SciFi Question of the Day: If we discover that asteroid AG5 really is going to hit the Earth in 2040, who should we send to blast/deflect it away?
Astronauts trained in explosives/drilling?
Drilling/explosives experts trained to be astronauts?
Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck?
Dave Mac Breaking news from the White House: Today the President announced that he would like to express his sincere apologies for any harm perpetrated by Ben and Bruce upon this defenseless asteroid.
Robert B. Fredricksen So true Dave Mac!
Alan Willis Train the astronauts in explosives. It’d be less expensive than.training explosives guys as astronauts. And the ‘nauts would have a good couple of decades to become proficient.
Dave Mac We could phase shift the Earth so the Asteriod passes right past us without any harm to either body.
Dan Bressler Better plan. Launch Rush Limbaugh into a parking orbit. Use gravitational attraction to pull asteroid off of a collision course.
AmyBeth Fredricksen Which has the greater pull? The asteroid, or the assteroid?
Dan Bressler Ooh, a Newton’s law question! Tricky…
Daniel Beard well, due to the fact that blasting any asteroid that is large enough to be a serious threat would only cause the shrapnel effect. I would recommend trying to Orion the thing into a different trajectory. I would think up or down in the epileptic. we have 28 years, might be enough time.
Google Plus Answers:
Laston Kirkland – Send a drone up to land on it… make and polish a crater, paint it silver then sit in the focal point to take the heat from the newly formed concave reflective mirror… and focus it into space as a solar powered engine… should generate enough thrust to miss the earth and spiral further and further out of our way.
no need to send any people.
Charles Moore – X-Prize it. Offer a billion dollars to whomever succeeds.
Jim Hanson – Two words – giant robot.
michael interbartolo – ion rocket to push it off course. small constant nudge will change the course without having to worry about multiple impact sites from an explosive break up.
Charles Moore – Robots should be okay. Grant Imahara can do it! Timing is all about angles. The closer the object becomes, the more deflection required and the more energy it’ll take.
michael interbartolo – +Charles Moore is correct the further out you intercept the asteroid, the less of a nudge you need to give it. if you want until it passes inside the Moon you need a big velocity delta to change the orbit so that it doesn’t intercept the earth’s orbit. you can either harpoon the asteroid and pull it out of the way or auger in and push it out of the way.
I would love to hear what you think! Even if you are reading this post a year or more after publishing, I hope you will leave a comment with your own ideas on this topic.
The previous SciFi Q of the Day is Can Good SciFi Lack Plausible Science?
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The next SciFi Q of the Day will be up next Tuesday.