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ESA Selects Targets for Asteroid Deflection Test

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the these-aren't-your-grandfather's-windmills dept.

Space 284

Vandil X writes "The European Space Agency has announced that it has selected two candidate asteroid targets for a planned mission to impact an asteroid in an attempt to deflect the asteroid off course by a measurable amount. The mission, dubbed "Don Quijote," will send two spacecraft to their final choice asteroid. One craft will impact the asteroid while the other will observe the asteroid before and after the collision. The mission craft and target selection are expected to be finalized sometime in 2007."

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heh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655521)

sweet

Re:heh (1)

Hamilton Publius (909539) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655823)

Millions of people have read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and marveled at her fictional portrayals of the badly run Taggart Transcontinental Railroad and a statist national government. Today, as Congress considers showering Amtrak with higher subsidies, it's time to recognize the striking parallels between the novelist's railroad and the dysfunctional Amtrak system.

Rand's account is hauntingly current. In her novel, Taggart Transcontinental Railroad ran nearly empty trains on rural routes as a matter of "public equality." If one state had trains then, by gosh, another had to have them, too, no matter how much money they lost. Today, Amtrak runs trains like the Southwest Chief between Chicago and Los Angeles whose financial loss is so great that it requires a federal subsidy of $420 per passenger. It's cheaper for taxpayers to buy airline tickets and give them to these Amtrak passengers than to preserve the train.

Last year Amtrak lost more than $908 million on its 15 long distance routes, which could easily be cut since more than 50 percent of Amtrak passengers ride on just ten percent of the system.

In Atlas Shrugged, "good-hearted" politicians financed the continuation of lightly used trains by shortchanging maintenance on heavily used infrastructure. When such policies contributed to the collapse of the Taggart Tunnel, a key link, the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad came to a halt. Similarly, Amtrak allocates capital to frivolous projects while being painfully slow over three decades in correcting safety shortcomings in its Manhattan tunnels, the busiest in the country. U.S. DOT Inspector General Ken Mead concluded that it's unacceptable for Amtrak to budget millions of dollars to repair sleeper cars for long-distance trains while under-investing in strategic fixed assets.

In her novel, Taggart Transcontinental Railroad employees believed they had a "right" to jobs regardless of the economic insignificance of their work. Again life imitates fiction at Amtrak. If train service is discontinued completely on a route, a severance package provides many employees with full salary for five years. Amtrak's job-protection absurdity is unparalleled in other industries.

The national government in Rand's novel, hostile to capitalism and property rights, permitted the Taggart Transcontinental to run over other companies' tracks without paying proper fees. Slashdot has long empowered Amtrak to operate over tracks of the freight railroads and pay far less than commercial rates. This despite the fact that its trains often interfere with freight operations and add to delays, which cheats shareholders of the track-owning companies. The Union Pacific Railroad said that Amtrak underpays by $60-70 million annually for using its facilities. Incidentally, even publicly sponsored commuter railroads like Metra in Chicago pay acceptable, negotiated rates to U.S. freight railroads, further proof that the mandated discounts for Amtrak are an unfair bargain.

After more than $27 billion in federal subsidies to Amtrak another Congressional bailout will only perpetuate Amtrak and its deplorable management. We need to get rid of market-irrelevant routes and open remaining lines to competitive bids from private companies that specialize in contracting-out for services.

Ayn Rand had the uncommon sense of exposing large truths. We can see today that ill-conceived, politically motivated projects failed on both the mythical Taggart Transcontinental and the real Amtrak. I'd support someone who held Rand's views for Congress. Her opposition to government handouts would offset radical spenders who want to increase Amtrak subsidies when they should be dismantling the hopeless organization.

Something wrong with p? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655526)

What's wrong with the good old p=mv (momentum)?

Re:Something wrong with p? (5, Insightful)

Zaak (46001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655575)

What's wrong with the good old p=mv (momentum)?

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
-- Yogi Berra

TTFN

Re:Something wrong with p? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655645)

I suggest that you pay a math Ph.D. $100 to assemble a 17x23 array of beads and count them, to make sure that 17*23 indeed equals 391.

Re:Something wrong with p? (3, Funny)

LordRPI (583454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655625)

Yeah, unfortunately there is something wrong with that equation. It does not take into account of the direction of which the asteroid will be deflected. Although I hope that the mathematics used to base the "crash" on would be calculated so that it does not shift the objects into a collision course with Earth. Knowing us, some organization will use British units, one will use Metric.

Re:Something wrong with p? (1, Informative)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655681)

Just use p = mv, where p and v are 3-dimensional vectors.

Re:Something wrong with p? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655718)

Wasn't written using vector notation :P

Re:Something wrong with p? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655720)

> Yeah, unfortunately there is something wrong with that equation. It
> does not take into account of the direction of which the asteroid
> will be deflected.

p and v are vectors.

> Although I hope that the mathematics used to base the "crash" on
> would be calculated so that it does not shift the objects into a
> collision course with Earth.

They will choose a target with an orbit such that it is not possible for the maximum amount of momentum that the spacecraft could deliver to change the target's orbit to an Earth collision course. This is not hard as almost all asteroids are in orbits which could not be easily made to collide with the Earth.

Re:Something wrong with p? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655769)

Oops, sorry. I looked it up, you're right, I'm a troll. All apologies - been many years since I've put this to use.

Re:Something wrong with p? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655638)

I think they want to determine how much p of the impactor is needed to change the v of a rock. You see, the important thing is whether the micro-asteroid will stay together or not. Delta p is known in advance, of course!

Re:Something wrong with p? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655834)

What if delta p!=0?

Re:Something wrong with p? (4, Insightful)

MyGodAreThereNoNickn (918094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655705)

I haven't RTFA, but I expect that they aren't looking to challenge the laws of physics as much as test their engineering skills. It's pretty hard to hit something that far away and going that fast, especially if you want to hit it a particular way. They are probably testing to see if they can hit it just the way they want to so that they can actually make use of p=mv.

Re:Something wrong with p? (1)

Almost-Retired (637760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655816)

What's wrong with the good old p=mv (momentum)?

Well, for starters, we don't have a very good idea of the value of the m in that equation, where the m actually stands for the mass of the (rock? we don't often know).

v we know pretty closely, but whats your definition of p?

Cheers, Gene

Now... (1)

kakashiryo (866772) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655530)

let's hope these rockets don't inherit our fellow gentleman's sense of direction... ;D

Sweet mercy (4, Funny)

casio282 (468834) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655535)

I hope Bruce Willis in onboard.

Re:Sweet mercy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655622)

Better still, send Jamie & Adam. They would love to blow the mother up.

Re:Sweet mercy (5, Funny)

raider_red (156642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655732)

Good call, but let's leave Ben Affleck on the asteroid this time.

Re:Sweet mercy (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655736)

Priorities first: Lance Bass.

Re:Sweet mercy (Fuck Bruce) (1)

Nikkodemus (763778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655923)

Fuck Bruce, send Steve Ballmer, ass first, with a chair as an advance probe, God help the asteroid.

NO DADDY NO (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655537)

Can't we just drill 20 miles into it and blow the fucker up with a nuke?

Re:NO DADDY NO (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655851)

Explosions don't work so hot in a vacuum.

you wait, they'll have the last laugh (1)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655539)

...when that big one comes flying by to send us up, the ESA will be there to save. Armageddon (the movie) anyone?

Crash? (4, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655545)

Is this simply a kamikazee run? I did not read anything to make me think otherwise. I seriously question the science of this... being able to calculate the change in direction should only be complicate by not knowing the exact mass of the asteroid.

I would think something like white paint (using the reflective properties to move the asteroid) would be more interesting. Slower, for sure, but much more effective over a period of months or years.

Is there something to this mission that I am missing?

Re:Crash? (1)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655572)

Is this simply a kamikazee run? I did not read anything to make me think otherwise. I seriously question the science of this...

Is there something to this mission that I am missing?

Only the facts of how they plan on moving the asteroid.

Re:Crash? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655588)

Only the facts of how they plan on moving the asteroid.

Care to enlighten me?

Re:Crash? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655609)

I would think something like white paint (using the reflective properties to move the asteroid) would be more interesting. Slower, for sure, but much more effective over a period of months or years.

That is one possible way to move an asteroid. What they're trying is another.

How bout we try both, so that if we ever REALLY have to do it, we'll have some clue as to what works better.

Re:Crash? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655629)

I just think that smashing something into an asteroid could easily be calculated. I don't see what the complications are. We are dealing with very simple physics here. Unless they are working on their ability to HIT the asteroid, I am not sure what they hope to learn.

Re:Crash? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Luddite (808273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655660)

>> We are dealing with very simple physics here.

You've never played nine-ball for money have you? Banging one object into another doesn't always have predictable results.

Re:Crash? (1)

Almost-Retired (637760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655872)

You've never played nine-ball for money have you? Banging one object into another doesn't always have predictable results.

Ahh, but they are predictable IF all the variables are known. By all the variables, I mean even the effect of your sweaty fingerprints on the balls from the last time they were racked. There are numerous effects to contend with on the billiard table, many of which are not very well known, or under our control. Those who can guess well, or have some sense of those effects are the ones we call champions. And knowing your own table is a large advantage too, because you know the exact amount of bounce from the cushions, and how it varies over the location on the table. I'm pretty fair on my own table, but only just average on the average bar table that has had little or no maintainance other than a fresh rug every 5 years or so.

--
Cheers, Gene

Re:Crash? (5, Insightful)

republican gourd (879711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655632)

Yes, the possible deflection of an object of a given mass and velocity when struck with another object can be calculated. But you miss lots of other important information if you ignore real world tests. Just off the top of my head:

1) You assume that the target object is solid enough to resist being broken into multiple pieces. It does no good to deflect a small chunk of the object while the main mass continues on its normal course.

2) If you are planning on hitting an object enough to deflect it, you need... a bit of practice. The targetting, propulsion and all other such systems are just as big a part of this test as anything else. All the mathematics in the world won't help you play pool with a bad cue.

3) Is a collision with an asteroid likely to be elastic? Will the striking object bounce off of the target or embed itself within it? These are very different models as far as where the force goes.

4) As a side effect, you get more information along the lines of the previous Deep Impact probe.

Re:Crash? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655783)

1) Biggest problem as far as I can see, we may become experts at shooting solid cored bodies in space, but would still be bolloxed with a "fragile" mass.

2) We almost routinely manage to shoot spacecraft into orbit around other planets.
This requires great precision and skill, being slightly off will cause the craft to either skim the atmosphere and shoot off into space, or burn up in it. We have also performed a number of rendezvous with asteroids and comets in the past. This I believe is the "easiest" part of the mission.

3) Whether it is deflected or absorbed is almost irrelevant, the collision MUST cause a deflection, and that deflection is always going to be opposite to the impact vector.

4) Lets just hope the cameras are focused this time.

Re:Crash? (1)

rafemonkey (152890) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655656)

The big problem is not that they don't know the mass, but rather that they're not sure of the composition or structural integrity of asteroids. Maybe they are poorly cemented balls of rock, in which case slamming a rocket into one will just shake it up rather than move it. Each asteriod is likely to be slightly different, and in enough ways that it's pretty tricky to model. Of course, the bright students will notice the flaw in this reasoning... all this test will prove is that they could (or could not) deflect a certain asteroid (and maybe shed some light on the possibility of deflecting others that seem similar). Unfourtunately this doesn't tell us too much about our chances of deflecting the one that ends up having our name on it.

Re:Crash? (4, Funny)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655694)

I would think something like white paint (using the reflective properties to move the asteroid) would be more interesting.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have here a person who literally thinks that watching paint dry is more interesting than watching an explosion. Sir, I wish you good luck in finding a circus capable of handling your freakishness.

Re:Crash? (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655746)

ir, I wish you good luck in finding a circus capable of handling your freakishness.

I have. It is called "Slashdot".

What happens... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655547)

...if they blow it off course in the wrong direction?

Re:What happens... (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655567)

We all die.

Seriously, though. If you read the article, you would know that they picked an asteroid that will never cross the earth's path (more than 1AU from sun at all times). The tiny nudge would be like hitting Pavorati with a spit ball. Not nearly enough to make it an earth killer.

Re:What happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655684)

The best laid plans...

Re:What happens... (2, Funny)

ozTravman (898206) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655699)

Maybe they will conduct scale model tests with Pavorati and spit balls.

Re:What happens... (1)

ag0ny (59629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655770)

"Pavarotti", not "Pavorati".

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655548)

What if the asteroid is the size of texas? Is the rocket strong enough to knock something that large off it's course?

Re:hmm (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655648)

Provided that it is two dimentional, then sure...

lets try.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655550)

sending two amadillos with nukes like in armagedon.

Liv Tyler? (4, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655556)

I'll go if Liv Tyler is waiting upon my return (although when I get back she will be a bit old).
FTA: On 19 December 2004 MN4, an asteroid of about 400 m, lost since its discovery six months earlier, was observed again and its orbit was computed. It immediately became clear that the chances that it could hit the Earth during a close encounter in 2029 were unusually high. As the days passed the probability did not decrease and the asteroid became notorious for surpassing all previous records in the Torino and Palermo impact risk scales - scales that measure the risk of an asteroid impact just as the Richter scale quantifies the size of an earthquake.
It is funny what we never think of- every night while we sleep there are so many people keeping us safe- Call me a geek, but astronomers are unsung heroes. I am glad someone is worried about destruction of the Earth...

Re:Liv Tyler? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655640)

I am glad someone is worried about destruction of the Earth...

Me too!

*sticks pinky to his mouth*

I would second that... (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655651)

...except she might marry some freakin' king by the time I return from my journey. Damn men, always cockblocking us elves!

Re:Liv Tyler? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655685)

How are they keeping us safe? If an asteroid were on a collision course, there's pretty much no plan right now, nothing we could do. Not to mention that as far as the public knows, there aren't any on a collision course. And a comet hitting the Earth isn't the destruction of Earth. At worst, it's the extinction of every species on Earth, and based on previous incidents, it's highly likely and life will continue (human life may end, but even that's not certain).

They do great work, but I'd hardly call them heroes - if an astronomer were to sacrifice his career to get the message out, or something similar, then there'd be a reason for that title.

Re:Liv Tyler? (5, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655822)

It is funny what we never think of- every night while we sleep there are so many people keeping us safe- Call me a geek, but astronomers are unsung heroes.

Yeah, like the guy at the water treatment facility - who keeps us from plague, or the fed-ex guy- who transports vital medical supplies, or the building inspector- who ensures our structures don't collapse on us, or the guy who draws those warning pictures - so we don't accidently eat our Shuffles, or telephone sanitizers.

Astronomers do an important job, but calling them unsung heroes is a little much. If they volunteer to be stuffed in a cannon and shot at the asteroid to deflect its path, then i'd call them heroes.

Stuffed in a cannon?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655893)

If they volunteer to be stuffed in a cannon and shot at the asteroid to deflect its path, then i'd call them heroes.

I wouldn't, because that would just be stupid of them.

The public will get to view the event (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655559)

... but can only watch it in black and white vector graphics, and have to pay $0.25 to view it.

Artist's conceptions of spacecraft (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655560)

...are located here [ucalgary.ca] . Looks kind of odd.

Dateline 27 September 2159 (5, Funny)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655561)

In other news, the asteroid deflected in 2008 by the European Space Agency has been confirmed as hitting Earth in December this year, with an expected impact point near Switzerland.

It's been nice knowing you folks.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655580)

or what if the deflected comet strikes some alien planet and they somehow put 2 and 2 together and track it back to us.

They think it was an act of war then show up and melt our faces. Thanks a lot NASA. You're tax dollars at work.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655813)



European Space Agency

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (1)

awtbfb (586638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655610)

I wonder what percentage of us thought roughly the same thing upon reading this summary. Probably a good metric of whether you belong here.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655723)

Not funny and highly unlikely. This post doesn't do anything else than to repeat paranoid slashot posts.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (1)

Hrodvitnir (101283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655760)

That's preposterous. If we have the ability to deflect an asteroid in 2008, surely we have the ability to do so in 2159.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (0, Troll)

TekPolitik (147802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655894)

That's preposterous. If we have the ability to deflect an asteroid in 2008, surely we have the ability to do so in 2159.

Not when you factor in the likely effect of certain White House policies - if WWIII doesn't get us, and global infrastructure survives climate change well enough to support continued space flight, then scientists are likely to be burned at the stake as heretics in the new dark ages.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (1)

zephc (225327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655914)

Unless the damn dirty apes have taken over by then.

If it hit land, consider ourselves lucky (4, Insightful)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655891)

If it were to impact a landmass, we could consider ourselves lucky. Given the high proportion of water to land on the planet, the odds are overwhelmingly against a land impact. Sure, it happens. Sure, it would suck. A land impact would undoubtedly render complete destruction over a large area, alter local climate, cause all fault-lines to shatter, and reduce the affected area to glowing slag. However, that IS the good news. Now the bad news: Models of an ocean impact suggest the global climate would be upset for decades - if not longer. It would impose near ice-age conditions due to solar energy reflected by the planet-wide clouds caused by the vaporization of several trillion tons of seawater. Muddy, salty rain would destroy the world's breadbaskets. Sunlight might not reach the surface for tens of years.

..The implications are enormous, and need not be enumerated; surely the point is made.

Actions such as these aimed at researching the feasibility of deflection should be supported, not something due scorn. The odds of such a cataclysm occurring in our lifetime are indeed negligible...but surely, being prepared is better than being caught with our pants down.

Alarmist? Maybe; the course of history will judge.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (1)

Almost-Retired (637760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655896)

n other news, the asteroid deflected in 2008 by the European Space Agency has been confirmed as hitting Earth in December this year, with an expected impact point near Switzerland.

Lets try that again please. Somehow, you've contrived to have it hit us at least 3 years before it was deflected. This is, in case you've not seen a calendar lately, 2005 (yet).

--
Cheers, Gene

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655932)

Almost-Retired meet Subect Line; Subject Line, Almost-Retired.

Re:Dateline 27 September 2159 (1)

kiore (734594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655937)

Last I checked 2159 was planned to occur after 2008 which is, in turn, after 2005.

But what about.... (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655564)

my horoscope... this could immeasurably ruin my life!! Don't these insensitive rock-et science clods know they could end up making it so I never meet a woman?

Re:But what about.... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655740)

Oh wait!! After 32 years of rejection, maybe this will be a GOOD thing? Yeah, alright! I'm going to get lucky .... in 2029.... maybe... fsck! space exploration is SLOWWWW

Re:But what about.... (2, Funny)

pseudochaotic (548897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655902)

You're so worried about your chances of meeting a woman, you posted to slashdot about it. -_- Right.

Please ban punctuations from names! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655566)

":CueCat"
"Yahoo!"
"Don Quijote,"

are we sure about that? (0, Redundant)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655569)

we can't even project to Moon without gravitation force guiding our way, how are we to know which way the detered astroid will head toward after?

Are we that competent already?

Doesn't sound like a brilight idea to push rocks around in the space...

Re:are we sure about that? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655653)

Hu? We've succesfully ploted satallite course that do very near flybys of several planets in a row. We can accuratly project where and astroid will go, problem is projections start to get a bit hazy after 20 years out. And this is mainly due to not knowing its exact mass, as well as unpredicable random forces (small astroids, sun flares etc)

Oh my... (1)

flav0rc0untry (916053) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655573)

I just hope they don't shoot back.

Finally our US sattelites... (1)

deft (253558) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655574)

Have something interesting to target... a sattelite packed with explosives.

Fire up the lazers! (and yes, our hunter killer lazer sattelites are code named doplin 1, and dolphin 2.) We are not without a deadly sense of humor!

*Bam* Oh crap here it comes!!! (-1, Redundant)

RUFFyamahaRYDER (887557) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655579)

What if they pick a the astroid and send out the deflection but the test fails and it actually knocks the astroid in the Earth's direction? I hope they have a plan B...

Re:*Bam* Oh crap here it comes!!! (1)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655676)

FTA: People might wonder whether performing a deflection test, such as that planned for Don Quijote, represents any risk to our planet. What if things go wrong? Could we create a problem, rather than learn how to avoid one?

Experts world-wide say the answer is no. Even a very dramatic impact of a heavy spacecraft on a small asteroid would only result in a minuscule modification of the object's orbit.

Target objects can also be selected so that all possible concerns are avoided altogether, by looking into the way the distance between the asteroid's and the Earth's orbits changes with time. If the target asteroid is not an 'Earth crosser', as is the case with NEOs in the 'Amor' class (which have orbits with perihelion distance well in excess of 1 AU), testing a deflection manoeuvre represents no risk to the Earth.
So in other words, no need to worry. Go along with your daily routine as usual.

Re:*Bam* Oh crap here it comes!!! (1)

RUFFyamahaRYDER (887557) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655710)

*whew*

Re:*Bam* Oh crap here it comes!!! (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655678)

The scientists figured that the solar system is too stable - in order to justify a space program, they have to engineer some collisions with earth.

Now we just need to wait.. (1)

Uplore (706578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655592)

For another [slashdot.org] crackpot astrologer to sue for this 'celestial vandalism'..

Fighting windmills? (4, Interesting)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655598)

Surely they should have chosen a name that implied success rather than invoke the name of a hopeless romantic who is known for fighting the inevitable.

And they could have spelled it correctly: Don Quixote.

Re:Fighting windmills? (1)

Sephiriz (852638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655641)

I'm not totally sure, but in different languages isn't the spelling slightly changed? Or perhaps the ESA intended some sort of pun, of which I'm totally unaware of. Or, as you suggested, a lack of spelling ability.

Re:Fighting windmills? (2, Insightful)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655665)

And they could have spelled it correctly: Don Quixote.

http://www.aache.com/quijote/ [aache.com]

rj

Re:Fighting windmills? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655696)

> And they could have spelled it correctly: Don Quixote. Not really. ESA is a consortium paid by 17 Member States. While their working language is probably English (in Europe you can't really know, with these pesky Frenchies), the names of the missions are in other languages. "Don Quijote" is the right spelling in modern Spanish.

revised standard Don Quixote (1)

bodrell (665409) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655843)

Surely they should have chosen a name that implied success rather than invoke the name of a hopeless romantic who is known for fighting the inevitable.

And they could have spelled it correctly: Don Quixote.
I'm sure it's just spelled with a J for the less educated folks who want a modern version they can understand. Shakespeare usually avoids being severely butchered in classroom textbooks, but you can bet they changed a whole lot of V's to U's and a whole lot of F's to S's, so children could at least pronounce the words. Haven't you ever done a double-take when you've seen the word "Congrefs" written on a piece of parchment?

BTW, I was thinking something along the same lines regarding fighting windmills. I guess they think deflecting an asteroid is a pretty insurmountable task.

Re:revised standard Don Quixote (3, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655916)

...and a whole lot of F's to S's, so children could at least pronounce the words. Haven't you ever done a double-take when you've seen the word "Congrefs" written on a piece of parchment?

**wax on** It's not an F. What you see is the "long s". It's how they used to draw an S character since the days of Carolingian Minuscule, from which hand our "Times Roman" eventually derived. You'll note there was no crossbar on the letter in that form - the crossbar distinguished the "f" from the "long s". The form we take as "s" appeared only at the end of the word. Thus, "Congrefs" would have been pronounced "Congress". **wax off**

Great idea (-1, Redundant)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655601)

then next time it comes around it might have just been pushed off course enough by our test runs to make a direct hit. Awesome. Think I'll leave a "told you so" in my video where I give my estate to future generations.

Re:Great idea (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655708)

Try R'ingTFA.

its good to know the ESA is looking out for earth (0, Troll)

doormat (63648) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655613)

Coz all my govt cares about is blowing other people's nukes out of the sky.

In case of slashdotting (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655623)

The two target candidates are:

1. 2002 AT4
2. France

What if...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655657)

What if we "deflect" it straight into the Earth? ;-)

Whatever happened... (2, Funny)

Jeian (409916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655674)

... to that crazy Russian lady who claims that stuff like this will mess up her horoscope?

Don Quixote - what a laugh! (1, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655686)

I often wonder where they get these names for missions from. There are some mission acronyms out there that are so ridiculous, they make you wonder if they didn't start with the abbreviated word first and then fill things in from there.

In this case, they've decided to name this mission after an old man off his rocker who thought he was a chivalrous knight of old. One of his more famous skirmishes was against a windmill he thought was a giant. Amazingly enough, he only damaged himself when he charged it. Perhaps that is where they have derived their inspiration. Let us hope they have a little more luck.

Re:Don Quixote - what a laugh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655863)

>I often wonder where they get these names for missions from. There are some mission acronyms out there that are so ridiculous, they make you wonder if they didn't start with the abbreviated word first and then fill things in from there.

Or my theory of Military acronyms: Throwing a hand-full of marbles at a computer's keyboard from across the room and making somehting up from what comes out!

let France colonize it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13655690)

and then it will be ruined, just like Vietnam, Haiti, New Orleans, several African nations that keep changing their names while all the citizens starve or eat each other

Hmm... But wait... (2, Interesting)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655729)

...Wouldn't the cost of such a test be well into millions of dollars? That sounds expensive for something that is just a test... But I could be wrong.

Also, never has the quote at the bottom of the screen been so appropriate.

Oh, wow! Look at the moon!

Re:Hmm... But wait... (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655761)

"..Wouldn't the cost of such a test be well into millions of dollars?"

It costs less than an "Oh shit!" down the road.

Re:Hmm... But wait... (2, Insightful)

TheComputerMutt.ca (907022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655800)

I don't see why this was modded funny, it's very serious. Testing like this now is essential if we want to have any reliable ability to do things like this in future.

OOPS (5, Funny)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655764)

What we don't want to hear after a successful deflection....

Brace for impact! (3, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655805)

Brace for another lawsuit from that kooky Russian astrologer.

I'd deflect her asteroid... (3, Funny)

Errandboy of Doom (917941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655838)

If you're interested in asteroid deflection, Jay Melosh has a few ideas [space.com] .

Including: "Deploying a giant parabolic mirror to concentrate the sun's rays and vaporize rock on the surface of the asteroid. The vaporized material flies off at high speed and generates a re-coil action that pushes the asteroid, slowly but surely, in the opposite direction."

Which is great, because the parabolic mirror can double as a way for Bruce Willis to cook and refrigerate his food [solarcooking.org] while he's there.

Awesome (2, Insightful)

Liam Slider (908600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655889)

Great! No really, we need to test out the ability to do this so when we need to do this we can. I hear China also has a planned mission very similar to this. They intent do attempt to change the course of a comet. And we've already demonstrated that we could do such a thing, with Deep Impact (what prompted the Chinese, and likely the ESA as well). True, we didn't change it's course, but if the "object" has been a nuke instead...

How depressing (0, Offtopic)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13655938)

Man, my job is so boring compared to those guys at the ESA.

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