Saturday, May 23, 2009

Asteroid Guard .

Asteroid Guard .
Andre Willers
23 May 2009

Synopsis :
How to destroy a killer asteroid on two week's notice with only present planetary resources .

Read "Orion , Gaia needs you!"
See NewScientist 28 Mar 2009 p28 "How to save the world from an asteroid impact."

Humans have sufficient high-energy concentrations available (ie nukes) to negate most threats , but the problem is delivery .
The constraint here is two weeks . No present delivery vehicle can mobilize sufficient mass in time .
Extinction is the penalty .

But , we can deliver many megatons with fairly pinpoint accuracy anywhere on the planet .

So , we squeeze the pimple .
Hit the asteroid with magma bolt from the planet driven by a hemispherical shaped explosion of nukes .
Use some volume of ocean (like the Pacific)

Ordinary MIRV's can saturate a shell-volume of ocean and can be programmed using fratricidal-focussing to aim the bolt .
This is a zero-sum contraption , so care should be taken not to be over-enthusiastic and crack the crust . Stay away from magma plumes and crustal boundaries .

The aiming :
This is a teensy-weensy problem .
The first shot is almost certain to miss .

Two plasma-bolts about 5 km apart will have large-scale energy transfers between them (due to chaotic charge distribution in the plasma) . Essentially , lightning bolts .They will slowly spiral about each other , transferring energy and momentum to any object caught between them .
This will increase the odds of hitting the asteroid by about 100 times , but the path will be unpredictable .

Increasing the number of bolts to an optimum can be modeled . I estimate that about five at a time should give satisfactory results .
This is reminiscent of battleship duels . At least three salvoes were needed for a hit . So about 16 clusters of 30 MIRV warheads each would be needed . Well within human capability .

The hit .
If there is no hit , finito .
If there is a hit , the mass does not go away .
The asteroid and our plasma bolt radiates energy and condenses into ball-bearing size particles . This shrapnel wipes out the any spacecraft or satellite in it's trajectory .

The flyswatter .
The baby is not clean until you have wiped it's ass .
Read again "Orion , Gaia needs you!"
Launch a suitably large piece of crust into orbit using nukes (a few more is not going to hurt more , and will make the difference in surviving) .
Use it to swat and absorb orbital debris .

Imagine the rush piloting a multi-billion ton Orion spaceship into orbit .
Eat your heart out , V1 !


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