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Anti-asteroid space laser proposed

Posted on Sunday, 17 February, 2013 | Comment icon 34 comments | News tip by: william joseph

Image credit: ESA

In the wake of recent events there have been renewed calls for defensive measures against asteroids.

The devastation wrought over Russia by a meteor just 50ft across has brought in to focus the apocalyptic potential of a larger impact on our planet. To help defend against such disasters in the future a group of scientists has developed a new concept for a defensive weapon called DE-STAR (Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids). The system would harness energy from the Sun and use it to focus a laser blast at an approaching rock to either deflect or evaporate it.

"This system is not some far-out idea from Star Trek," said researcher Gary B. Hughes. "All the components of this system pretty much exist today. Maybe not quite at the scale that we'd need - scaling up would be the challenge - but the basic elements are all there and ready to go."

"The hazards of asteroid impacts are starkly clear in Russia, where more than 900 people were injured and hundreds of buildings damaged by the shockwave from the meteor's explosion in the atmosphere, according to press reports."

  View: Full article |  Source: Yahoo! News

  Discuss: View comments (34)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #25 Posted by highdesert50 on 18 February, 2013, 1:15
Like all sentient beings we wish to live comfortably in as little pain as possible with the understanding that we will not live forever. The looming issue is whether we as a civilization expect to perpetuate. If so, then we certainly need to focus altruistically on a plan to promote the survival of our civilization whether it be from falling debris or other peril. That is an evolutionary step forward. Can we frame our individual lives as selfless rather than selfish entities?
Comment icon #26 Posted by MedicTJ on 18 February, 2013, 2:46
i really would much rather someone spend the money on getting rid of the nuclear weapons which are popping up all over the joint. Thats where the real danger lies. Funny really, they were all watching the DA14 and on the other side of the world we were getting bombarded with "small rocks" no one knew they were coming or where they came from. ps: my school where one them bestest in Sauf London. (in regards to bold print) That almost sounds like a message, doesn't it? The translation would be, "Yes, good job on tracking near-earth-objects. But guess what? I can hit you whenever I want to hit you... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by DieChecker on 18 February, 2013, 3:52
Rocks like the one that blew up over Russia could be tracked... But to what point?? They clearly are not going to do much more then damage a building or two. No one was reported killed that I know of. I'd much rather the scientists keep looking for the "game ending", Boss Monster asteroids, and let the little ones just take care of themselves.
Comment icon #28 Posted by WoIverine on 18 February, 2013, 14:25
There isn't a shark that's big enough...
Comment icon #29 Posted by Frank Merton on 18 February, 2013, 15:28
This idea of people turning meteors into weapons seems ironic -- back to the age when we throw rocks at each other. I have no doubt that an early-warning system for stray rocks heading our way will happen. The technology is there just begging to be used. Risk management involves multiplying the chance of an occurrence times the severity. In this case the chance is small but the consequence (things on the order of the obliteration of a city or worse) severe enough that the equations show the need. (We already have such a system for planet-obliterating type objects -- it doesn't seem any present... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by Frank Merton on 18 February, 2013, 15:30
Rocks like the one that blew up over Russia could be tracked... But to what point?? They clearly are not going to do much more then damage a building or two. No one was reported killed that I know of. I'd much rather the scientists keep looking for the "game ending", Boss Monster asteroids, and let the little ones just take care of themselves. A lot has to do with trajectory. This one was glancing off the atmosphere and therefore exploded high up there. One come straight in would have leveled the city.
Comment icon #31 Posted by pallidin on 18 February, 2013, 18:24
And it's estimated that it was going 30,000 mph, which I think is about 8.3 miles per second. London to New York is about 3500 miles. That means it would go that far in as little as 7.5 minutes. Talk about a fast trip!
Comment icon #32 Posted by Mikami on 25 February, 2013, 16:44
Lets shoot some paint at it and hope something happens... (joke intended)
Comment icon #33 Posted by King Cobra 1408 on 26 February, 2013, 21:11
this is a great idea and amazing one as well.a defensive laser beam powerful enough to destroy meteoroids,asteroids and etc or aleast deflect them at least.but only for defensive reasons and purposes and beneficial ones as not sure about the side effects though or governments trying to use it for other reasons of theirs.because well you know what governments really are and do and etc.
Comment icon #34 Posted by ancient astronaut on 5 March, 2013, 1:19
According to some SDI has been up there for years, why not use it, if in fact is does exist.

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