Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Best To Avoid Asteroid Apocalypse

Here is an novel approach to avoiding Earth getting spanked by a dino killer. This clever solution came to my attention in an article on the IO9 blog. It comes from David Dearborn, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Dearborn's proposal has all the making of a really good Willis movie. You know....multi-megaton bombs.... but with a teny tiny difference you see. The first is that David's plan takes place 30 years before impact. In astrological distances it's right freakin on top of us, but for the movies, 30 years....well that's like another century right?!

Anyway, here is how it works, and its brilliant in its simplicity! Instead of blowin it up, or throwin things at it, or putting rocket engines on it, or tractors....we speed it up! Oh I hear the howls "what you want it to get here quicker!!!!??" But that is exactly what Dearborn wants. If it gets here sooner, we won't be here yet! You take a 100 kiloton bomb and explode it about 3 or 4 football fields behind the impactor. This isn't enough to blow it up, matter of fact - simulations have only 1% of the asteroid dislodged. But it is enough to speed the asteroid up. How much? About 6.3mm/s or about 1.25 feet per minute. Not much huh? But over a 30 year period the Earth won't even be close!

But it's an honest and workable idea. Read the IO9 article




14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to learn how to write!

Beam Me Up said...

oh come on! I was having fun! you mean on my own damn blog I have to go by the rules? Someone has a tight sphincter! Of all the articles I have written this is the worst you can find? take a pill. Relax...

Matt said...

Play nice, kids. :)

Anonymous said...

The Universe has a wicked sense of humor. If we used this option it would turn out the “The Hammer of God” was going to pass safely behind the Earth, and we would speed it up just enough to land it in Central Park.

Beam Me Up said...

Matt! lmao I was wondering if anyone would wade in on that side! Yes, I am getting way to much entertainment out of this! Good to see you back in the comments again!

Beam Me Up said...

Anon, you know...as much as I like the idea, the whole concept of whoops! You sped it up? I really meant you should sllllllooooow it down! Oh that's going to hurt!

lol Oh honestly I do agree, anytime we play with big rocks in the majors we have to make sure that what we are doing is checked every way possible and still consider that it could all go terribly wrong any second.

On the other hand though you have to consider that given you have that kind of lead time. To not do anything with life on earth in the balance (overly dramatic I know) would be unconscionable.

deadhal said...

seems to me that if you have 30 years to play with, trajectory manipulation would be a safer, more accurate method of insuring a specific outcome. just a thought...

Beam Me Up said...

Deadhal
Exactly - my though was that I have seen these long range plans go horribly wrong. All we have to do is consider NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter mission failure. No, It wasn't 30 years but there was plenty of time to have spotted the error and corrected for it. The reason it failed was that everyone was confident that everything was as it was supposed to be, until it was too late.

Is a large buffer safer? Oh you bet, but also the amount of time lends itself to false security.

I think everyone here realizes that the farther out the safer we all are to try and fix the problem. But Anonymous' observation points out that in a chaotic system one is never 100% sure of anything. Stating the obvious....I know....story of my life! lol

Matt said...

You may have me confused with a different Matt. This is my first time posting anything to a Blogger site, as far as I know. Just the same, thanks for the welcome.

The other (yes, white) Matt

Beam Me Up said...

Matt,
Now that is strange! Because that would have been exactly what I would have expected the other gent to have written. Well I certainly am glad you felt motivated to weigh in. Please feel free to at any time. My attitude aside, all comments, observations and additions are of value because it will change the complexity of the program. What I mean by that is to say, that my observations are not the only ones I will use on the program (Beam Me Up radio on WRFR) and often quote. News is good, but I think listeners enjoy discussion, whether it is here or around the microphone.

So, welcome and feel free!

Paul

Matt said...

Cool attitude. Is there any chance we might have "met" on MTSS? I kinda drifted away from that, being busier than a one-armed paper-hanger with poison ivy. Some fine people over there, and I miss 'em. On the other hand, I've had the opportunity just this afternoon to type the phrase "A Condom Playing a Guitar", and there was an actual reason for it. So there are advantages to being overworked. But that has nothing to do with asteroids, so I won't elaborate. (Walks Away Chuckling Evilly)

Beam Me Up said...

Matt you bastard!
first now I can not get those images out of my head and second I have no damn idea of what just happened!

Matt said...

Hee hee....

http://www.retrojunkie.com/asciiart/ani/misc/condom.htm

Caution: The above-referenced page has a depiction of an animated condom. Those who find such depictions offensive are urged to get out more.

Beam Me Up said...

Matt
I am not worthy.....we have gone from killer asteroids to ascii animated condoms....even I could not see that coming. Evil genius at work


Paul