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(C|Net)   "Pop quiz, hotshot: 500-meter asteroid, approaching Earth fast. What do you do?" "Nuke it in orbit. It's the only way to be sure"   (news.cnet.com) divider line 51
    More: Interesting, asteroids, Earth, Deep Impact, Los Alamos National Laboratory, burnup, meteors, nukes  
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1648 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 May 2013 at 1:36 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-30 07:33:23 AM
jorng.com
 
2013-05-30 09:40:46 AM
Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.
 
2013-05-30 10:50:00 AM
Where is it gonna hit?

this is important..
 
2013-05-30 10:51:28 AM

Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.


1000 radioactive pieces?!!? Kewl
 
2013-05-30 12:27:48 PM
BONG WIE, lulz
 
2013-05-30 12:40:54 PM
Simple. Change the gravitational constant of the Universe.
 
2013-05-30 12:42:49 PM

Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.


Wouldn't spreading out the impact over a larger area be better, by lessening the effect at any one point?  Also, the smaller pieces might have a better chance of disintegrating before reaching the ground.
 
2013-05-30 12:46:14 PM
I thought the answer to the pop quiz was/is shot the hostage.
 
2013-05-30 01:09:20 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: I thought the answer to the pop quiz was/is shot the hostage.


Or knowing the number of the bus with the bomb.
 
2013-05-30 01:24:46 PM

Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.


Are you serious?

First, it could change the tragectory to entirely miss. Second, smaller pieces burn up in the atmosphere...
 
2013-05-30 01:40:24 PM

Sybarite: Simple. Change the gravitational constant of the Universe.


i832.photobucket.com

Disapproves
 
2013-05-30 01:42:04 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but usually "approaching earth fast" is not the same as "in orbit"
 
2013-05-30 01:44:50 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: I thought the answer to the pop quiz was/is shot the hostage.


i1135.photobucket.com
 
2013-05-30 01:49:31 PM
I'm a fan of science and intellectual endeavors, but somehow these guys make nuking an asteroid seem boring.
 
2013-05-30 01:52:51 PM
"Just blow it up" doesn't always work, gents.
 
2013-05-30 01:53:29 PM

Taima: "Just blow it up" doesn't always work, gents.


i3.kym-cdn.com
 
2013-05-30 01:53:50 PM
static.ddmcdn.com

Michio Kaku's not sure if trolling or stupid.
 
2013-05-30 02:15:08 PM
'expert' in what sense?
 
2013-05-30 02:19:31 PM

wxboy: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

Wouldn't spreading out the impact over a larger area be better, by lessening the effect at any one point?  Also, the smaller pieces might have a better chance of disintegrating before reaching the ground.


Except you're still throwing shiattons of mass at high speed at the Earth all at the same time. That mass/energy has to go somewhere. Even if you burned it all up, you're essentially lighting a large part of the atmosphere on fire, which generally is not a good idea.

Anyway, nukes are quite viable as a way of deflecting asteroids (not destroying them) as long as you hit them early enough. The further away an asteroid is, the less you have to nudge it to cause it to miss earth. The article implies the asteroid is found about two years out. That's pretty close, but if you can direct the force of the nuke well enough it's possible. Not my first choice of nudging asteroids, mind you, but in a pinch it might work.
 
2013-05-30 02:20:46 PM

justtray: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

Are you serious?

First, it could change the tragectory to entirely miss. Second, smaller pieces burn up in the atmosphere...


So, if its big enough for us to spot (Very few) and big enough to do significant damage, you wanna break it into multiple. harder to track pieces that, by the laws of physics, will still impart the same energy of impact onto our world.

Glad you are not in charge of anything.
 
2013-05-30 02:23:07 PM

maxx2112: Michio Kaku's not sure if trolling or stupid.


If he's not even sure if he's trolling or stupid, I'm gonna have to go with stupid.
 
2013-05-30 02:25:16 PM
FTA: Bong Wie, director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University, says we should nuke them.

Did he get a C minus in astrophysics?

/not obscure
 
2013-05-30 02:32:54 PM
I welcome the asteroid of death. We will finally send our rockets to colonize Mars.

If you want to colonize Mars, you have to be against asteroid force fields.
 
2013-05-30 02:41:42 PM

Shadow Blasko: justtray: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

Are you serious?

First, it could change the tragectory to entirely miss. Second, smaller pieces burn up in the atmosphere...

So, if its big enough for us to spot (Very few) and big enough to do significant damage, you wanna break it into multiple. harder to track pieces that, by the laws of physics, will still impart the same energy of impact onto our world.

Glad you are not in charge of anything.


Except that the force spread out over a larger area will have less of a discernable impact than if it were located in a single point...
 
2013-05-30 02:46:40 PM
Gotta use a laser to vaporize it.

i.imgur.com
 
2013-05-30 02:50:45 PM

maxx2112: [static.ddmcdn.com image 200x200]

Michio Kaku's not sure if trolling or stupid.


CSB:  Had him as my professor in college.  Awesome dude.

/Yeah, got an A
//If you can't pass his courses, well...don't know what I can tell ya.
 
2013-05-30 02:55:25 PM

Kentucky Fried Children: Shadow Blasko: justtray: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

Are you serious?

First, it could change the tragectory to entirely miss. Second, smaller pieces burn up in the atmosphere...

So, if its big enough for us to spot (Very few) and big enough to do significant damage, you wanna break it into multiple. harder to track pieces that, by the laws of physics, will still impart the same energy of impact onto our world.

Glad you are not in charge of anything.

Except that the force spread out over a larger area will have less of a discernable impact than if it were located in a single point...


Exactly, as I stated in other post the Earth has over 40 tons of space debris hit it every day. Its not a problem is spread out of a large area. But even those 40 tons if compacted into one would create some damage.
 
2013-05-30 02:58:18 PM

hawcian: wxboy: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

Wouldn't spreading out the impact over a larger area be better, by lessening the effect at any one point?  Also, the smaller pieces might have a better chance of disintegrating before reaching the ground.

Except you're still throwing shiattons of mass at high speed at the Earth all at the same time. That mass/energy has to go somewhere. Even if you burned it all up, you're essentially lighting a large part of the atmosphere on fire, which generally is not a good idea.


Exactly.  Would you rather get hit by a bowling ball moving at 30 mph, or get sprayed by a bowling ball's weight in dust going 30 mph?  Obviously I'd take the bowling ball, because I'm against having my shiat lit on fire.
 
2013-05-30 02:59:18 PM
I'm going with Arthur C. Clarke's solution from The Hammer Of God, which was to attach a bloody great rocket to it and change its trajectory. Bit more practical than dropping fifty thousand radioactive meteorites on the planet.
 
2013-05-30 03:15:45 PM
Shoot the hostage?
 
2013-05-30 03:24:39 PM

Majick Thise: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

1000 radioactive pieces?!!? Kewl


Wasn't that an 80's new wave band? I thought I saw them open for Oingo Boingo once.
 
2013-05-30 03:35:23 PM
If we can detect it far enough out, aren't there theories that show simply blasting one side with white (or black) *PAINT* will alter it's trajectory? (Solar pressure and uneven heating)?
 
2013-05-30 03:39:43 PM
By the time we detect a 500 meter asteroid, it will already be too late to deflect it. Sure we can find stuff a lot smaller than that, but only if we are actively looking for it. The Space Guard program is way underfunded (like everything else at NASA), and it only covers a small fraction of the sky.
We also don't have the lift capacity to launch a warhead attached to some sort of intercept vehicle. Even if we rebuild the Saturn V, it's still four days to get as far as the Moon. If you want to change orbital mechanics, then you need more delta-V. If you want to launch a vehicle with more delta-V, then you need even more lift.
 
2013-05-30 03:42:40 PM

give me doughnuts: By the time we detect a 500 meter asteroid, it will already be too late to deflect it. Sure we can find stuff a lot smaller than that, but only if we are actively looking for it. The Space Guard program is way underfunded (like everything else at NASA), and it only covers a small fraction of the sky.
We also don't have the lift capacity to launch a warhead attached to some sort of intercept vehicle. Even if we rebuild the Saturn V, it's still four days to get as far as the Moon. If you want to change orbital mechanics, then you need more delta-V. If you want to launch a vehicle with more delta-V, then you need even more lift.


We should station some rockets and warheads on the Moon.

Serious question: how does the risk of catastrophic failure during the launch of a nuclear warhead compare to the risk of getting hit by an asteroid?
 
2013-05-30 04:00:13 PM
Sounds like this guy got a C- in Astrophysics


/I wouldnt listen to him
 
2013-05-30 05:31:53 PM

Wellon Dowd: Serious question: how does the risk of catastrophic failure during the launch of a nuclear warhead compare to the risk of getting hit by an asteroid?


Serious Answer: Big Badaboom either way

www.macmeisters.com
 
2013-05-30 05:43:30 PM

Majick Thise: Wellon Dowd: Serious question: how does the risk of catastrophic failure during the launch of a nuclear warhead compare to the risk of getting hit by an asteroid?

Serious Answer: Big Badaboom either way

[www.macmeisters.com image 200x200]


First of all, what is the yield of the warhead?  Second, how does that compare to the warheads that we have on missiles aimed at other countries?
 
2013-05-30 06:20:46 PM

Shadow Blasko: justtray: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

Are you serious?

First, it could change the tragectory to entirely miss. Second, smaller pieces burn up in the atmosphere...

So, if its big enough for us to spot (Very few) and big enough to do significant damage, you wanna break it into multiple. harder to track pieces that, by the laws of physics, will still impart the same energy of impact onto our world.

Glad you are not in charge of anything.


Lets say that someone is going to shoot you in the back from 50 yards away.

Do you prefer to be shot with an oz of #8 shot or a 1 oz slug?

Same amount of lead either way.
 
2013-05-30 06:24:54 PM

foxtail: Shadow Blasko: justtray: Shadow Blasko: Yep, if you want to do the worst possible thing, sure.

All that energy is still coming at us...Now it's just gonna hit 1000 places instead of 1.

Are you serious?

First, it could change the tragectory to entirely miss. Second, smaller pieces burn up in the atmosphere...

So, if its big enough for us to spot (Very few) and big enough to do significant damage, you wanna break it into multiple. harder to track pieces that, by the laws of physics, will still impart the same energy of impact onto our world.

Glad you are not in charge of anything.

Lets say that someone is going to shoot you in the back from 50 yards away.

Do you prefer to be shot with an oz of #8 shot or a 1 oz slug?

Same amount of lead either way.


Well, since we are in SPACE and the shot isn't gonna lose any speed on its way to me... I think I would rather risk the single shot. Thanks
 
2013-05-30 07:09:54 PM
If it is in orbit, we would be safe anyway.
 
2013-05-30 07:57:26 PM

Wellon Dowd: give me doughnuts: By the time we detect a 500 meter asteroid, it will already be too late to deflect it. Sure we can find stuff a lot smaller than that, but only if we are actively looking for it. The Space Guard program is way underfunded (like everything else at NASA), and it only covers a small fraction of the sky.
We also don't have the lift capacity to launch a warhead attached to some sort of intercept vehicle. Even if we rebuild the Saturn V, it's still four days to get as far as the Moon. If you want to change orbital mechanics, then you need more delta-V. If you want to launch a vehicle with more delta-V, then you need even more lift.

We should station some rockets and warheads on the Moon.

Serious question: how does the risk of catastrophic failure during the launch of a nuclear warhead compare to the risk of getting hit by an asteroid?


I am pretty sure that blowing up a nuclear bomb (not detonating, like actually blowing it up) would not set it off, and just the main risk would be the blast itself and the radiation dispersal. I could be wrong, though
 
2013-05-30 08:04:39 PM

machoprogrammer: Wellon Dowd: give me doughnuts: By the time we detect a 500 meter asteroid, it will already be too late to deflect it. Sure we can find stuff a lot smaller than that, but only if we are actively looking for it. The Space Guard program is way underfunded (like everything else at NASA), and it only covers a small fraction of the sky.
We also don't have the lift capacity to launch a warhead attached to some sort of intercept vehicle. Even if we rebuild the Saturn V, it's still four days to get as far as the Moon. If you want to change orbital mechanics, then you need more delta-V. If you want to launch a vehicle with more delta-V, then you need even more lift.

We should station some rockets and warheads on the Moon.

Serious question: how does the risk of catastrophic failure during the launch of a nuclear warhead compare to the risk of getting hit by an asteroid?

I am pretty sure that blowing up a nuclear bomb (not detonating, like actually blowing it up) would not set it off, and just the main risk would be the blast itself and the radiation dispersal. I could be wrong, though


content9.flixster.com
/approves
 
2013-05-30 08:29:32 PM

machoprogrammer: I am pretty sure that blowing up a nuclear bomb (not detonating, like actually blowing it up) would not set it off


Fact. Although, you will be left with several, easy to find highly-radioactive chunks. That will contaminate the ground. For a looooong, looooong time.

For a good read, do a search for "Broken Arrow Nuclear Accident Spain". A LOT of land had to be removed, and IIRC, we are still paying off Spain for the accident.
 
2013-05-30 10:11:45 PM

Shadow Blasko: Well, since we are in SPACE and the shot isn't gonna lose any speed on its way to me... I think I would rather risk the single shot. Thanks


Quite foolish.

The real problem is its surface to volume ratio.  The atmosphere can burn up large quantities of material as long as it has enough surface area to heat.  And the hypothetical problem with superheating the atmosphere - if there's so much mass that it can heat the atmosphere to that amount, you're basically looking at an event that will kill all of humanity no matter what.
 
2013-05-30 10:40:41 PM

Sum Dum Gai: Shadow Blasko: Well, since we are in SPACE and the shot isn't gonna lose any speed on its way to me... I think I would rather risk the single shot. Thanks

Quite foolish.

The real problem is its surface to volume ratio.  The atmosphere can burn up large quantities of material as long as it has enough surface area to heat.  And the hypothetical problem with superheating the atmosphere - if there's so much mass that it can heat the atmosphere to that amount, you're basically looking at an event that will kill all of humanity no matter what.


I'm just going by the NASA (and Bad Astronomer) articles that basically said that anything you couldnt vaporize (say 50m or more) would be an order of magnitude more destructive in pieces than in one chunk.
 
2013-05-30 11:21:56 PM
What are the chances that an asteroid that is going to hit Earth won't be rotating about all three axes?

On a related note, next topic for Mythbusters: if you are going to be shot by someone with a shotgun, is it better to be to hit with buckshot, or a single deer slug? My guess is that you're going to be hosed either way.
 
2013-05-31 04:31:36 AM
RoxtarRyan:
Fact. Although, you will be left with several, easy to find highly-radioactive chunks. That will contaminate the ground. For a looooong, looooong time.


Facts:  fissile != radioactive, highly radioactive stuff does not make for good bomb material, highly radioactive stuff does not hang around for a loooooong, looooooong time.
 
2013-05-31 06:40:02 AM

Useless Destruction of Exergy: What are the chances that an asteroid that is going to hit Earth won't be rotating about all three axes?

On a related note, next topic for Mythbusters: if you are going to be shot by someone with a shotgun, is it better to be to hit with buckshot, or a single deer slug? My guess is that you're going to be hosed either way.


The shot will spread. You will suffer less damage that way. The slug will concentrate the force into one small area and none of it will miss you.
 
2013-05-31 06:42:28 AM
Drill baby drill!
 
2013-05-31 08:09:47 AM

rwfan: RoxtarRyan:
Fact. Although, you will be left with several, easy to find highly-radioactive chunks. That will contaminate the ground. For a looooong, looooong time.


Facts:  fissile != radioactive, highly radioactive stuff does not make for good bomb material, highly radioactive stuff does not hang around for a loooooong, looooooong time.


You're right, my bad. We just ended up unearthing acres of land, paying Spain lots of money, and as recent as last year, Spain is still asking us to finish deconing and cleaning the area nearly 50 years later because, hey, we look like we need a workout and have tons of cash to spare.
 
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