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Kshasty Donating Member (248 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 04:45 AM
Original message
Roscosmos to consider project to save Earth from asteroid
Source: RIA Novosti

Roscosmos will soon consider a project to prevent a large asteroid from colliding with Earth after 2030, the head of Russia's space agency said on Wednesday.

"A scientist recently told me an interesting thing about the path constantly nearing Earth... He has calculated that it will surely collide with Earth in the 2030s," Anatoly Perminov said during an interview with the Voice of Russia radio.

He referred to Apophis, an asteroid that he said was almost three times as large as the Tunguska meteorite.

On June 30, 1908, an explosion equivalent to between 5 and 30 megatons of TNT occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in a remote region of Russia's Siberia. The Tunguska blast flattened 80 million trees, destroying an area of around 2,150 sq km (830 sq miles).

Perminov said Russia was not planning to destroy the asteroid.

Read more: http://en.rian.ru/science/20091230/157423845.html
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Wizard777 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. 2012 marks the beginning of the end in 2036.
They'll neither stop nor deter Apophis. 2/3 of the earth's population shall be destroyed. It would be best for them to consolidate all their knowledge and biological specimens into a shelter that will survive the impact and resulting calamities.
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jdp349 Donating Member (372 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-31-09 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
21. what?
???
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. Apophis is "the very embodiment of darkness and non-being"
Edited on Wed Dec-30-09 05:59 AM by SpiralHawk
Holy Crap - Sounds like this ASSteroid is a Republicon.

"Apophis (Egyptian Apep) was the great adversary of the sun god, Re. and was the very embodiment of the powers of dissolution, darkness and non-being."

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/apep.htm

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Wizard777 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 06:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Ra = Ahura Mazda & Apophis = Ahriman (The Destroyer)
He who killed Gayomard now comes to kill man who grew from Gayomard. We must preserve all the seeds of life.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
4. Greedbag humans in corporate groups are going to destroy the earth with pollution
before any asteroid does. If we can't find a way to control these aberrant humans, there won't be much left to save by 2036. About five years ago, the World Wildlife Fund stated that we have 50 years, at present levels of pollution and consumption--50 years to the DEATH of Planet Earth! We are losing biological diversity and climate stability THAT FAST. In 2036, the earth will be in its death throes. And, who knows?--given the immensity of human suffering at that point--humans may welcome an asteroid, to just blow it all to smithereens.

I think we should concern ourselves with the things that we can actually DO something about--rather than theoretical threats. Of course, if we CAN save the earth from a big asteroid hit, we of course should. But if we can't get focused enough and organized enough to save the biosphere from our own stupidity, how can we expect to do anything about an asteroid?
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Dr. Jonas Venture Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
5. What about capture instead of deflection?
If you look at the raw mass of Apophis and calculate its value based on what it currently costs to lift materials to orbit, a mass of that size in a convenient and easy to reach orbit is literally worth more than the entire GDP of the planet. The mass is about 2.1 E10 kg, and it costs roughly $11K per kilo to lift things to geosynchronous orbit. So, if Apophis could be pulled into a geosynchronous orbit, it's worth $2.3 E14, or 230 trillion dollars. The global GDP is about $60T. Cost of lift to orbit is one of the main limiting factors in space exploration and eventual colonization. So, if we had an enormous chunk of metals and some silicates in orbit, it could be mined and used to build major structural components of something like a permanent moon base, a large space station, or a manned ship destined for Mars or beyond, and all we'd have to lift to orbit would be the complex parts, the electronics and control systems, the engines, fuel, water and air, and so on. We'd save a huge amount of cost by building the structural components in orbit from materials we already have there. So, with a hypothetical value in the trillions, what's it worth to mount an effort to capture it? Even if it costs a couple hundred billion, that's still a 1000x return on investment. At its near pass in 2029, we could have some large nuclear powered ion engines in orbit and ready for it, accelerate them to match speeds, mount them on the asteroid, and set them to pull it into subsequently closer orbits until it's captured. It may take a couple decades to transfer it to orbit, but, by 2050 or so, we'd have all the raw materials we need, parked right there above our planet, to finally build a serious effort at manned space exploration, commercialization, and colonization of nearby destinations. And, whatever slag is left over after we're done with it would make a great geosynchronous counterweight for a space elevator.
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 08:23 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. sounds like fun.
welcome to DU.
:hi:

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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I'd imagine capture is a lot harder
To deflect it you just need a little delta-v; to capture it, you need to cause a substantial change in its trajectory to take it from a solar orbit to Earth orbit.

I also don't think the extrapolations required in your economic argument truly hold. Simply because it is extremely expensive to put things in orbit doesn't make having something in orbit worth a lot of expense. To take a silly example, you can pick some arbitrary depth beneath the crust of the Earth and estimate the cost of a project to drill a hole that deep, and figure out how much it would cost per kilogram to drop iron and nickel down the hole. But that scarcely suggests that iron and nickel already present at that depth have a corresponding economic value!

Now I understand that there are great reasons to want to start up space-based industry. I think the comparison you really need to make is between the time, effort, cost and return on this capture vs. using the much bigger rock we already have orbiting Earth. The downside of the moon is that you're prying materials from a deeper gravitational well than the negligible gravity of an asteroid. But unless there's something really special about the composition of Apophis it seems technologically simpler and faster to mine the moon as the basis of space-based industry.
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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
7. I think its unfair your story got bumped out of LBNs and the AP story didn't


which was posted much later...
I enjoy your Russian news stories.
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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
9. I love this quote:
"No nuclear explosions , everything on the basis of the laws of physics," he said."

I personally think it would be so much more fun if they managed to deal with this through bypassing the laws of physics ;)
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. From the people who brought us the Aral Sea!
Seriously though, I'm glad to see someone is actually willing to test something like this.

(Fun fact: Apophis wasn't named first and foremost after the Egyptian figure, but was rather a nod to Stargate.)
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
11. Asteroids make great weapons.
Bigger, badder than a nuclear bomb, and no radioactive fallout. They come in all sizes too.

You don't like someone? Drop a big rock on their head.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. They really don't
I can't imagine a head of state with a nuclear arsenal not using it in response to someone dropping asteroids big enough to do damage - "all sizes" is kind of deceptive there - on their country.

Also, deflecting something in the 300-meter range onto a specific target from as far out as Apophis is is a little unfeasible.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. An asteroid could be guided in real time..
Put a mass driver on it and run chunks of asteroid through it to develop thrust.. A long enough mass driver could manage a pretty decent specific impulse, considerably higher than chemical rockets.

Think of it as a enormous bomb with a "dead man switch", the pressure will be to get the operator to change the orbit away from you, bombing them, even with nukes might not do the trick.. It really depends on the motivation of those who control the orbit of the asteroid.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. That's getting rather out of anytime-soon levels of feasibility. (nt)
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Technology is not advancing in a linear fashion..
There could well be a breakthrough which would allow vastly increased space operations at much lower costs.

It won't happen next week but twenty years from now, who knows for sure? Technological forecasting is rife with pitfalls and unexpected developments.

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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. There was a book written with that as the main plot..
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Phoonzang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. I remember reading that book and thinking those aliens were a bunch of
elephantine pushovers.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. It helped a lot that they hadn't developed their own technology..
But rather had inherited it from another species on their planet..

They really weren't all that bright and their culture didn't "grok" the concept of total war, something humans grok far too damn well for our own good.
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Phoonzang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Hmm...I forgot about that part.
I had to have been 13 when I read it. I do remember the whole not understanding total war thing. They didn't understand why we didn't surrender as a people instead of surrendering as individuals. Showing your belly or something...
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. A pretty "heavy" book to get into at 13..
The space battle scene at the end was entertaining, but the very best space battle I think I've ever read was in Neal Stephenson's latest, "Anathem".

If we really and truly *had* to stop an asteroid that was going to impact the Earth, the Orion type ship in Footfall would be the way to get there..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_%28nuclear_p...

Of course this has nothing to do with the Orion spacecraft currently under development by NASA..

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