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05/23/22 17:01Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 1[2]34 ]
Subject: Avoiding Armageddon by redirecting space debris


Author:
GlobalIdeasBank
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Date Posted: 02/26/07 3:55
Author Host/IP: 222-153-76-177.jetstream.xtra.co.nz/222.153.76.177


In 1989, a cosmic boulder bigger than an aircraft carrier, passed within 400,000 miles of Earth, a mere whisker in astronomical terms.

The chilling scenario feared by astronomers is that of a collision between Earth and one of the 46,000 mph objects in the Taurid stream (cosmic rubble and dust that swings through Earth's orbit on biannual crossings).


'A collision between Earth and one of the 46,000 mph objects in the Taurid stream is analogous to a nuclear war'

Dr Victor Clube of the Department of Astrophysics at Oxford University says 'the matter requires urgent attention. It is crucial that everyone is woken up to the danger. It is analogous to a nuclear war with a megatonnage of the same order and all the effects of nuclear war with debris from the impact causing sunlight to be blocked, causing a Dark Age or Ice Age.'


'Power units that could attach and divert celestial boulders away from Earth'

The Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is calling for studies into power units that could attach and divert celestial boulders away from Earth. Dr Clube and others are concerned at suggestions of shattering incoming asteroids with nuclear weapons. They believe that there is the danger that by solving one large threat, it may create scores of smaller ones.

Keeping track of potentially dangerous asteroids would require at least six $12m telescopes distributed throughout North and South America, according to David Morrison, head of the Space Science Division at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. 'With proper tracking techniques, astronomers could spot a potentially catastrophic one decades before it hit the Earth,' says Morrison.

Expanded from an article in The Times by Nick Nuttall.

See also Using lasers to deflect earth-bound asteroids

'Cosmic Winter', a book on this subject by Dr Clube and Dr Napier, is published by Basil Blackwell (June 1990, L16-95).

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