Skip to comments.NASA Is Testing Its Asteroid Defense System With a Real Asteroid
Posted on 10/05/2017 8:16:53 PM PDT by BenLurkin
NASA will coordinate with observatories around the world to try and get an exact trajectory for the asteroid in the days leading up to the flyby....
"This is the perfect target for such an exercise because while we know the orbit of 2012 TC4 well enough to be absolutely certain it will not impact Earth, we haven't established its exact path just yet," says Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies.
This experiment will test how well NASA can determine the orbit of a newly detected asteroid that might pose a danger to us. If the agency can successfully track an asteroid of this size, it would then be possible to determine where it is likely to impact the planet. Then, we could decide whether or not we need to intercept it.
If everything goes according to plan, NASA will be able to predict exactly how far away from us the asteroid will pass on Thursday. Fortunately, we won't need to try and intercept it, but NASA is going to test that part of our planetary defense system in a few years.
(Excerpt) Read more at popularmechanics.com ...
I am 100% against this, it is detracting from the mooselimb outreach.
I rather get the impression that the whole muzztard outreach thing was overblown to begin with, and has been discarded in any case.
Muzztard high tech == HME inside a pressure cooker.
Those bastards actually are pretty clever some times, but it’s all about destruction. Sickos.
As the deformed lump of spoiled planetary fragment that was Flavia crossed into cis-lunar space, black dots that were men jetted away from her and vanished into the indifferent darkness. Only a target beacon was left to show that there had ever been anyone there at all.
The mass was uglier than ever now, for the men had left it sculptured with jagged points, sharp edges and long gouges, carefully calculated to generate the maximum amount of air friction without inviting a splitting of the main body. That would wear her away some, at least.
The Moon came to life. From the crater Aristarchus leapt an intense blade of blue light — a laser pulse, driven from a monocrystal sapphire. The pulse lasted only a tenth of a second; as a result, for a few seconds both ends of it could be seen, a widthless ribbon 18,670 miles long, glowing in the Earth's magnetic tail.
Then it struck. Flavia's surface was already hot from sunlight and from preliminary friction with the first faint traces of Earth's outermost atmosphere; and the laser light, in addition to being blastingly hot itself, was also intensely actinic. The asteroid's moonward side melted, and then seethed with chemical reactions. A glowing tail streamed away from her — free radicals, driven by the solar wind.
Another laser bolt followed. Flavia was perceptibly smaller now, and more lopsided.
Another bolt — and the last. The next one would have been pointed too directly at Earth to have been risked.
Everything that could have been done was now done. Glowing sullenly, Flavia plunged down toward the southern tip of Hudson's Bay, pushing ahead of her a glowing pile-up of plasma already fifty miles in diameter.
The final diameter of the asteroid was one and one quarter miles.
In Jothen's apartment — and all over the Northern Hemisphere — the vidphones almost at once produced a shower of snow and quit; the Earthwave system was still functioning, but Jothen's only access to that was in his office. However, it wasn't needed. Through the big picture window in Jothen's living room, the predawn sky was already glowing. The glow sank slowly, as if the sun were setting instead of rising — but at the same time it was growing brighter.
On the roof of the level below, the leaves of the Forest rustled uneasily, and gradually began to stand out from each other, like the metal tongues of an electroscope. For an instant Jothen thought that they, too, were glowing, an dthat tougues of delicate flame were reaching out from the tips of the branches and the tops of the trees. But almost at once the sky was too bright to make sure of it.
In an appalling silence, the light sank toward the horizon, seemingly only eighteen miles away across the Missouri flatlands. By now it was as bright as the sun, though it was still only a point with a faint ring around it — the ball of plasma. The effect on the surrounding landscape was eerie, making everything look like a model in a toymaker's window. No one in recorded history had ever seen a landscape lit by a point-source before.
A faint roaring noise, like a distant waterfall, began to shake the air, the Forest, the window, and then the floor itself. As it grew, the false sun set, leaving behind a colossall aurora, like a fanfare of searchlights.
Excerpt from A Torrent Of Faces, bu James Blish and Norman L. Knight. Published in 1967.
What could go wrong?
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