Defending Earth from any big asteroid that may come our method is difficult. In the event you break the house rock into items, that might create a hellish rain of shrapnel. Nevertheless, smashing one thing into an asteroid with out breaking it properly earlier than it nears Earth may change its trajectory, as may the “gravity tractor” strategy of parking one thing huge proper subsequent to the asteroid. However these protecting measures solely work if we all know concerning the asteroid far forward of its projected landfall.
Researchers have been engaged on this drawback for many years, however our hosts Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte have some new concepts. On this episode of Useless Planets Society, they’re attempting to guard Earth for a change, as an alternative of wrecking it. Alive Planets Society, if you’ll.
To assist save the world, they’re joined by planetary astronomer and asteroid skilled Andy Rivkin at Johns Hopkins College in Maryland. As a substitute of sending one thing out to the asteroid, they’re occupied with how you can save Earth whereas staying comparatively close by. Might we design a web to catch an asteroid? Or use a tighter mesh materials that may act as a trampoline to chuck the asteroid in the direction of Mars?
The concept of an enormous defend orbiting the planet is a tantalising one, not least as a result of any impacts it takes would possibly make a sound and will function an alert system each time the planet was saved. Introducing: the asteroid gong.
Useless Planets Society is a podcast that takes outlandish concepts about how you can tinker with the cosmos – from snapping the moon in half to inflicting a gravitational wave apocalypse – and topics them to the legal guidelines of physics to see how they fare.
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