sessions to be attended, the summit meetings to be organized. This is something that will require a whole new organization!

    Comment by Nicholas — January 30, 2012 @ 15:15

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