Astro

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:55 PM GMT

Question

In a hypothetical problem, it is calculated that an asteroid 15 km in diameter will hit the Earth in 5 years time. What should be done ?

Answer

Hi Jose, Well, hypothetically, there are two things that can be attempted....give it a little hypothetical nuclear bomb.... "nudge" as soon as practicable...(change it's orbit, a very tiny change is all that is required with a lag time of 5 years...and the earlier, the better). OR two...hypothetically, blast it to smithereens (millions of little pieces and vaporize most of it) with a direct and big hypothetical...all out nuclear attack using our 100 megaton hydrogen bombs. Those are the only two hypothetical solutions to your hypothetical problem.

Fortunately in real life, that ain't gonna happen, as we are currently tracking all Earth-crossing asteroids; see bottom of page at http://www.spaceweather.com

and the program of tracking down all of them 1 Km and greater, will be completed in about another 11 years. (By 2020). The odds on a 15 Km asteroid strike is something like once every 50 million years,or so. Clear Skies, Tom Whiting Erie, PA

FOLLOW UP: And don't think for a minute that we couldn't do it. Remember the Deep Impact mission to Comet Tempel I back in July 2005 when we hit a 10 Km comet nucleus with a large copper bullet? See http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/deepimpact/main/index.html Tom

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