Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Engineers Working On Swarm Of Laser Wielding Satellites To Deflect Asteroids

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the repelling-drakh-invasions dept.

Shark 114

Zothecula writes with news involving space and lasers. From the article: "A collision between Earth and an asteroid a few kilometers in diameter would release as much energy as the simultaneous detonation of several million nuclear bombs, and with the impact of an asteroid estimated at around 10 km (6.2 miles) in diameter believed to be responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs, numerous strategies have been devised to try and avoid such devastation. The latest idea comes from engineers at Glasgow's University of Strathclyde who suggest that a swarm of laser-wielding satellites could nudge Earth-bound asteroids off their collision course."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Obligatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496961)

Sharks in space?

Re:Obligatory (1)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497369)

No, satellites.

But they are ill-tempered.

Re:Obligatory (1, Funny)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497461)

They should call the satellites S.H.A.R.K.S.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498545)

Spaceward
Hunting
Arrangement of
Ray-Focussing
Killer
Satellites?

Re:Obligatory (2)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499095)

Only if you can come up with the acronym: Satellite Heavy Asteroid Removal and Kill System.

Re:Obligatory (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499757)

Austin Powers Happened in 1997 that was 15 years ago. Where the Shark with Laser joke came from.

The Moon Landing was 43 years ago. If you take the time Austin Powers was out from now is 1/3 of the time from the moon landing.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39502353)

Firrst postt. Netcraft confirms that in Soviet Russia frickin' lasers mounted on Natalie Portman with hot grits is something that I, for one, welcome. Even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying that this is the year of both Linux on the desktop and Duke Nukem Forever. Miss any? [wikipedia.org]

Feel free to copy/paste as boilerplate response.

Is the shark icon on TFS a new feature?

If there was some way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496963)

...we could attach sharks to the satellites...

So big asteroids become little asteroids (0)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496965)

Which means more space junk. Whee!

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497099)

RTFA, although I know this isn't a popular idea.

The big asteroids become big asteroids moving in a different direction, and a puff of hot vapour where the laser has ablated a chunk of the surface.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

crypticedge (1335931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497141)

I'm sure he was talking about the satellites themselves

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

KingRobot (703860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497191)

No... read his subject line.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497217)

Agree, no he wasn't, but it is a somewhat valid point, unless these laser wielding satellites can be put out in Solar orbit....

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497495)

I'd rather have a 10km^3 of extra space junk orbiting the Earth than have 10km^3 of solid asteroid slamming into it.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497517)

The dust and vapor going in the opposite direction would likely miss Earth on the other side, and would be relatively insignificant even if it did hit. We get dust and vapor hitting us all the time. Or were you talking about the satellites being space junk? In that case I'd say if we have only so many orbital slots to allocate, using several of them to stave off extinction is a better use than more spy and com sats.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500471)

I was thinking of the satellites - again, they might accomplish their mission better roving in a Solar orbit rather than stuck around Earth... also, I'm thinking it's going to take more than one or two big solar panel arrays to make any appreciable impact on asteroid tragectory...

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (2)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497871)

Apparently they never played "Asteroids"...

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497993)

Saweet. Loving the word "ablative"

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498105)

Saweet. Loving the word "ablative"

You should have taken Latin in high school/college, then.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501289)

"Accusative" always seemed too confrontational to me, though.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497995)

It would have to be a slow moving asteroid, and lasers will have no effect on comets.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499601)

To clarify Gordonjcp's statement, reading the f'ing article is not popular. The idea of zapping asteroids with lasers is probably a pretty popular idea around here.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501103)

Yes, exactly. No-one Rs TFM if they can help it, but zapping pretty much anything with lasers is always cool.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (5, Insightful)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497513)

I agree space junk is a problem and we shouldn't try to make it worse. HOWEVER, several million nuclear bombs going off might make more mess and kill us all. I'm going to have to pick space junk.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39501165)

Okay. You want space junk? Let's play this game.

The asteroid that "killed the dinosaurs" ('cause we don't even know if that is the only thing that did it) was about the size of the state of Texas.

Texas, asshole.

The most powerful laser we have right this moment can probably burn a hole through a two inch sheet of steel in about five minutes. It probably wouldn't run for over ten before a) the power runs out or b) it burns itself out or c) both.

Two inches of steel in five minutes.

Let's do the math.

I can burn a hole through two inches of something in five minutes and you throw the ENTIRE STATE OF TEXAS AT ME. I'm guessing the entire state of Texas is thicker than two inches. Lets be liberal with the estimates and say I can slice off ten feet of steel in a few minutes. Hell, let's just say I can output the entire power of a modern nuke. What does that get me against the mass of the state of Texas?

Fuck all.

These lasers are there to take out other lasers. STFU.

Go lay with your crayons.

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

Moses48 (1849872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501555)

Your argument is the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was huge. So it would necessarily take one as big to cause significant damage, and thus take too much laser to move. Thus, the laser must be for only weapons.

What if a 2 km square meteor could cause catastrophic damage, and could easily be mitigated through lasers. Is it worth putting lasers in the sky that could mitigate the disaster while also destroying space junk at the cost of militarizing space?

(Note: the answer lies in the fact you already think there are lasers up there)

Re:So big asteroids become little asteroids (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39502163)

Bla blah about the size of the state of Texas. Texas, asshole. Blah blah crayons.

Unless I'm extremely misinformed, Texas is a wee bit bigger than an estimated 10 km (about 6 miles) [wikipedia.org] . While still big enough to be a huge problem, Texas-sized it wasn't.

I couldn't help it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496969)

Are those friggin' satellites with friggin' lasers on their friggin...Yeah, I don't know where I was going with that.

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496973)

So when asteroid come to hit us we can split them in two and then two can hit us! how practical

Re:Cool (3, Informative)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497271)

No, the two halves would go around the earth and rejoin on the other side just like something out of Scooby Doo, which based on the apparent comprehension level I'm guessing is the favorite cartoon of most of these AC's.

Note that the headline includes the word 'deflect' and the summary mentions nudging asteroids off of a collision course. Neither suggests that the asteroid would be split. To save time, it also does not mention 'death wielding laser of doom' (even though those would be awesome), sharks (although it does fit dinosaurs in), or anything about using these satellites to 'deflect' political opponents (but it does almost mention why that wouldn't work, traveling through the atmosphere).

Now please go back to aol or myspace, where your reading comprehension, grammar, and lack of identity will no doubt leave them in awe.

Re:Cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497389)

Yes us AC might like scooby doo but the just like the normal users here you don't have a good grasp on sarcasm. Shame. Had hope for you but instead you just turned out to be a tight ass twat of a person. Maybe you should go out and live life maybe get a girl. What am i saying? You could find yourself a nice boy. Then maybe you would be more fun to be around.

Re:Cool (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39498259)

I wonder if, on AOL or Myspace, people say things like "Now please go back to slashdot, where your sense of superiority, pointless personal attacks, and lack of social skills will no doubt leave them in awe."

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39498591)

+1

Re:Cool (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498033)

We don't have a laser that can cut apart something as large as a large building much less a mountain sized meteor. The point of the laser is the equivalent of spraying a beach ball ball with a squirt gun. A small shift in trajectory (basically a little nudge), at distances like a parsec can change the final position by more than the diameter of the Earth, which would turn a direct hit into a near miss. As long as we have several decades of warning that a meteor is a threat, we have time to bump the asteroid enough to change its course without too much effort, but if we don't find it until it's on final approach, then the amount of power needed to avert tragedy is much greater.

Re:Cool (1)

voidphoenix (710468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498943)

at distances like a parsec

I do not think it [wikipedia.org] means what you think it means...

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39503515)

*wooosh*

Government promises to only use them for asteroids (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496991)

"These satellites, which we will use for asteroid deflection only, not for covert assassinations or as a dreadful weapon of war, will be a vital part in ensuring the future of human civilization" said a Pentagon spokesperson. "We look forward for a chance to put these satellites, which will not be a part of any secret missile shield program nor used to destroy terrorist hideouts, into orbit to protect our planet."

Diplomacy won't find a way (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497011)

Like the dozens of similar comments waiting to suggest that this technology could be used to target land-based settlements (although if you RTFA, it's suggested that it might not be able to) or other satellites, there will probably be a number of concerned politicians who will gun this down on the same premises. With all of the cyberwar going on these days, both intergovernmental and rogue, it seems inevitable that someone will figure out how to hijack these things. (Possibly Kevin Mitnick whistling into a payphone with a wad of chewing gum and a wrapper.)

And hence the first rule of world-changing mad science: don't make the world's largest bomb if you have to count on others to use it for deterrence.

Re:Diplomacy won't find a way (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497587)

It sounds like the plan is for the satellites to only be launched when an asteroid is detected incoming (probably a few months before it would hit), since they mention flying the satellites in formation with the asteroid. That means the satellites aren't a permanent thing and in fact will probably be non-functional after serving their purpose, so there really couldn't ever be any political argument against a deployment of such a system in a case of actual need (I mean a good political argument, I'm sure someone will still find a way). Development, on the other hand, that might encounter some resistance, but considering the US Navy is already developing directed-energy and long-range railgun weapons, I doubt it (not to mention the US is looking at satellite weapons that actually can be used on ground targets, which makes this system completely innocent by comparison).

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497021)

I don't know why they're looking at lasers, but the only idea I've heard, which sounds workable, is send up robotic rockets which attach, drive in a spike or something, and drive the thing to a new course.

Why lasers? Do you really trust them not to ever be directed earthbound, towards some guy who has a name which rhymes with Sim Pong Nun? So very tempting and all you need is a rationalizer-in-chief to make it so.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (3, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497243)

If you look at the details, which would include the mass and velocity of the asteroid in question, you'll understand. The mass and fuel needed for such a "tug" satellite would be directly proportional and not possibly to launch, much less have extra fuel to maneuver over to the target, etc.

They asteroids in question only look small and slow because of the incomprehensible size and emptiness of the background. That is, lack of a good reference point.

http://www.brighthub.com/science/space/articles/64710.aspx [brighthub.com]

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497351)

Um . . . okay.

But it doesn't matter whether we use a gravity tug, a physically attached rocket tug, lasers or any other technology. At the end of the day the energy requirements are the same. We have to apply a considerable amount of force over a considerable amount of time. Even if we could come up with a long enough extension cord to plug satellite based lasers into the wall, the electric bill would be enormous. Incidentally, what's the energy efficiency on your average high-power laser? Also, how much of that energy ends up as delta-v when the lasers paint yon incoming asteroid?

At least a gravity tug doesn't require a constant input of energy to function - but even a gravity tug will end up costing the same amount of energy to do the same amount of work. Physics is a bitch - if we need a 3% delta-v on a billion-ton object, we need to pony up x amount of energy to do it.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (2)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497599)

I believe the supposition is that the lasers could act over a long time and at very long ranges when compared to kinetic methods which would have to wait until the thing got close before acting. The earlier you start pushing on the object the less you have to push in order to change its course sufficiently. As far as supplying power, in addition to solar and onboard reactors there is also the possibility of beaming energy from the ground. It would be inefficient, but then you just send way more energy than is needed at the other end.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498891)

"At the end of the day the energy requirements are the same."

No.

Conventional rocket: you have to haul up the fuel and the reaction mass. Also very inefficient

Ion thruster: very efficient, can be solar powered, but you still have to haul up the reaction mass

Lasers: probably more efficient than a conventional rocket, can be solar powered, don't need reaction mass (they use the asteroid for that)

The amount of stuff you have to haul up to the asteroid is GREATLY reduced using the laser solution, and therefore the total required energy is much less.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498755)

Lasers are more efficient because they use bits of the asteroid itself as reaction mass.

This idea is to use lots of little lasers instead of one big one. The big one could theoretically be directed Earthward, maybe, but the little ones almost certainly can't. They're too small to have much effect through the atmosphere.

If some military with launch capabilities wants to put lasers in orbit, you won't even know about it. Why would they advertise it by calling it an asteroid shield?

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499989)

If some military with launch capabilities wants to put lasers in orbit, you won't even know about it. Why would they advertise it by calling it an asteroid shield?

You advertise it so you can put a bigger laser in orbit; since this is a popular threat scenario you can probably militarize the hell out of space before people wake up to object. But then again, maybe I'm a cynic.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500259)

The proposal is to put smaller lasers up.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500701)

The proposal is to put smaller lasers up.

Meh, really?

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39502309)

The article: the details it has.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

madmayr (1969930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497025)

yep ... what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497077)

"These satellites, which we will use for asteroid deflection only, not for covert assassinations or as a dreadful weapon of war, will be a vital part in ensuring the future of human civilization" said a Pentagon spokesperson. "We look forward for a chance to put these satellites, which will not be a part of any secret missile shield program nor used to destroy terrorist hideouts, into orbit to protect our planet."

Meanwhile, at the UN "We other, lesser governments, know that the US is only interested in protecting ALL of us (the little people) from comets and such and not just interested in militarizing space because they just couldn't....they wouldn't." "They'd never blow anybody up with these" added Iraq.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (3, Interesting)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497085)

Lasers are just a way to transfer energy and the only energy those satellites will have comes from a few solar panels. It would be too weak to pose a threat to even a single human. It could theoretically be used for targeting though.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497787)

It would be too weak to pose a threat to even a single human.

Careful with the hyperbole there. A couple 10s of watts is enough to pose a threat to a human (as in "burns-a-hole-through-you" threat).
50mw is enough if you count "blindness" as a threat.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499641)

Would that still apply if the source of the laser is out of the atmosphere and the human in question is within the atmosphere, quite a distance away?

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497869)

Wrong! the solar cells don't have to be itty bitty things if they are out of the atmosphere.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39498221)

This would make an awesome addition to our laser guided munition platforms. Most of the risk involved in operating those platforms is having to lase the target.

If we dual-purpose this project (atmospheric defense and orbital target marking) we could definitely get the money from our bloated defense budget to pay for it. After all, that is how we funded the space program during the 60s (the only time we actually made any real progress in space).

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499137)

gas's can be use to make laers of HIGH power these could be use to power the lasers and soler used for the computers to guide the lasers

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499483)

If these swarms could be used to nudge asteroids so that they don't hit Earth, they could also be used to nudge asteroids so that they do hit Earth.

Any such project will have unprecedented offensive capability.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39503303)

We can't even tell if an asteroid will hit Earth or not with reasonable precision, we can only calculate a chance. Controlling or even telling where will it hit Earth is impossible, which means anyone who tries this has a fair chance of directing the asteroid on themselves.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499549)

I have this capacitor bank that's been charged for a few weeks by some modest solar panels and this whole setup powers this free electron laser I've been working on. If you think it's too weak to be a threat, then I hope you wouldn't mind stepping in front of it during the next planned demonstration for the black budget comittee.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497131)

It wasn't even a good movie [wikipedia.org] when they did it with missiles.

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (1)

cap'n z00mpix (2502674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499871)

an autonomous network of satellites orbiting earth safely out of reach, with lasers powerful enough to deflect a huge asteroid - what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Government promises to only use them for astero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39503139)

"These satellites, which we will use for asteroid deflection only, not for covert assassinations or as a dreadful weapon of war, will be a vital part in ensuring the future of human civilization" said a Pentagon spokesperson. "We look forward for a chance to put these satellites, which will not be a part of any secret missile shield program nor used to destroy terrorist hideouts, into orbit to protect our planet."

With all of the computer network breakins in the past couple of years, what's to stop the same thing from happening here?

I stopped reading at (4, Funny)

Kam Solusar (974711) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497015)

I stopped reading at "Swarm of Laser Wielding..." when an image popped into my mind:
A big bad asteroid hurtling towards our little blue planet. Then the camera pans around and we see a huge number of little dots. Flying closer, we see a huge swarm of frickin' space sharks swooping down towards the asteroid, shooting their lasers at it while Bruce Willis, riding the lead shark, yells "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker." I'd pay money to see that.

Re:I stopped reading at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497059)

Thank you for that.

Re:I stopped reading at (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499663)

Much cooler than my mental image of a giant, menacing looking asteroid coming our way, and the earth turning into a giant disco ball of asteroid-destoying laser power. I have to admit, it was heavily inspired by a stage in Rez, so there was also trippy electronic music playing and flashing lights.

Re:I stopped reading at (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499803)

I stopped reading at, "I stopped reading at..."

Satellites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497065)

Why satellites and not frickin' sharks?

didn't they do this on Stargate SG1?? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497125)

as i remember it did not go so well hint if they look like pyramids they are a NO GO

This is cool... but sorry, Brown People... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497211)

.. in the end it'll come down to some sort of headline like this: "Lasers in the Sky used to burn Brown People in ".

---If detected in time...maybe (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497285)

We can't identify all potential large asteroids and astrophysicists have estimated those % and they are, as I recall, 10-20% of those in the Kuiper Belt.

Even with the best defensive satellites, we may not detect a big asteroid in time to deflect it. Some significant asteroids approach from the direction of the Sun making them hard to detect.

When the diameter of an asteroid gets twice as large, it takes 8 times the energy to alter its course a given amount and certainly has probably more than 8 times the impact damage.

The amount of energy needed to accomplish the task in a short amount of months seems unrealistic to me, but I admit I am not a physicist. If you have ten passes (near misses) to alter its course maybe you can win. Unfortunately, every time an asteroid comes close to Earth, its orbit changes a bit and who knows it doesn't get closer to some other object away from the earth that then swings the orbit dead on (pardon the expression) to earth, such that your early slight movements were counteracted.

It is certainly iffy. I want to go on a vacation now.

Practice targets (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497323)

Hm, how about practice on space junk now in orbit around earth? Less distance means you need less precise aim, and you start making a dent in all the junk in orbit. In addition you don't have to wait until there is something in range to practice.

Re:Practice targets (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497639)

Good idea. Target practice that cleans up litter. Slow the junk down so it drops out of orbit.

As a pacifist... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497373)

...I deplore these aggressive measures. The better answer is to move the Earth out of the asteroid's way.

A power so great... (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497427)

It's a power so great it can only be used for good or evil!

HAHA (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497437)

Where are the Spaceballs when we need them? Mega-maid will handle this!

Re:HAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497649)

I didn't think it was possible, but your comment both sucks and blows.

Accept Fate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39497487)

We should just accept our fate. Why meddle in God's work? If the planet is wiped out by an asteroid, let us embrace our destiny instead of trying to change it. Our deity knows what is best for us.

Re:Accept Fate (1)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497553)

0/10 unless you're not sitting in a heated room

Re:Accept Fate (1)

haydensdaddy (1719524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497609)

Keep YOUR deity to YOUR self. I'll go with Mal on this, "If someone tries to kill you, you kill 'em right back..."

Love the units (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497569)

Exactly how many gigatons is "several million nuclear bombs"?

I mean, obviously it's largely irrelevant at the scales they're talking about and the layperson reads that as "several million times the hiroshima bomb" which is what they're going for. But can we stop dumbing down this shit and actually try to educate people just a little?

Re:Love the units (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499103)

"I mean, obviously it's largely irrelevant at the scales they're talking about"

The measurement is highly variable so it's not a problem to have the unit be a bit vague. You said yourself it doesn't matter.

Why not... (2)

DroolTwist (1357725) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497655)

... have the LHC generate a black hole, and time it so the black hole intercepts the asteroid and eats it?

Re:Why not... (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497965)

Because then we'd have a black hole heading for Earth instead of an asteroid.

Re:Why not... (2)

DroolTwist (1357725) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498515)

But then we could just fire up the LHC again, and send a black hole to eat the black hole, and just repeat as necessary.

Re:Why not... (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500305)

... until the LHC breaks down (which seems to happen pretty often). You know, it wouldn't surprise me if that scenario was made into a Japanese anime movie.

Duplication of effort (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39497829)

We've already done one! We use self detonating attack robot overlords. Would you trust a Glaswegian university to control weapons of mass destruction like that anyway? Maybe they need psychological testing because they are advocating space born light speed projected nuclear strength beam energy weapons, to be put in the most deadly, crazy and strange people imaginable. Scottish academics. :0)

See also, "Acts of God" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39498029)

Or, "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Learned To Love Massive Asteroid Impacts That Wipe Out All Surface Life"

1 100kt nuke a billion miles before it hits (2)

voss (52565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498101)

We are talking about a 400 lb payload. Compare that with the 1800 lb of a voyager probe.

Re:1 100kt nuke a billion miles before it hits (1)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498335)

Why would getting hit with a scorched asteroid be any different from a non-scorched asteroid?

Re:1 100kt nuke a billion miles before it hits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499335)

style points?

Re:1 100kt nuke a billion miles before it hits (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500271)

Properly placed, it would remove some mass from the object. Given enough time, that will changed it's trajectory. And the sooner we know, the less mass we need to change.

This sounds like an idea I had recently (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498225)

This sounds like an idea I had recently [google.com] .

I wonder if the spacecraft actually have to get close to the asteroid for this to work. I mean, once you're in orbit, you're more than half way to anywhere you want to go, but I still wonder if a system like this wouldn't be more responsive and easier to maintain if we kept it in earth orbit? Do we have lasers that won't diverge more than a meter over a few gigameters of distance?

Re:This sounds like an idea I had recently (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39502455)

This sounds like an idea I had recently [google.com] .

Actually, it sounds more like an idea Kenton Varda had :)

Jokes aside,

Do we have lasers that won't diverge more than a meter over a few gigameters of distance?

No, we don't. I couldn't find numbers, but as you'd probably need lenses to produce a collimated beam it'd be extremely difficult to manufacture them with enough precision. Even a meter of divergence would be far to wide to generate enough heat to cause a burst of ejected material. According to the researchers in The Fine Article you'll want to get those lasers in as close as possible.

No we need.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39498551)

..a single laser mounted triangular ship that spins and thrusts on a 2d plane

Oblig Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39498743)

"Here, nobody here...always alone." -MPU

Move along, nothing to see here (2)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39498929)

Its for... asteroids where asteroid means: hostile target.

It is, of course, (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500249)

all about time. IF you had enough time, you could just launch rocks and have a robot pt them on the asteroid. the increase in mass will changes it's course.

I'm thinking (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39502301)

day of the triffids

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?