Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aussie has answer to save Earth from asteroid attack - Plastic Wrap

In all seriousness, a PhD student with the University of Queensland's School of Engineering has won top prize in an international competition for a very unusual idea for protecting the Earth from collisions with asteroids. The plan would require wrapping an asteroid with reflective sheeting. The proposal involves using enhanced solar radiation pressure to move the threatening asteroid off course by wrapping it with reflective Mylar film. This is the same material that is already used on satellites to control temperatures. The film would be in the shape of miles long ribbons that would be carried to the asteroid by a satellite. The asteroid's own revolutions would be utilized to take up the film carried by the satellite, with the aim of covering about half of the body. This would change the characteristics of the asteroid enough to push it by solar pressure to a different orbit.
<- complete The Register article ->
submitted by Shaun A. Saunders

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