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# Scientists Propose Spacecraft To Save Earth

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A group of Chinese scientists from Tsinghua University proposing to place a small spacecraft with a solar sail into a retrograde orbit to prevent Apophis -- a 46 million ton asteroid -- from colliding with the Earth in 2036. Read more...

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So...drag a ridiculously thin and huge solar sail behind a comet spitting out a tail's worth of debris?

Not so sure that's going to work...

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I like this idea much better.

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So...drag a ridiculously thin and huge solar sail behind a comet spitting out a tail's worth of debris?

Not so sure that's going to work...

In the article, these scientists proposed the following; and I'm assuming they have their maths correct:

... Using a solar sail in a H-reversal trajectory (retrograde orbit), the team proposes a way of changing the trajectory of the asteroid to avoid the impaction.

... The impact velocity depends on two important parameters: the minimum solar distance along the trajectory and lightness number. A larger lightness number and a smaller solar distance lead to a higher impact velocity.

The results show that
a 10 kg solar sail with a lead-time of one year will give the spacecraft an impact velocity of 90 km per second
which
– if done well enough in advance –
can move Apophis out of a 600-m keyhole area in 2029 to prevent its return to Earth in 2036
....

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I like this idea much better.

The subtlety of Chinese culture, as opposed to Texas-style "Big-Is-Best".

Chinese propose using a tiny 10 kg item as opposed to NASA's gigantic "asteroid tractor", 20-ton spacecraft.

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I see...still, sounds kind of iffy to me. Send a 10 kg weigh out on a solar sail and hope the winds stay constant and steady for a year so that the impactor can be in the right place at the right time at the right speed?

I'm willing to give mathematicians the benefit of the doubt, but I tend to feel that there are some classroom/field issues that might have to be factored in.

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I see...still, sounds kind of iffy to me. Send a 10 kg weigh out on a solar sail and hope the winds stay constant and steady for a year so that the impactor can be in the right place at the right time at the right speed?

I'm willing to give mathematicians the benefit of the doubt, but I tend to feel that there are some classroom/field issues that might have to be factored in.

Not through hope ... but through computerised remote control of "sail-ship", based on mathematical calculations. Being done all the time, now.

That said, the article does have an escape-clause proviso:

However, the spacecraft could go wildly off course, with variations in solar wind patterns, according to Technologyreview.com.

Edited by Karlis

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Don't know why everyones so worried aren't we supposed to die Dec 21st of this year according to Myan Calender?

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yep and according to John Cusak.

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I'm no scientist, but if we all join hands and sing a song like they did down in Who-ville, we can repel the object with our love and understandng, its Apophis is nothing more than a Grinch.....a Grinch that could wipe out all life, but a Grinch none the less, lol.

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We need a new doomsday crisis, global warming didn't catch on as expected.

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If it hits Earth I'll cry.

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Well, despite singing Kumbaya and/or crying if an asteroid is on a trajectory to hit us, I'm still for using the big 'ole 'Texas style' gravity tractor.

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I'll probably be dead by then,so I don't really care..LOL

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I'll probably be dead by then,so I don't really care..LOL

Yeah, me too, so enjoy the show.

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I think attaching a ion drive solar power engine on the thing would make more sense or a god old rocket engine. It only has to be given a nudge in advance. Its great we are at least thinking about doing something vs the past 30 years of doing absolutely nothing but making tons of weapons to kill each other.

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How is a spaceship supposed to detour an asteroid if we're all going to die next year? Yes, this is a snarky and sarcastic comment.

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I liked the idea of changing its trajectory using gravity to gently pull it out of the keyhole range over time.

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We need a new doomsday crisis, global warming didn't catch on as expected.

Yeah, because the world and universe is in a perfect balance, nothing could ever happen to us unless it was orchestrated by someone else.

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ok i'v wasted more than 7000 dollars preparing for a zombie apocalypse, i bought like 500 dollars in water guns against robot apocalypse and now i have to build a spacecraft to get the hell out of earth by 2036 great just great next thing you know space nazis threaten us.

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il largh cause humans are a disease

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so how many times have we supposed to have died already? We'll probably die half a dozen times before then anyway....

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so how many times have we supposed to have died already?

A lot...a very, very lot see link here.

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Send Bruce Willis.. he'll sort it out.