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Deflected Asteroids May Keep Coming Back
New Scientist ^ | 11-17-2007

Posted on 11/17/2007 2:07:34 PM PST by blam

Deflected asteroids may keep coming back

17 November 2007

What goes around comes around. Unfortunately, no such karma figures in plans to deflect asteroids on a collision course with Earth, a hearing of the US House Science and Technology Committee was told last week. One big whack will deflect an asteroid temporarily, but does not guarantee safety next time its orbit brings it close.

Asteroid researchers have long debated the merits of deflecting asteroids with a powerful blast such as a nuclear explosion. However, Rusty Schweickart, who heads an asteroid research group called the B612 Foundation, told the committee that the effects of powerful blasts are hard to predict, especially if Earth's gravitational pull acts on the object. An asteroid could pass through one of the "keyholes" that would nudge it back onto a collision course, so once diverted it might need to be steered past Earth to prevent this.

(Excerpt) Read more at space.newscientist.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: asteroids; collision; deflected; earth
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1 posted on 11/17/2007 2:07:37 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

So, to make a long story short, we’re doomed!


2 posted on 11/17/2007 2:09:14 PM PST by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG-49) Freedom's Fortress)
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To: neodad

Better option - put motors on it, get it into Earth orbit, mine the heck out of it.


3 posted on 11/17/2007 2:10:01 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Spktyr

And when we’re done with it we can use mass drivers to send it into the sun.


4 posted on 11/17/2007 2:12:55 PM PST by cripplecreek (Only one consistent conservative in this race and his name is Hunter.)
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To: blam
Rusty Schweickart...no relation to FR's LS (Larry Schweikart).

Nudging the little varmints into a collision course with the sun ought to take care of them.

5 posted on 11/17/2007 2:14:00 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: cripplecreek

Or use the hollowed out shell as either a space station or colony ship.


6 posted on 11/17/2007 2:15:15 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: blam

You don’t have to be a scientist to realize that deflections are just that—deflected— and not permanently resolved problems.


7 posted on 11/17/2007 2:15:26 PM PST by Clara Lou (Thompson '08)
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To: Verginius Rufus

I would loose no sleep if we got the chance to study crater formation in real time, on Mars.


8 posted on 11/17/2007 2:15:51 PM PST by Fraxinus (My opinion worth what you paid.)
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To: blam

Maybe we should build a huge hyperspace button for the planet......

9 posted on 11/17/2007 2:17:45 PM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: blam

Okay, Rusty, so it’s a colosal game of ping pong, but consider the alternative.


10 posted on 11/17/2007 2:19:22 PM PST by Savage Beast ("History is not just cruel. It is witty." ~Charles Krauthammer)
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To: Spktyr

True, they’re already in space so weight isn’t an issue. Thick enough bulkheads will solve a lot of the radiation problems.


11 posted on 11/17/2007 2:20:25 PM PST by cripplecreek (Only one consistent conservative in this race and his name is Hunter.)
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To: blam

Hell, this ain’t rocket science....Oh, wait, it is.... Never mind.

....Bob


12 posted on 11/17/2007 2:20:31 PM PST by Lokibob (Some people are like slinkys. Useless, but if you throw them down the stairs, you smile.)
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To: Clara Lou

It does put the problem off until the next orbit, which may be hundreds of years.

OH WAIT! What with global warming and all, that’s way beyond the time we destroy the earth ourselves.

Problem solved!


13 posted on 11/17/2007 2:20:52 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: blam
especially if Earth's gravitational pull acts on the object.

If an object has mass, the Earth's gravitational pull acts on the object. There is no if about it. See Physics 101.

14 posted on 11/17/2007 2:24:12 PM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: neodad

“So, to make a long story short, we’re doomed!”

Now the only question is: global warming or asteroid?


15 posted on 11/17/2007 2:30:42 PM PST by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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To: 17th Miss Regt

“Context” is your friend...

The next sentence gives you the clue.... “... pass through one of the “keyholes” that would nudge it back onto a collision course, ...”

The idea being presented had nothing to do with “Physics 101” being left out... LOL!


16 posted on 11/17/2007 2:31:22 PM PST by Star Traveler
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To: blam
deflecting asteroids with a powerful blast such as a nuclear explosion.

I'm curious. How does one do this, deflect an asteroid with a nuclear explosion, I mean? To deflect something like an asteroid you need force. A nuclear explosion produces energy which isn't quite the same thing.

ML/NJ

17 posted on 11/17/2007 2:32:58 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: blam
What is the FREQUENCY we are expecting some of these asteroids to come back? If we are talking hundreds of years, it is "good enough for government". The future generations will be able to do likewise, implement a better solution, already dead or enslaved, or have left the planet.

If we are only postponing disaster 10 years, then other more permanent solutions should be investigated.

18 posted on 11/17/2007 2:35:50 PM PST by weegee (End the Bush-Bush-Bush-Clinton/Clinton-Clinton/Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton/Clinton Oligarchy 1980-2012)
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To: blam

If we could nudge them into usefull orbits we could use them as an inter planetary conveyor system. Drop a payload on the asteroid surface when it’s in our neighborhood and launch the payload off its surface when it gets into the vicinity of mars or wherever else we need to deliver to.


19 posted on 11/17/2007 2:37:38 PM PST by cripplecreek (Only one consistent conservative in this race and his name is Hunter.)
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To: blam
So, like, is the point that we cannot permanently solve the problem, therefore why try? Jeez Louise, that is the same argument against SDI.

Besides, we don't have to deflect them, simply delay them long enough for Iran to rotate into the correct position.

20 posted on 11/17/2007 2:42:37 PM PST by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: cripplecreek

Mass is always an issue if you want to move it.


21 posted on 11/17/2007 2:44:07 PM PST by SampleMan (We are a free and industrious people. Socialist nannies do not become us.)
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To: Spktyr
“””Or use the hollowed out shell as either a space station or colony ship”””

{[He whines]}”but that will cost money that would be better seized by uncle gov’t to pay for my welfare check” {[Whine off]}

Seriously, that makes sense, but will never happen through the auspices of gov’t, at least not so long as “We. the People” think the purpose of gov’t is to take from those who have more, and give to “me”.

We get exactly the government we want, whether or not it is the government we should have.. Thats why the founding fathers said that in order for any system of self government to survive, the electorate must be moral AND educated. Pity that we are no longer neither.

22 posted on 11/17/2007 2:44:09 PM PST by MCCRon58 (A man unwilling to fight for freedom and liberty, deserve neither. (Ain't much of a man, either))
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To: MCCRon58

Now there’s an idea, make the welfare check dependent on getting training and being one of the colonists on the ship/station.


23 posted on 11/17/2007 2:45:22 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: SampleMan

Obviously but with enough lead time you only have to move it a little at a time.


24 posted on 11/17/2007 2:46:44 PM PST by cripplecreek (Only one consistent conservative in this race and his name is Hunter.)
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To: blam

They are not looking at the mineral value of these gifts of the cosmos. An asteroid could be captured if they wanted.


25 posted on 11/17/2007 2:48:44 PM PST by RightWhale (anti-razors are pro-life)
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To: ml/nj

Picture a bunker buster. The nuke drives into the asteroid and explodes, a small portion of the asteroid ejects at very high speed in the form of gas and rubble. This force is matched by the rest of the asteroid moving very slowly in the opposite direction.

The fear is that the asteroid is frangible and you end end up with a pile of rubble heading towards earth like a shotgun blast.


26 posted on 11/17/2007 2:49:18 PM PST by dangerdoc (dangerdoc (not actually dangerous any more))
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To: ml/nj

Any blast causes damage by extreme overpressure on exposed objects. A pulse of force.


27 posted on 11/17/2007 2:49:59 PM PST by GregoryFul (is a bear a bomb in a bull?)
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To: ml/nj
A nuclear explosion produces energy which isn't quite the same thing.

Must be something in the detonation that lifts the target into the upper stratosphere. The problem is that asteroids are now seen better and appear to be loose piles of rubble rather than solid objects so a detonation would create several smaller piles still on roughly the same course. Would it be better to spread the collision with earth over an area or let it hit a small area?

28 posted on 11/17/2007 2:53:21 PM PST by RightWhale (anti-razors are pro-life)
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To: NonValueAdded

Excellent cost-effective solution!


29 posted on 11/17/2007 2:55:28 PM PST by MonicaG (In hoc signo vinces)
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To: Spktyr
What, put conditions on the “free” government money?? Oh what a hateful heartless person you are. -grin-
30 posted on 11/17/2007 2:59:00 PM PST by MCCRon58 (A man unwilling to fight for freedom and liberty, deserve neither. (Ain't much of a man, either))
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To: RightWhale
An asteroid could be captured if they wanted.

By what means? I ask out of sincere curiousity. I have read about means to deflect but not capture one.
31 posted on 11/17/2007 3:01:51 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: weegee

Once the orbit of an asteroid is determined it may be that a lot of options would be available. There are points in an orbit that are extremely sensitive to an external push. These Legandre points are balance points between influential gravitational bodies. Push a little bit at one of these points, and one can redirect enormously, the future path of the asteroid. Astronomical Ju-Jitsu.


32 posted on 11/17/2007 3:02:25 PM PST by GregoryFul (is a bear a bomb in a bull?)
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To: Balding_Eagle

I forgot about global warming! You’re right—no problem!


33 posted on 11/17/2007 3:05:22 PM PST by Clara Lou (Thompson '08)
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To: blam
What a great way for an ex-astronaut to augment their retirement income! - Form a 501(c)(3), generate publicity by circulating some scare story and testifying before congress, fund raise, spend the required 20% on “foundation activities” (read more fund raising) and skim the rest!

Either Mr Schweickart’s orbital mechanics skills have suffered over the years or the Global Warming faithful at the New Scientist have chosen to misinterpret his testimony in order to promote yet another “End Of The World!!!” cult based on junk science.

34 posted on 11/17/2007 3:06:26 PM PST by InABunkerUnderSF ("Gun Control" is not about the guns. "Illegal Immigration" is not about the immigration)
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To: Army Air Corps

To capture requires two impulses. The first impulse changes the orbit so it has the required apogee and the second, some time later when the asteroid has arrived in the right place but wrong velocity, changes the velocity so apogee and perigee are correct. The asteroid will then be in orbit around earth where it may be picked over later at some convenient time.


35 posted on 11/17/2007 3:06:36 PM PST by RightWhale (anti-razors are pro-life)
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To: RightWhale

Are we talking about detonations near the body or impulses from reaction motors attached to the surface?


36 posted on 11/17/2007 3:08:25 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: blam

keep in mind that many asteroids are really low density flying rock piles.


37 posted on 11/17/2007 3:09:23 PM PST by ari-freedom (I am for traditional moral values, a strong national defense, and free markets.)
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To: Army Air Corps

I would put ion motors on the body and apply continuous thrust, which means an infinite series of impulses rather than just two. This would keep the pile more or less intact. It’s similar in effect to the two impulse method as far as orbital mechanics goes, although much slower.


38 posted on 11/17/2007 3:12:17 PM PST by RightWhale (anti-razors are pro-life)
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To: blam

Astronaut Russell ‘Rusty’ Schweickart was the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 9.


39 posted on 11/17/2007 3:13:32 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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To: Army Air Corps
Eeeasy!!! Just go out to the asteroid, vaporize the rock, form it into a giant solar sail and sail it into earth orbit.

All right, we can get there with an Ares rocket (if it ever flies that is). Vaporize it how? Capture the vapor in what? form the sail by what means? Navigate it how? These are just details. As with any good "space mining" scheme these things will be worked out later.

Engineering is one skill set, visionary thinking is completely different. :-)

40 posted on 11/17/2007 3:16:37 PM PST by InABunkerUnderSF ("Gun Control" is not about the guns. "Illegal Immigration" is not about the immigration)
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To: RightWhale

Ion motors, eh? based on what I have read, they slowly increase their thrust (the current systems do anyway). So, the motors would have to be attached while the body is far, far out.


41 posted on 11/17/2007 3:16:46 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: InABunkerUnderSF

Why not just teleport it then? :-)


42 posted on 11/17/2007 3:18:21 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Fraxinus

Or we could follow Ralph Kramden’s advice, “to the moon!” and have a better view of the crash.


43 posted on 11/17/2007 3:19:58 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: cripplecreek
weight wouldn’t be an issue; but mass would be. Acceleration would be a bigger challenge than it is for less massive spacecraft. As for steering around obstacles on route — forgetaboutit!
44 posted on 11/17/2007 3:21:01 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Spktyr
Or use the hollowed out shell as either a space station or colony ship.

Yeah, but how long until the people in it forget it's a ship. Then troublemakers will be saying, "...for the world is hollow, and I can touch the sky."
45 posted on 11/17/2007 3:23:38 PM PST by wolfpat (If you don't like the Patriot Act, you're really gonna hate Sharia Law.)
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To: blam

Asteroids are mostly made of coal. We need to figure out how to get the coal to land on Earth in nice piles.


46 posted on 11/17/2007 3:24:08 PM PST by Reeses (Leftism is powered by the evil force of envy.)
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To: GregoryFul

There is no atmosphere in space so there is nothing that conducts kinetic force to the object...a nuke unless buried in an offending asteroid would simply be an instant flash of intense light ...then nothing! The exposed asteroid might melt into vapor if it was small enough but only be singed on the exposed side if it was very large!


47 posted on 11/17/2007 3:30:07 PM PST by mdmathis6
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To: GregoryFul

There is no atmosphere in space so there is nothing that conducts kinetic force to the object...a nuke unless buried in an offending asteroid would simply be an instant flash of intense light ...then nothing! The exposed asteroid might melt into vapor if it was small enough but only be singed on the exposed side if it was very large!


48 posted on 11/17/2007 3:31:46 PM PST by mdmathis6
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To: blam

I had deflected asteroids once. Had to use lots of that Preparation cream to get rid of em. What’s the big deal?


49 posted on 11/17/2007 3:32:45 PM PST by GRRRRR (The Libtards are spoiling for a big fight!)
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To: blam

Seems to me that there are plenty of other objects in the solar system that we could aim it at. If you’re going to be altering its path anyway, might as well solve the problem permanently.


50 posted on 11/17/2007 3:33:46 PM PST by John Jorsett (scam never sleeps)
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