Space: Plans For Defeating Space Invaders

Archives

February22, 2007: The UN has been secretly planning on how to protect the earth from space invaders. Astronomers have noted that the risk of an asteroid impact exists, and are watching one that will pass very close to earth in 2036. This rock, called Apophis, has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting earth. This 460 foot long rock, if it hit earth, could take out a major metropolitan area. More likely, it would hit a thinly populated area, and produce the same effect as a very large nuclear weapon (but without the radioactivity).

The United States has already held informal talks with the UN and Russia about what could be done if an asteroid were found to be heading straight for us. It's been agreed, off the record, that the no-nukes in space treaty would have to be dealt with. UN lawyers pointed out that some circumlocutions could be used. For example, a "save the earth" mission would not use a "nuclear weapon," but a "physics package." However, many astronomers believe that blowing an asteroid up might be as bad as letting it hit, because of all the fragments that would still be likely to strike the earth, putting more people at risk. Another option would be a "gravity tractor." In this scenario, the space craft would fly out to the asteroid, take up position near it, and let its gravity gradually, over days or weeks (depending on the size of the asteroid), change the rocks trajectory. Such a mission would cost less than half a billion dollars, and not require any treaty-breaking nuclear explosions.

 


Article Archive

Space: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close