But what exactly do they propose to do if they find one on a collision course, and how effective would it be ?
There have been several ideas, but all have conceptual problems, the Idea of nuking it went out of favour long ago due to its ineffectiveness, but it might be considered a last resort if everything else failed. Painting one side white was another suggestion, but when it was realised how much paint was required, it was dropped also.
NASA seems to have decided the gravity tug is the answer. Meaning you park a big spaceship next to it for a long time when its still a long way out. The additional pull from the spaceship would change the orbit of the asteroid just enough to make it miss us.
But looking at the figures you would need about a 20 Ton spaceship 50 meters away from even a small asteroid (<200 meters diameter) for a year to knock it off course.
And just how do they propose to get a 20 ton spacecraft matching the incoming orbit of the asteroid, its not like parking a small car, the time required to get it in position would be enormous, as would the fuel. NASA itself thinks for the above example, 20 years of prior notice would be required.
What if we only get a few years notice ?
Given the technology we have at present and the fact that there isn't a single booster currently available that could achieve this feat, should we be realistic and just all kiss our a**e goodbye ?
Or, do you think (or hope) that humanity would all pull together in a single cause and find a way ?
Or, do you think this is just another ploy for NASA to raise further funding ?
Well if we are relying on the feckin UN we are all doomed,the 27th sub sub sub commitee on forming a commitee to work out the remit for the commitee about asteroids will still be debating the exact wording of the brass plaque that is to be afixed to their commitee room door when said bloody rock enters the atmosphere. Same goes for the feckin EU,we will just have to rely on the Yanks again as per usual.
Let's look at this logically....NASA/ the U.N.? (and other governmental agencies, the scientists, the inventors, the mathematicians, etc.) It will probably take longer to figure out who's "in charge" of an asteroid deflection program than for an asteroid to get here. .....I'll be preparing to kiss my butt goodbye
Last edited by planepsycho; 20th Feb 2007 at 16:53.
It's an interesting one, I've often wondered what humanity would do if given eighteen month's notice or so.
a) pull together in a display of solidarity, put aside national interest and dedicate all resources to the common good to try and provide a solution in a way completely contrary to the way mankind is used to working. Even if it was a long shot and required Bruce Willis on a flying drill.
b) fall apart in an anarchic bloodbath. With the lack of even a short term future there'd be a complete breakdown in society, money becomes worthless overnight, no-one sees the point in working, only martial law could control the mob, religious loonies proclaiming rival visions of judgement day attract the desperate masses, etc.
Sad to say, but I'd imagine it'd start off well and then descend into (b) within a matter of months.
It would be pretty tough luck for a big one to happen in our lifetime. Mind you I can't think of a more deserving bunch of lily-livered liberals...... It would be amusing seeing how long human 'rights' lasted. I'd give it three missed meals.
He proposed to tax householders living in the path of the asteroid. This will be offset by a reduction in council tax by one band when the asteroid hits, subject to proof that the value of the property was actually reduced.