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Wanted: man to land on killer asteroid

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Image credit: NASA
Image credit: NASA
It is the stuff of nightmares and, until now, Hollywood thrillers. A huge asteroid is on a catastrophic collision course with Earth and mankind is poised to go the way of the dinosaurs. To save the day, Nasa now plans to go where only Bruce Willis has gone before. The US space agency is drawing up plans to land an astronaut on an asteroid hurtling through space at more than 30,000 mph. It wants to know whether humans could master techniques needed to deflect such a doomsday object when it is eventually identified. The proposals are at an early stage, and a spacecraft needed just to send an astronaut that far into space exists only on the drawing board, but they are deadly serious. A smallish asteroid called Apophis has already been identified as a possible threat to Earth in 2036. Chris McKay of the Nasa Johnson Space Centre in Houston told the website Space.com: "There's a lot of public resonance with the notion that Nasa ought to be doing something about killer asteroids ... to be able to send serious equipment to an asteroid. "The public wants us to have mastered the problem of dealing with asteroids. So being able to have astronauts go out there and sort of poke one with a stick would be scientifically valuable as well as demonstrate human capabilities."

A 1bn tonne asteroid just 1km across striking the Earth at a 45 degree angle could generate the equivalent of a 50,000 megatonne thermonuclear explosion. Attempting to break it up with an atomic warhead might only generate thousands of smaller objects on a similar course, which could have time to reform. Scientists agree the best approach, given enough warning, would be to gently nudge the object into a safer orbit.

IPB Image\ View: Full Article | Source: Guardian Unlimited

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Star_girl

Quick question how do you "gently nudge" an asteroid? :o

This is the stuff that ought to unit mankind for the common cause but I can see if it ever becomes a reality then we going to be in big trouble...

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louie

What kind of health plan comes with that job....

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rassy

Why don't they ask our alien visitors to just use their technology and gently nudge the thing for us....they have the technology and the means. Of course, we all know aliens don't exist.

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nothingliz

our universe is a deeply technical force to be reconed with. Sure we could deeply nudge the thing out of orbit with us. But what if we send it in the way of other asteroids. How long till those other asteroids cross paths with earth. But not only earth should we be concerned with. We don't know all that exist in our galaxy. We are still unaware of other worlds. We should not only be concerned with our world but other worlds as well. We have to remember we aren't the center of existance.

You may say better them than us. But remember death is part of the equation. Im sure we can think of other ways around this. NASA has done a good job avoiding showing their full potential but I think when it comes down to it. The smart people will say forget that and save their own butts. So the furthering of technology will rear its ugly face very quickly. This new cell chip conveniently put in the playstation 3, shows great potential. AI has no better brother than the cell chip. Though for all we know the AI engines are only moderate, but I think AI is here now and someone is keeping it from us. However I find the best idea for this killer asteroid is to send a satalite with the ability to shoot a lazer. Unless man made this thing should have lots of ridges around it for the lazer to hit, making the killer asteroid veer off. No worries about the lazer going through it. The lazer only needs to make slight contact with the surface edge of the asteroid.

blah, I am not a scientist, just a thinker and idea promoter.

Have your way with my idea if you choose. Doesn't make you any smarter than me.

Calista

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