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Space & Astronomy

Asteroid deflection mission seeks ideas

By T.K. Randall
January 16, 2013 · Comment icon 37 comments

Image Credit: ESA
The European Space Agency is appealing for ideas for a future mission to study asteroid deflection.
The concept of sending a crew on a mission to prevent a catastrophic asteroid impact has been explored in science fiction for years in movies such as 'Armageddon' and 'Deep Impact', but in reality how close are we to such a solution ? In an effort to work towards a method to save us from a possible threat from space, the European Space Agency is seeking research ideas for a joint US–European mission called AIDA that will send two probes to collide with asteroids.

It is hoped that the results will provide enough data to determine whether it would be possible for a probe to alter the course of an asteroid. Because both spacecraft will be able to operate independently, one of them will still be able to complete the mission if the other fails. "Both missions become better when put together - getting much more out of the overall investment," said mission study manager Andrés Gálvez. "And the vast amounts of data coming from the joint mission should help to validate various theories, such as our impact modelling."[!gad]The concept of sending a crew on a mission to prevent a catastrophic asteroid impact has been explored in science fiction for years in movies such as 'Armageddon' and 'Deep Impact', but in reality how close are we to such a solution ? In an effort to work towards a method to save us from a possible threat from space, the European Space Agency is seeking research ideas for a joint US–European mission called AIDA that will send two probes to collide with asteroids.

It is hoped that the results will provide enough data to determine whether it would be possible for a probe to alter the course of an asteroid. Because both spacecraft will be able to operate independently, one of them will still be able to complete the mission if the other fails. "Both missions become better when put together - getting much more out of the overall investment," said mission study manager Andrés Gálvez. "And the vast amounts of data coming from the joint mission should help to validate various theories, such as our impact modelling."
A space rock several hundred metres across is heading towards our planet and the last-ditch attempt to avert a disaster – an untested mission to deflect it – fails. This fictional scene of films and novels could well be a reality one day. But what can space agencies do to ensure it works?


Source: ESA | Comments (37)




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Comment icon #28 Posted by danielost 11 years ago
I didn't misunderstand you at all, which is why I know how ridiculous it is. Your idea is not credible and based on a whole heap of misunderstandings and lack of knowledge on your part. You seem to think that mining just makes stuff go away. This shows you have about the same understanding of mining as you do asteroids.. none at all. For every big hole in the ground that a mine creates there is a huge pile of material excavated from the ground, slag heaps. This is because only a small proportion of the material mined is useful. The same will be true for an asteroid. Only a small percentage wil... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
That is on earth, in space mining you cut the whole astriod up. Using the rock for soil and smelting the metls for other uses such as more ships. No waste, no slag. And you are going to provide sources to back this up? Of course you can't because you are just making stuff up again. I, on the other hand, will provide sources. Here is an extract from wikipedia about asteroid mining: There are three options for mining: Bring raw asteroidal material to Earth for use. Process it on-site to bring back only processed materials, and perhaps produce propellant for the return trip. Transport the asteroi... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by Seeker79 11 years ago
Create several space stations in very very far orbits. With nuclear reactors like in submarines. The entire space station is a powerful class IV Pulse Laser. Point the laser at the offending object, upon striking it there will be powerfull out gasing thereby deflecting the asteroid. All of this is doable with today's technology and the stations do not even have to be maned. Essentially large satalights
Comment icon #31 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
Create several space stations in very very far orbits. The problem with this is you are underestimating the enormous number of stations you would need. Asteroids and comets can appear from all directions at any time. It would be far simpler to rendezvous with the asteroid and then fire a laser from a spacecraft in the same orbit. It would need a far less powerful laser as it would be able to fire over a much shorter distance at what would be (from the point of view of the satellite) a stationary target, rather than attempting to hit something travelling at many tens of thousands of miles per h... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by danielost 11 years ago
Dwarf you might want to reread option 3. By the way the waste from mining is over burden(what every you don't want.) and heavy metal run off water( dn't think that would be a problem in space.) Slag is the waste from smelting. Shouldn't be a problem just to send it into the sun. (Sorry I am using a tablet. Can't copy and paste.)
Comment icon #33 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
Dwarf you might want to reread option 3. 3. Transport the asteroid to a safe orbit around the Moon, Earth or to the ISS. This can hypothetically allow for most materials to be used and not wasted. Source: wikipediaWhich part of Option 3 are you not understanding? Is it the fact that option 3 involves placing the asteroid in Earth orbit first before mining (i.e. effectively deflecting it) that you can't understand, or maybe it is the word "most". Option 3 involves the changing of the asteroids orbit and still leaves some waste. This is EXACTLY what I said. Please point out how it differs from w... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by danielost 11 years ago
You will do nything to call me stupid. The only difference between what I suggested and option three is moving the rock into orbit. I think it would be easier to mine it in place than move it. Any waste can either be sent to burn up in the sun or burn up the atmo. You should able to use up to 90% of the rock. And if you can't droo it into the sun. You have at least turned a big problem into a much smaller one. Thus instead of an extinction level event, you might end up with a city killer. But likely one like the one over Russia. Yes, people got hurt, but one died. At least the last time I hear... [More]
Comment icon #35 Posted by danielost 11 years ago
To answer you, your other point. According to your methiod it could take years to move it with a tracter or hitting with pellets or lasers and you have to worry about again and again and again. That might 100 of years between agains that is true. But, my way gets rid of the problem.
Comment icon #36 Posted by DONTEATUS 11 years ago
Could it be as simple as just the slightest tug,budge,what ever energy it takes to **** its postiton ? THis is what we have to work on,Like being done all around the world today. Lots of minds are crunching the numbers,and ways to defeat such a threat. And Threat it actually IS a Very Large Threat ! I Keep having really bad dreams about our end in this way !
Comment icon #37 Posted by danielost 11 years ago
Could it be as simple as just the slightest tug,budge,what ever energy it takes to **** its postiton ? THis is what we have to work on,Like being done all around the world today. Lots of minds are crunching the numbers,and ways to defeat such a threat. And Threat it actually IS a Very Large Threat ! I Keep having really bad dreams about our end in this way ! According to the bible only 1/3 of the world.


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