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NASA's Planetary Defense Plan to Save the Earth from an Asteroid
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For two decades, NASA researchers have been shooting at meteorites with a high speed gun because, well, wouldn’t you if you got a government grant to blast away at meteorites?

To be clear, they’re not shooting at moving meteorites but at ones they bought from private dealers:

Deflecting an Asteroid Before It Hits Earth May Take Multiple Bumps

After years of shooting meteorites with a special gun owned by NASA, researchers highlighted challenges for a preferred method of planetary defense.

By Katherine Kornei
Aug. 25, 2021

There’s probably a large space rock out there, somewhere, that has Earth in its cross hairs. Scientists have in fact spotted one candidate — Bennu, which has a small chance of banging into our planet in the year 2182.

According to NASA, Bennu is 500 meters across and ugly as sin:

Using NASA’s Deep Space Network and state-of-the-art computer models, scientists were able to significantly shrink uncertainties in Bennu’s orbit, determining its total impact probability through the year 2300 is about 1 in 1,750 (or 0.057%). The researchers were also able to identify Sept. 24, 2182, as the most significant single date in terms of a potential impact, with an impact probability of 1 in 2,700 (or about 0.037%).

I’ve never hated a rock before, but the more I look at Bennu, the more I hate it.

Back to the NYT story:

… In the 1960s, scientists began seriously considering what to do with an asteroid on a collision course with our planet. The leading idea back then was to launch a projectile that would shatter the space rock into pieces small enough to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, said George Flynn, a physicist at State University of New York, Plattsburgh. But scientists have since come to realize that achieving such a direct, catastrophic hit is a serious challenge.

“It turns out, that’s very hard,” Dr. Flynn said.

The thinking is different today, and it’s not the Hollywood version with a nuclear bomb, either. Rather, the current leading idea is nudging an incoming asteroid aside. The way to do that, scientists generally agree, is deliberately setting up a collision between an asteroid and a much smaller, less massive object. Known as kinetic impact deflection, such a collision alters the trajectory of the asteroid ever so slightly, with the intent that its orbit changes enough to pass harmlessly by Earth.

“It may barely miss, but barely missing is enough,” Dr. Flynn said.

… In 2003, Dr. Flynn, Dr. Durda and colleagues began firing projectiles at meteorites to test the limits of kinetic impact deflection. The goal was to figure out how much momentum could be transferred to a meteorite without shattering it into shrapnel that could continue on a similar orbital path through the solar system.

“If you break it into pieces, some of those pieces may still be on a collision course with Earth,” Dr. Flynn said.

… Over the course of many years, the researchers amassed 32 meteorites, most purchased from private dealers. (The largest, roughly the size of a fist and weighing one pound, cost the team about \$900.)

…The team turned to an Apollo-era facility to test how the meteorites responded to high-speed impacts. NASA’s Ames Vertical Gun Range in California was built in the 1960s to help scientists better understand how moon craters form. It’s capable of launching projectiles at over four miles per second, far faster than a rifle.

“It’s one of the few guns on the planet that can shoot things at the speeds characteristic of impacts,” Dr. Flynn said. …

The goal was to determine the point at which a meteorite stops being simply nudged by an impact and instead starts to fragment.

… Next year, researchers will test kinetic impact deflection on a real asteroid in the solar system for the first time with NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission. The spacecraft’s target asteroid, a roughly 525-foot piece of rock known as Dimorphos, is in no danger of hitting Earth, however. The mission is expected to launch in November.

 
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  1. The spacecraft’s target asteroid, a roughly 525-foot piece of rock known as Dimorphos, is in no danger of hitting Earth

    Until some bozo with a meteorite gun deflects it.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    @International Jew

    Space, like entropy, doesn't work that way.

    , @Joe Stalin
    @International Jew


    Until some bozo with a meteorite gun deflects it.
     
    Mein Führer, We Can Do it!

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/Orion_pulse_unit.png/220px-Orion_pulse_unit.png


    The design for Project Orion originally used small hydrogen bombs whose explosion ejecta was captured on a pusher plate, a large metal plate mounted on shock absorbers. The explosion of the bomb was spherical and it was only the portion that struck the plate that created thrust. Moving the plate closer to the bomb increased the subtended angle that was captured, and thus efficiency, but at the cost of greatly increasing mechanical stress and added pusher plate weight. Baseline designs captured perhaps 10% of the energy of the bomb, a large waste. This led to considerable attention to this problem, and eventually a custom atomic bomb design for this purpose.[1]

    A conventional hydrogen bomb includes two stages; the primary is an atomic bomb normally based on plutonium, while the secondary is a mixture of fusion fuel and various boosters. The primary releases an intense burst of X-rays that heat channel filler materials (believed to be similar to styrofoam) surrounding the secondary. The heat and pressure of the x-rays and their interactions causes the secondary to implode, compressing and heating the assembly to the conditions needed for nuclear fusion to occur.[2][3]

    For the Project Orion redesign, the team removed the secondary and replaced the channel filler with beryllium oxide, which is more opaque to x-rays. On the far side of channel filler, they placed a plate of tungsten. When the primary is triggered, the beryllium oxide heats up to millions of degrees, passing this heat into the back of the tungsten plate. The tungsten is vaporized and sent flying off the end of the bomb as a plasma in a fan about 22.5 degrees wide.[4] This plasma is captured by the pusher plate for thrust, capturing perhaps 85% of the total momentum.[5] These propulsion modules were, in effect, nuclear shaped charges.[1]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casaba-Howitzer
     

    Replies: @El Dato

  2. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Replies: @Gunga Din
    @Gordo

    Exactly what I thought. Maybe the SMOD, with a little "help" from NASA, isn't that far off.

  3. @International Jew

    The spacecraft’s target asteroid, a roughly 525-foot piece of rock known as Dimorphos, is in no danger of hitting Earth
     
    Until some bozo with a meteorite gun deflects it.

    Replies: @El Dato, @Joe Stalin

    Space, like entropy, doesn’t work that way.

  4. I’ve never hated a rock before, but the more I look at Bennu, the more I hate it.

    It’s probably not a rock, but a pile of rubble, held together by various kinds of ice and gravitation.

    And indeed:

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/bennu-top-ten

    Is Bennu space trash or scientific treasure? While “rubble pile” sounds like an insult, it’s actually a real astronomy classification. Rubble-pile asteroids like Bennu are celestial bodies made from lots of pieces of rocky debris that gravity compressed together. This kind of detritus is produced when an impact shatters a much larger body (for Bennu, it was a parent asteroid around 60 miles [about 100 km] wide). Bennu, for contrast, is about as tall as the Empire State Building. It likely took just a few weeks for these shards of space wreckage to coalesce into the rubble-pile that is Bennu. Bennu is full of holes inside, with 20 to 40 percent of its volume being empty space. The asteroid is actually in danger of flying apart, if it starts to rotate much faster or interacts too closely with a planetary body.

    HERE COMES BENNU!

    It’s like one of those funny worlds you find in video games.

    • Thanks: Cato
    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @El Dato


    a parent asteroid around 60 miles [about 100 km] wide).
     
    This is a heart-warming snippet for those of us who are hoping for a big one to deal with the infestation of humanoids on this planet.

    Now let's count down the seconds before an iSteve pedant explains the difference between meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite. Hint: one of the three is not physically palpable.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    , @James Speaks
    @El Dato

    To keep up with recent developments, I have been watching 1950's Sci Fi films (actual search term). Cat Women of the Moon was particularly illuminating.

    Replies: @anon

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @El Dato

    That was written, fittingly, by Tamsyn Brann.

    The original Bennu looks like the love child of Mordecai and Benson on The Regular Show; no wonder Steve hates him:


    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/Bennu_bird.svg/1920px-Bennu_bird.svg.png


    https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/characters/images/f/f7/Mordecai_%26_Benson.jpg

  5. That asteroid can’t come soon enough.

    • LOL: George Taylor
  6. If our safety relies on NASA, we’re done!

  7. Can we please keep Dr. Hamner away from this project? His track record is not good.

    • Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom
    @Hodag


    Can we please keep Dr. Hamner away from this project? His track record is not good.
     
    Great Niven/Pournelle reference, that was a very good book. Another I recommend is Michael Flynn's Falling Stars, it's third in a series IIRC
  8. The good news is errant asteroids’ effects will be lessened for those with proof of covidvax.

  9. Oh no. Incompetent Americans are on another world saving quest. This will probably end up very badly. Hopefully most of the fragments will hit Washington, DC when Congress is in session, the president gives a speech and Supreme Court is supremely ruling them all.

    • Agree: Ron Mexico, Old Prude
  10. You mean:

    NASA’s plan for justification of implementing orbital weapons platforms.

    Right?

    • Replies: @El Dato
    @theMann

    NASA doesn't develop orbital weapons. That's DoD's bailiwick.

    Besides, these would be very useless: Extremely long-range and take months to arrive anywhere or even to reload.

  11. Bennu has been sent by the Rock Gods to avenge the humiliation suffered by N*****head a couple of weeks ago. Earthlings must learn to respect rocks.

  12. What if they manage to shoot down the spaceship hidden in Halley’s Comet as shown in Lifeforce (1985)?

    • Replies: @James Speaks
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Mathilda May will come to your house and break your equipment, that's what will happen.

  13. @Gordo
    What could possibly go wrong?

    Replies: @Gunga Din

    Exactly what I thought. Maybe the SMOD, with a little “help” from NASA, isn’t that far off.

  14. The thinking is different today, and it’s not the Hollywood version with a nuclear bomb, either. Rather, the current leading idea is nudging an incoming asteroid aside. The way to do that, scientists generally agree, is deliberately setting up a collision between an asteroid and a much smaller, less massive object.

    No, the thinking by anyone who is serious about deflecting a large asteroid is to nudge it aside by detonating a nuclear weapon at or near the surface of it. We just live in an unserious age.

    NASA’s Ames Vertical Gun Range in California was built in the 1960s to help scientists better understand how moon craters form. It’s capable of launching projectiles at over four miles per second, far faster than a rifle.

    “It’s one of the few guns on the planet that can shoot things at the speeds characteristic of impacts,” Dr. Flynn said. …

    There are any number of guns that can fire projectiles at that speed, the difference in the Ames gun is that it can be elevated to fire into the floor.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Mr. Anon

    My guess is that even the tiniest nudge, far out, would result in a very changed trajectory by the time the rock got close?

    Replies: @El Dato, @Mr. Anon

  15. We solved the problem of asteroid deflection in 1968.

    • Replies: @Anon7
    @Anon7

    So what's my point?

    The idea that we might get hit by a rock large enough to alter human history is pure science fiction. The idea that we will seriously be able to see and deflect such a rock anytime in the next hundred years is pure science fiction.

    I love science fiction and I've read and watched a lot of it. I know it when I see it. But I can tell the difference between sf and reality.

    So, speaking of reality, how's that border wall coming along? I read that even some parts of the EU are remembering their cultural roots and they are building walls.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHHMdaAnsJk

  16. @Hodag
    Can we please keep Dr. Hamner away from this project? His track record is not good.

    Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom

    Can we please keep Dr. Hamner away from this project? His track record is not good.

    Great Niven/Pournelle reference, that was a very good book. Another I recommend is Michael Flynn’s Falling Stars, it’s third in a series IIRC

  17. anon[203] • Disclaimer says:

    Before they rack the balls on the table and get the pool cue blue chalk powder all over the end of the pool stick, I hope they really plan out what might happen to Bennu’s debris once struck. Things that go near the gas giant planets can have their trajectories changed by gravity and find themselves slingshotted in our direction.

  18. 0.057%? Well, I guess we can expect lockdowns to continue for another 282 years.

    • LOL: Almost Missouri
  19. Little known fact…

    Diversity-mad NASA orginally hired an all-negro team of asteroid shooters, but those guys tended to miss the intended killer-asteroid and just hit a lot of innocent bystander asteroids instead.

    …further proving the validity of Mr Sailer’s Law of Mass Asteroid Shootings

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Ano

    They were holding the vertical gun sideways

  20. Not off topic:the myth of Katherine Johnson and higher numbers…and it really is a myth……and a VERY BIG LIE…

  21. To be clear, they’re not shooting at moving meteorites

    Uhhh . . . meteorite means they have stopped moving. They are meteors* til they stop moving.

    *Or meteoroids (insert your favorite hemorroid joke here)

  22. “For two decades, NASA researchers have been shooting at meteorites with a high speed gun because, well, wouldn’t you if you got a government grant to blast away at meteorites?”

    “I’ve never hated a rock before, but the more I look at Bennu, the more I hate it.”

    This is why I follow Steve. Critiques and wit. Unbeatable combination.

  23. @El Dato

    I’ve never hated a rock before, but the more I look at Bennu, the more I hate it.
     
    It's probably not a rock, but a pile of rubble, held together by various kinds of ice and gravitation.

    And indeed:

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/bennu-top-ten


    Is Bennu space trash or scientific treasure? While “rubble pile” sounds like an insult, it’s actually a real astronomy classification. Rubble-pile asteroids like Bennu are celestial bodies made from lots of pieces of rocky debris that gravity compressed together. This kind of detritus is produced when an impact shatters a much larger body (for Bennu, it was a parent asteroid around 60 miles [about 100 km] wide). Bennu, for contrast, is about as tall as the Empire State Building. It likely took just a few weeks for these shards of space wreckage to coalesce into the rubble-pile that is Bennu. Bennu is full of holes inside, with 20 to 40 percent of its volume being empty space. The asteroid is actually in danger of flying apart, if it starts to rotate much faster or interacts too closely with a planetary body.
     
    HERE COMES BENNU!

    https://youtu.be/QunVAWABQSc

    It's like one of those funny worlds you find in video games.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @James Speaks, @Reg Cæsar

    a parent asteroid around 60 miles [about 100 km] wide).

    This is a heart-warming snippet for those of us who are hoping for a big one to deal with the infestation of humanoids on this planet.

    Now let’s count down the seconds before an iSteve pedant explains the difference between meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite. Hint: one of the three is not physically palpable.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Hangnail Hans


    Now let’s count down the seconds before an iSteve pedant explains the difference between meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite. Hint: one of the three is not physically palpable.
     
    Hint: Don't be an asteroid.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

  24. Not much point in worrying about big rocks. Odds are that the one that kills a lot of people will be a small rock, flattening a city, but doing no other harm. And it would probably happen in the Third World, where there are a lot of cities.

    If that happens, we will be immunized against the bigger rocks, since people will put a lot more effort into stopping them. Unless, of course, dysgenics and social dysfunction makes that impossible by then.

  25. Apophis (370m) was at one point the highest candidate on the Torino scale, posing a serious threat to hit Earth in 2036, but the “scientists” at NASA have worked out that it is no threat after all. Then again, they’ve been surprised by a number of smaller near-hits lately.

    The interstellar object Oumuamua took them completely by surprise … things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields, so even if they do not pose a direct threat to Earth, who knows what they might sling at us.

    • Replies: @anon
    @The Alarmist

    The interstellar object Oumuamua took them completely by surprise … things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields,

    No.

    , @El Dato
    @The Alarmist


    things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields
     
    Only if a Jupiter+ massive thing drops through.

    It could happen, there is huge amounts of stuff floating around there (maybe even primordial black holes), not all of it on maps (otherwise we would have Planet X located). But it's unlikely on human-species timescales.

    Nibiru: "Oh, they are already all dead and can't see me in my glory? Bummer!"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars_and_brown_dwarfs

    Also, recently found: "The Accident", a sub-brown-dwarf 50 light years away passing through at high speed, likely a very ancient (multiple billions of years) brown dwarf falling in from the galactic halo. If you want to look for Ancient Evil, this is the best place.

    https://aasnova.org/2021/07/02/observing-the-accident-an-enigmatic-brown-dwarf/

    Replies: @Dmon, @anon

  26. It used to be considered a distinguishing characteristic of sane people to be very, very unworried about asteroid impacts. As a matter of fact it still is, but the proportion of sane people has dropped precipitously and the insane are setting the societal tone.

  27. I think NASA and the Earth Defense Council should develop fusion powered laser robots that flit around the heavens and locate asteroids (insert National Lampoon’s Vacation joke here) and zap them with the laser first hollowing out a deep cavity through the processes of zapping and vaporizaton, then using that recess as a impulse motor where vaporized material in gaseous state is ejected from the asteroid (insert National Lampoon’s Vacation joke here) and the every action has a reaction principal takes over and the asteroid’s orbit is ever so slightly deflected away from our planet and into the L5 (LaGrange) location where it is captured by the gravitational forces of the earth and moon thus becoming a second moon. Or something.

  28. @El Dato

    I’ve never hated a rock before, but the more I look at Bennu, the more I hate it.
     
    It's probably not a rock, but a pile of rubble, held together by various kinds of ice and gravitation.

    And indeed:

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/bennu-top-ten


    Is Bennu space trash or scientific treasure? While “rubble pile” sounds like an insult, it’s actually a real astronomy classification. Rubble-pile asteroids like Bennu are celestial bodies made from lots of pieces of rocky debris that gravity compressed together. This kind of detritus is produced when an impact shatters a much larger body (for Bennu, it was a parent asteroid around 60 miles [about 100 km] wide). Bennu, for contrast, is about as tall as the Empire State Building. It likely took just a few weeks for these shards of space wreckage to coalesce into the rubble-pile that is Bennu. Bennu is full of holes inside, with 20 to 40 percent of its volume being empty space. The asteroid is actually in danger of flying apart, if it starts to rotate much faster or interacts too closely with a planetary body.
     
    HERE COMES BENNU!

    https://youtu.be/QunVAWABQSc

    It's like one of those funny worlds you find in video games.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @James Speaks, @Reg Cæsar

    To keep up with recent developments, I have been watching 1950’s Sci Fi films (actual search term). Cat Women of the Moon was particularly illuminating.

    • Replies: @anon
    @James Speaks

    Cat Women of the Moon was particularly illuminating.

    Yes! Possibly in 3-D!

    Plus, a shorter instructional audio / video presentation on the same topic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzgKUCYVhl0

  29. @International Jew

    The spacecraft’s target asteroid, a roughly 525-foot piece of rock known as Dimorphos, is in no danger of hitting Earth
     
    Until some bozo with a meteorite gun deflects it.

    Replies: @El Dato, @Joe Stalin

    Until some bozo with a meteorite gun deflects it.

    Mein Führer, We Can Do it!

    The design for Project Orion originally used small hydrogen bombs whose explosion ejecta was captured on a pusher plate, a large metal plate mounted on shock absorbers. The explosion of the bomb was spherical and it was only the portion that struck the plate that created thrust. Moving the plate closer to the bomb increased the subtended angle that was captured, and thus efficiency, but at the cost of greatly increasing mechanical stress and added pusher plate weight. Baseline designs captured perhaps 10% of the energy of the bomb, a large waste. This led to considerable attention to this problem, and eventually a custom atomic bomb design for this purpose.[1]

    A conventional hydrogen bomb includes two stages; the primary is an atomic bomb normally based on plutonium, while the secondary is a mixture of fusion fuel and various boosters. The primary releases an intense burst of X-rays that heat channel filler materials (believed to be similar to styrofoam) surrounding the secondary. The heat and pressure of the x-rays and their interactions causes the secondary to implode, compressing and heating the assembly to the conditions needed for nuclear fusion to occur.[2][3]

    For the Project Orion redesign, the team removed the secondary and replaced the channel filler with beryllium oxide, which is more opaque to x-rays. On the far side of channel filler, they placed a plate of tungsten. When the primary is triggered, the beryllium oxide heats up to millions of degrees, passing this heat into the back of the tungsten plate. The tungsten is vaporized and sent flying off the end of the bomb as a plasma in a fan about 22.5 degrees wide.[4] This plasma is captured by the pusher plate for thrust, capturing perhaps 85% of the total momentum.[5] These propulsion modules were, in effect, nuclear shaped charges.[1]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casaba-Howitzer

    • Replies: @El Dato
    @Joe Stalin

    When you are designing a machine which needs so many nukes that you can't even produce enough of them with all your Deranged Department of Defense World Suicide outlets, you are seriously starting to go to space instead of playing around in LEO like a dumb kid.

  30. Once again we see a government bureaucracy (one that never should have existed in the first place) engaged in mission creep.

    Be afraid.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    @Abolish_public_education


    one that never should have existed in the first place
     
    Explain.

    mission creep
     
    No.
  31. Space is vast and the earth is a relatively small target so if you can change the course of something that is still millions of miles away and headed toward earth by even a fraction of a degree, by the time it reaches earth it will be many thousands of miles off target.

    Still in the case of a junk pile asteroid like Benno, I can’t imagine any projectile that would be big enough to change its course and yet not big enough to shatter the junk pile. Maybe a big flat disk to spread the force over a much larger surface area or even a net that is bigger than the asteroid with rockets at the perimeter.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
    @Jack D

    A powerful laser that vaporizes ice and minerals, mounted on a space craft, could be used to deflect it without breaking it up.

  32. Trying to remember that made-for-tv movie back in the Eighties which starred Karl Malden in which we destroyed an asteroid with our name on it by blasting it to smithereens.

    Everybody cheered.

    Until one of the smithereens touched down.

    End of movie!

  33. NASA researchers have been shooting at meteorites with a high speed gun

  34. I’ve never hated a rock before, but the more I look at Bennu, the more I hate it.

    Careful Steve, rocks might have feelings, too. Or consciousness, or something, according to the headline of a recent article I didn’t read.

  35. Anonymous[141] • Disclaimer says:

    Here’s a good video on the topic.

    One thing I don’t understand is why blasting the thing into fragments is not helpful. Surely even if the object is a rubble pile, once it enters the atmosphere, turbulence will disperse the parts of it. And the reasulting impacts will be less serious than a single impact? Or no? But in any case, I remain in question.

  36. @Jack D
    Space is vast and the earth is a relatively small target so if you can change the course of something that is still millions of miles away and headed toward earth by even a fraction of a degree, by the time it reaches earth it will be many thousands of miles off target.

    Still in the case of a junk pile asteroid like Benno, I can't imagine any projectile that would be big enough to change its course and yet not big enough to shatter the junk pile. Maybe a big flat disk to spread the force over a much larger surface area or even a net that is bigger than the asteroid with rockets at the perimeter.

    Replies: @James Speaks

    A powerful laser that vaporizes ice and minerals, mounted on a space craft, could be used to deflect it without breaking it up.

  37. It’s always made sense to me that if you can make smaller chunks out of an asteroid our atmosphere will deal with it. It’s what protects us from most that come our way.

    Yet every single movie or tv show with an asteroid always says either we can’t break one up because then many smaller pieces will hit or they already tried and many smaller pieces hit.

    I think that breaking it into pieces small enough our atmosphere can help is deeply against the grain of hoplophobes. It’s also against the screenwriters as too simplistic ignoring that it is already an incredibly difficult endeavor.

  38. as a member of the asteroid community i am deeply offended by steve’s asteroidphobia and these state sponsored hate crimes against asteroids.

  39. We need to save the earth from the asteroid so we can blow it up with nuclear weapons……..JUST KIDDING !,Biden would surrender and then blame Trump.

  40. @El Dato

    I’ve never hated a rock before, but the more I look at Bennu, the more I hate it.
     
    It's probably not a rock, but a pile of rubble, held together by various kinds of ice and gravitation.

    And indeed:

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/bennu-top-ten


    Is Bennu space trash or scientific treasure? While “rubble pile” sounds like an insult, it’s actually a real astronomy classification. Rubble-pile asteroids like Bennu are celestial bodies made from lots of pieces of rocky debris that gravity compressed together. This kind of detritus is produced when an impact shatters a much larger body (for Bennu, it was a parent asteroid around 60 miles [about 100 km] wide). Bennu, for contrast, is about as tall as the Empire State Building. It likely took just a few weeks for these shards of space wreckage to coalesce into the rubble-pile that is Bennu. Bennu is full of holes inside, with 20 to 40 percent of its volume being empty space. The asteroid is actually in danger of flying apart, if it starts to rotate much faster or interacts too closely with a planetary body.
     
    HERE COMES BENNU!

    https://youtu.be/QunVAWABQSc

    It's like one of those funny worlds you find in video games.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @James Speaks, @Reg Cæsar

    That was written, fittingly, by Tamsyn Brann.

    The original Bennu looks like the love child of Mordecai and Benson on The Regular Show; no wonder Steve hates him:

    [MORE]


  41. Scientists have in fact spotted one candidate — Bennu, which has a small chance of banging into our planet in the year 2182.

    I was hoping we wouldn’t have to wait that long.

    • LOL: JimDandy
  42. @Anon7
    We solved the problem of asteroid deflection in 1968.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LmpqhZp1SY

    Replies: @Anon7

    So what’s my point?

    The idea that we might get hit by a rock large enough to alter human history is pure science fiction. The idea that we will seriously be able to see and deflect such a rock anytime in the next hundred years is pure science fiction.

    I love science fiction and I’ve read and watched a lot of it. I know it when I see it. But I can tell the difference between sf and reality.

    So, speaking of reality, how’s that border wall coming along? I read that even some parts of the EU are remembering their cultural roots and they are building walls.

    • Agree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
  43. Probably some future Indian scientist at NASA will miscalculate and nudge a harmless asteroid into a collision course with Earth.

  44. @The Wild Geese Howard
    What if they manage to shoot down the spaceship hidden in Halley's Comet as shown in Lifeforce (1985)?

    Replies: @James Speaks

    Mathilda May will come to your house and break your equipment, that’s what will happen.

  45. Didn’t we already solve this 20+ years ago? We need scrappy roughnecks drillers for this problem.

  46. NASA’s Ames Vertical Gun Range

    “No bar, no pinball machines, no bowling alleys, just asteroid pool… nothing else. This is Ames mister.”
    https://www.quotes.net/mquote/45356

  47. @Ano
    Little known fact...

    Diversity-mad NASA orginally hired an all-negro team of asteroid shooters, but those guys tended to miss the intended killer-asteroid and just hit a lot of innocent bystander asteroids instead.

    ...further proving the validity of Mr Sailer's Law of Mass Asteroid Shootings

    Replies: @JMcG

    They were holding the vertical gun sideways

    • LOL: James Speaks, Charon
  48. Asteroid slams earth, women and minorities hardest hit.

    Seriously, though, how to blame this on white supremacy? Assuming there are any white people left, of course.

  49. @The Alarmist
    Apophis (370m) was at one point the highest candidate on the Torino scale, posing a serious threat to hit Earth in 2036, but the “scientists” at NASA have worked out that it is no threat after all. Then again, they’ve been surprised by a number of smaller near-hits lately.

    The interstellar object Oumuamua took them completely by surprise ... things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields, so even if they do not pose a direct threat to Earth, who knows what they might sling at us.

    Replies: @anon, @El Dato

    The interstellar object Oumuamua took them completely by surprise … things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields,

    No.

  50. @James Speaks
    @El Dato

    To keep up with recent developments, I have been watching 1950's Sci Fi films (actual search term). Cat Women of the Moon was particularly illuminating.

    Replies: @anon

    Cat Women of the Moon was particularly illuminating.

    Yes! Possibly in 3-D!

    Plus, a shorter instructional audio / video presentation on the same topic.

  51. @Hangnail Hans
    @El Dato


    a parent asteroid around 60 miles [about 100 km] wide).
     
    This is a heart-warming snippet for those of us who are hoping for a big one to deal with the infestation of humanoids on this planet.

    Now let's count down the seconds before an iSteve pedant explains the difference between meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite. Hint: one of the three is not physically palpable.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Now let’s count down the seconds before an iSteve pedant explains the difference between meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite. Hint: one of the three is not physically palpable.

    Hint: Don’t be an asteroid.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @Reg Cæsar


    Don’t be an asteroid.
     
    Wouldn't dream of it. Unlike the BBWs you see everywhere nowadays, I don't really have enough *
  52. @theMann
    You mean:

    NASA's plan for justification of implementing orbital weapons platforms.

    Right?

    Replies: @El Dato

    NASA doesn’t develop orbital weapons. That’s DoD’s bailiwick.

    Besides, these would be very useless: Extremely long-range and take months to arrive anywhere or even to reload.

  53. @The Alarmist
    Apophis (370m) was at one point the highest candidate on the Torino scale, posing a serious threat to hit Earth in 2036, but the “scientists” at NASA have worked out that it is no threat after all. Then again, they’ve been surprised by a number of smaller near-hits lately.

    The interstellar object Oumuamua took them completely by surprise ... things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields, so even if they do not pose a direct threat to Earth, who knows what they might sling at us.

    Replies: @anon, @El Dato

    things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields

    Only if a Jupiter+ massive thing drops through.

    It could happen, there is huge amounts of stuff floating around there (maybe even primordial black holes), not all of it on maps (otherwise we would have Planet X located). But it’s unlikely on human-species timescales.

    Nibiru: “Oh, they are already all dead and can’t see me in my glory? Bummer!”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars_and_brown_dwarfs

    Also, recently found: “The Accident”, a sub-brown-dwarf 50 light years away passing through at high speed, likely a very ancient (multiple billions of years) brown dwarf falling in from the galactic halo. If you want to look for Ancient Evil, this is the best place.

    https://aasnova.org/2021/07/02/observing-the-accident-an-enigmatic-brown-dwarf/

    • Replies: @Dmon
    @El Dato

    Oumuamua - sounds Samoan. Might be big enough to do the job.

    , @anon
    @El Dato

    “The Accident”,

    Thanks!

  54. @El Dato
    @The Alarmist


    things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields
     
    Only if a Jupiter+ massive thing drops through.

    It could happen, there is huge amounts of stuff floating around there (maybe even primordial black holes), not all of it on maps (otherwise we would have Planet X located). But it's unlikely on human-species timescales.

    Nibiru: "Oh, they are already all dead and can't see me in my glory? Bummer!"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars_and_brown_dwarfs

    Also, recently found: "The Accident", a sub-brown-dwarf 50 light years away passing through at high speed, likely a very ancient (multiple billions of years) brown dwarf falling in from the galactic halo. If you want to look for Ancient Evil, this is the best place.

    https://aasnova.org/2021/07/02/observing-the-accident-an-enigmatic-brown-dwarf/

    Replies: @Dmon, @anon

    Oumuamua – sounds Samoan. Might be big enough to do the job.

  55. @Abolish_public_education
    Once again we see a government bureaucracy (one that never should have existed in the first place) engaged in mission creep.

    Be afraid.

    Replies: @El Dato

    one that never should have existed in the first place

    Explain.

    mission creep

    No.

  56. @Joe Stalin
    @International Jew


    Until some bozo with a meteorite gun deflects it.
     
    Mein Führer, We Can Do it!

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/Orion_pulse_unit.png/220px-Orion_pulse_unit.png


    The design for Project Orion originally used small hydrogen bombs whose explosion ejecta was captured on a pusher plate, a large metal plate mounted on shock absorbers. The explosion of the bomb was spherical and it was only the portion that struck the plate that created thrust. Moving the plate closer to the bomb increased the subtended angle that was captured, and thus efficiency, but at the cost of greatly increasing mechanical stress and added pusher plate weight. Baseline designs captured perhaps 10% of the energy of the bomb, a large waste. This led to considerable attention to this problem, and eventually a custom atomic bomb design for this purpose.[1]

    A conventional hydrogen bomb includes two stages; the primary is an atomic bomb normally based on plutonium, while the secondary is a mixture of fusion fuel and various boosters. The primary releases an intense burst of X-rays that heat channel filler materials (believed to be similar to styrofoam) surrounding the secondary. The heat and pressure of the x-rays and their interactions causes the secondary to implode, compressing and heating the assembly to the conditions needed for nuclear fusion to occur.[2][3]

    For the Project Orion redesign, the team removed the secondary and replaced the channel filler with beryllium oxide, which is more opaque to x-rays. On the far side of channel filler, they placed a plate of tungsten. When the primary is triggered, the beryllium oxide heats up to millions of degrees, passing this heat into the back of the tungsten plate. The tungsten is vaporized and sent flying off the end of the bomb as a plasma in a fan about 22.5 degrees wide.[4] This plasma is captured by the pusher plate for thrust, capturing perhaps 85% of the total momentum.[5] These propulsion modules were, in effect, nuclear shaped charges.[1]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casaba-Howitzer
     

    Replies: @El Dato

    When you are designing a machine which needs so many nukes that you can’t even produce enough of them with all your Deranged Department of Defense World Suicide outlets, you are seriously starting to go to space instead of playing around in LEO like a dumb kid.

  57. @Reg Cæsar
    @Hangnail Hans


    Now let’s count down the seconds before an iSteve pedant explains the difference between meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite. Hint: one of the three is not physically palpable.
     
    Hint: Don't be an asteroid.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

    Don’t be an asteroid.

    Wouldn’t dream of it. Unlike the BBWs you see everywhere nowadays, I don’t really have enough *

  58. @Mr. Anon

    The thinking is different today, and it’s not the Hollywood version with a nuclear bomb, either. Rather, the current leading idea is nudging an incoming asteroid aside. The way to do that, scientists generally agree, is deliberately setting up a collision between an asteroid and a much smaller, less massive object.
     
    No, the thinking by anyone who is serious about deflecting a large asteroid is to nudge it aside by detonating a nuclear weapon at or near the surface of it. We just live in an unserious age.

    NASA’s Ames Vertical Gun Range in California was built in the 1960s to help scientists better understand how moon craters form. It’s capable of launching projectiles at over four miles per second, far faster than a rifle.

    “It’s one of the few guns on the planet that can shoot things at the speeds characteristic of impacts,” Dr. Flynn said. …
     
    There are any number of guns that can fire projectiles at that speed, the difference in the Ames gun is that it can be elevated to fire into the floor.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    My guess is that even the tiniest nudge, far out, would result in a very changed trajectory by the time the rock got close?

    • Replies: @El Dato
    @Triteleia Laxa

    Yes. In fact, it could be "arbitrarily far away" (as opposed to some linear factor of time), which you can cunningly use for low-impulse trips (if you are not in a particular hurry)

    https://scitechdaily.com/arches-of-chaos-new-superhighway-network-discovered-to-travel-through-the-solar-system-much-faster/

    The arches of chaos in the Solar System


    Space manifolds act as the boundaries of dynamical channels enabling fast transportation into the inner- and outermost reaches of the Solar System. Besides being an important element in spacecraft navigation and mission design, these manifolds can also explain the apparent erratic nature of comets and their eventual demise. Here, we reveal a notable and hitherto undetected ornamental structure of manifolds, connected in a series of arches that spread from the asteroid belt to Uranus and beyond. The strongest manifolds are found to be linked to Jupiter and have a profound control on small bodies over a wide and previously unconsidered range of three-body energies. Orbits on these manifolds encounter Jupiter on rapid time scales, where they can be transformed into collisional or escaping trajectories, reaching Neptune’s distance in a mere decade. All planets generate similar manifolds that permeate the Solar System, allowing fast transport throughout, a true celestial autobahn
     
    , @Mr. Anon
    @Triteleia Laxa


    My guess is that even the tiniest nudge, far out, would result in a very changed trajectory by the time the rock got close?
     
    That depends on how long before impact the maneuver is made and how massive the object is.
  59. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Mr. Anon

    My guess is that even the tiniest nudge, far out, would result in a very changed trajectory by the time the rock got close?

    Replies: @El Dato, @Mr. Anon

    Yes. In fact, it could be “arbitrarily far away” (as opposed to some linear factor of time), which you can cunningly use for low-impulse trips (if you are not in a particular hurry)

    https://scitechdaily.com/arches-of-chaos-new-superhighway-network-discovered-to-travel-through-the-solar-system-much-faster/

    The arches of chaos in the Solar System

    Space manifolds act as the boundaries of dynamical channels enabling fast transportation into the inner- and outermost reaches of the Solar System. Besides being an important element in spacecraft navigation and mission design, these manifolds can also explain the apparent erratic nature of comets and their eventual demise. Here, we reveal a notable and hitherto undetected ornamental structure of manifolds, connected in a series of arches that spread from the asteroid belt to Uranus and beyond. The strongest manifolds are found to be linked to Jupiter and have a profound control on small bodies over a wide and previously unconsidered range of three-body energies. Orbits on these manifolds encounter Jupiter on rapid time scales, where they can be transformed into collisional or escaping trajectories, reaching Neptune’s distance in a mere decade. All planets generate similar manifolds that permeate the Solar System, allowing fast transport throughout, a true celestial autobahn

    • Thanks: Triteleia Laxa
  60. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Mr. Anon

    My guess is that even the tiniest nudge, far out, would result in a very changed trajectory by the time the rock got close?

    Replies: @El Dato, @Mr. Anon

    My guess is that even the tiniest nudge, far out, would result in a very changed trajectory by the time the rock got close?

    That depends on how long before impact the maneuver is made and how massive the object is.

  61. @El Dato
    @The Alarmist


    things like that floating on through our Solar System can really screw with the gravitational fields
     
    Only if a Jupiter+ massive thing drops through.

    It could happen, there is huge amounts of stuff floating around there (maybe even primordial black holes), not all of it on maps (otherwise we would have Planet X located). But it's unlikely on human-species timescales.

    Nibiru: "Oh, they are already all dead and can't see me in my glory? Bummer!"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars_and_brown_dwarfs

    Also, recently found: "The Accident", a sub-brown-dwarf 50 light years away passing through at high speed, likely a very ancient (multiple billions of years) brown dwarf falling in from the galactic halo. If you want to look for Ancient Evil, this is the best place.

    https://aasnova.org/2021/07/02/observing-the-accident-an-enigmatic-brown-dwarf/

    Replies: @Dmon, @anon

    “The Accident”,

    Thanks!

  62. I’m sure by then the Nigerian space program would have overtaken nasa, so I presume they’ll be sending up a team of African cosmonauts to accomplish the task. That’s if skynet hasn’t take over first. Or the yanks haven’t let old Joe lean on the big red button at any stage – “What’s this for?”

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