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  (Source: blastr.com)
NASA also issued a request for information (RFI) for ideas on locating, redirecting, and exploring asteroids

NASA is looking for brilliant minds to figure out how to locate dangerous asteroids and eliminate any potential harm they may cause. 

NASA announced the Asteroid Grand Challenge today, which is asking anyone -- from government agencies to companies to citizen scientists -- to come up with a way to locate ominous asteroids headed our way and protect the planet from destruction.

"NASA already is working to find asteroids that might be a threat to our planet, and while we have found 95 percent of the large asteroids near the Earth's orbit, we need to find all those that might be a threat to Earth," said Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator. "This Grand Challenge is focused on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learning how to deal with potential threats. We will also harness public engagement, open innovation and citizen science to help solve this global problem." 

NASA also issued a request for information (RFI) for ideas on locating, redirecting, and exploring asteroids.

The White House said it is on board with the Grand Challenge.

NASA's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal talks about catching near-Earth asteroids robotically and sending them to orbit in the Earth-moon system. That way, astronauts can safely travel to the asteroids and explore them.

According to this initiative, it will use both current and developing technology to move large, hazardous asteroids away from Earth and capture the smaller ones for exploration. Some of the current technology that will be used includes the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.

Back in March of this year, NASA told Congress to "pray" if a meteor similar to the one that hit Russia back in February is ever three weeks away from the U.S. During that House Committee hearing, NASA administrator Charles Bolden Jr. told Congress that the U.S. doesn't have the proper equipment to identify a small meteor (the size of Russia's meteor).

"If it's coming in three weeks ... pray," Bolden said. "The reason I can't do anything in the next three weeks is because for decades we have put it off. We are where we are today because, you know, you all told us to do something and between the administration and the Congress, the funding to do that did not - the bottom line is always the funding did not come."

Now it looks like the U.S. is taking asteroids seriously, and will use the Grand Challenge to find solutions. 

Source: NASA



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how about
By cokbun on 6/19/2013 5:09:31 AM , Rating: 2
send an equally massed object at that asteroid?




RE: how about
By martin5000 on 6/19/2013 6:03:48 AM , Rating: 3
Where would the object come from? How would you accelerate it? How would you precisely hit the asteroid?


RE: how about
By Strunf on 6/19/2013 7:44:48 AM , Rating: 2
E=mc^2, so even if the mass would be the same you still have to send at the same speed, since speed goes with the square it's more important than the mass.


RE: how about
By slawless on 6/19/2013 8:08:13 AM , Rating: 2
I think you mean K=mv^2 (Kinetic energy = Mass * Velocity squared.)


RE: how about
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 8:15:27 AM , Rating: 1
you mean E(k)=1/2MV^2
E(k)=kinetic energy


RE: how about
By ShieTar on 6/20/2013 7:14:15 AM , Rating: 2
Well, if you want to correct him, just give him the full detail:

E= v[(mc²)²+(pc)²]

Of course the mutual destruction of two bodies will still hurl a massive amount of debris back to earth.


RE: how about
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 7:54:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
send an equally massed object at that asteroid?


This is not a game lol. You only need to change its course by 1 degree or probably even less for it to miss earth. You don't need anything close to its mass.


RE: how about
By Reclaimer77 on 6/19/2013 9:44:55 AM , Rating: 3
Well that's assuming we can detect it far away enough. If we detect the asteroid at something like 1 or 2 weeks out then we would need something with a pretty significant mass to affect its trajectory in time.

'course I suppose this is all academic since we have no way to put something with that kind of mass in orbit and accelerate it to the required velocities. Especially on such short notice.


RE: how about
By martin5000 on 6/19/2013 12:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, but we could nuke the hell out of it. Surely, when it comes down to it, a nuke is the only thing with enough energy to be useful.


RE: how about
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 12:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
lol if it was that simple, we wouldn't need scientists anymore. Just Bruce Willis and a few miners should be enough.

And Aerosmith for inspiration.


RE: how about
By TSS on 6/19/2013 4:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
What about a shaped nuclear blast?

I mean we've had shaped demolition charges for a while now that can concentrate most if not all of the force on a specific area. The thing that comes to mind is the special dynamite used to cut through steel, for demolishing steel bridges for instance.

Then we need to find some way of concentrating a thermonuclear bomb the size of the original (not dampened) Tsar Bomba, and we're good to go. Maybe one of those puppies won't do the job but a good dozen will. Like cutting an intergalacting tree.

Best way to do that will probably be lots of speed and lots of weight. Solar Biljards would be the best bet there. Go to the asteroid belt, bring back a few small ones we can control.

Have a crew dig out a bunker in the asteroid in space in the shape needed to concentrate the blast in a line, mount the nuke in the bunker then fling the whole thing as fast as we can possibly accelerate it at the bigger asteroid. Then the speed and weight of the asteroid combined will force the nuclear blast to be directional, rather then omnidirectional (causing the force to scatter all over the place and the reason bruce willis always has to bury the thing).

It's the best chance we have until we get to antimatter.


RE: how about
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 6:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
RE: how about
By Adonlude on 6/24/2013 4:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
Fit some pulsed nuclear propulsion engines. Affix steering wheel. Rock out with your rock out.


RE: how about
By Reclaimer77 on 6/19/2013 5:10:02 PM , Rating: 3
Problem with nukes is their destructive potential is severely reduced in a vacuum. Simply firing one against the surface of a large asteroid would be futile.


RE: how about
By marvdmartian on 6/20/2013 8:18:30 AM , Rating: 4
Actually, I'm thinking that small rocket powered spaceships (which bear a striking resemblance, in profile, to your computer cursor arrow), that sports an astroid breaking laser in the front (pew-pew!), would be just the ticket.

Of course, the pilots of said spaceships will have to be highly skilled, so the smaller pieces of the broken up astroids don't sneak up from behind, and collide with (and kill) their ship!

Unconfirmed reports have also come out that there could possibly be problems from antagonistic saucer-shaped spaceships, piloted by unknown aliens, who seek to destroy our astroid killing spaceships.


Last minute detection easy
By crazy1 on 6/19/2013 8:00:15 AM , Rating: 2
Creating an early detection system would undoubtedly require some genius innovation on our part. However, an Impact Warning system for meteors the size of the recent Russian meteor would be vastly easier, and allow for an evacuation of the projected impact zone. It's not a solution to the meteor problem, but could decrease the number of potential casualties of smaller objects.

An array of geosynchronous satellites with active radar should be able to provide a few hours warning of an impact. It's not a great solution, but our current tsunami warning system isn't much better.




RE: Last minute detection easy
By theapparition on 6/19/2013 9:16:51 AM , Rating: 3
Cost/benefit. Simple as that.

How many people have actually been killed in a meteor event? It's so low that there's not a single government that could justify spending billions to support this.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By Reclaimer77 on 6/19/2013 9:47:30 AM , Rating: 2
but we could! Why not, we print out billions everyday.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 11:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
we also destroy just about the same amount. What is your point? Money is only created when the US treasury sells bonds and the Feds buys them with imaginary money.

Printing out billions extra a day will only lead to hyperinflation like what happened in Germany or Iraq.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By Reclaimer77 on 6/19/2013 5:11:32 PM , Rating: 1
Dude it's called sarcasm...


RE: Last minute detection easy
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 10:29:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How many people have actually been killed in a meteor event? It's so low that there's not a single government that could justify spending billions to support this.


People may die everyday from car accidents but that's a handful of people. An asteroid hits earth will wipe out humanity and almost all species. We will surely not survive for more than a few years due to lack of sunlight and food. I believe maybe the cockroaches, rodents and microorganisms will.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By testerguy on 6/19/2013 10:55:01 AM , Rating: 1
You're right in general, but the starting point of this thread was an early warning system for meteors the size of the recent Russian one, so that an evacuation could take place.

The comment about cost/benefit was pointing out the problem with that suggestion - in that it wouldn't really save many lives.

You're talking more about a system which would necessarily have to prevent an impact of a substantially larger asteroid, and on that point I agree with you.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By theapparition on 6/19/2013 11:41:10 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly the point.

First off, we do need an early warning system and method of diverting an extinction level asteroid. We have only a rudimentary tracking system and absolutely no idea how to divert a large asteroid. That is where research should focus.

But on the smaller early warning system, that's just folly financially. Even the recent Russian meteor didn't cause that many casualties. Considering that most of the planet is unoccupied, then what's the point? Yes, one could impact downtown Manhattan, but odds are so remote that it's not worth talking about. More importantly, no politician will fund such projects.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 12:13:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Even the recent Russian meteor didn't cause that many casualties. Considering that most of the planet is unoccupied, then what's the point? Yes, one could impact downtown Manhattan, but odds are so remote that it's not worth talking about. More importantly, no politician will fund such projects.


There's a huge difference between meteors and asteroids.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By testerguy on 6/20/2013 10:55:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's a huge difference between meteors and asteroids.


Only one difference really - whether it enters the Earth's (or any other planets) atmosphere or not.

An asteroid which enters an atmosphere is a meteor. A meteor which hits the ground is a meteorite.

Essentially they can all be the same object - just at different times.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By Ammohunt on 6/19/13, Rating: 0
RE: Last minute detection easy
By TO on 6/19/2013 11:22:41 AM , Rating: 2
Most of the dinosaurs were killed :)~
Just a matter of time before it happens again.


RE: Last minute detection easy
By steedsrva87 on 6/20/2013 11:27:43 AM , Rating: 2
here is a thought, but who knows how much it would cost...have a bunch of satellites, but instead of monitoring deep space, just have them shoot out something that would reflect off an asteroid and be measured, and by god, there you have it, your asteroid early detection system


Reality check, humans make mistakes.
By Fujikoma on 6/18/2013 11:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
"sending them to orbit in the Earth-moon system"... I don't think so. Cost-Benefit is against this only because of the rare-catastrophic failure mode. I'd trust them to put them into orbit around another planet, because one screw up would not be healthy for an Earth-intended orbit. Why not intentionally crash them into a planet like Mars (or Pluto for a more safe distance) to study the effects.




By Reclaimer77 on 6/19/2013 1:11:25 AM , Rating: 2
Agree. That's gotta be the craziest fucking idea I've heard in a long time. Let's take an asteroid, which has crazy low odds of hitting us, and pull it into our orbit. Where the chance of some disastrous miscalculation, or a decaying orbit, increases the odds of an impact way way WAY in the asteroids favor.


By sixteenornumber on 6/19/2013 5:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
this article doesn't seem to really high lite the snaring that NASA has planned for (2015?). As of a few months ago there has been a lot of attention to the idea of snaring one of these for valuable materials. I think NASA is putting the worst case scenario along side the snaring idea because in a round about way they are one in the same.


Asteroids?
By Zingam on 6/19/2013 9:20:25 AM , Rating: 5
The Earth is in a more dire need to be urgently rescued from greedy corporations, bankers and capitalists...




What to do ?
By marconi28 on 6/19/2013 12:31:16 PM , Rating: 3
Having worked in the business of finding PHAs (Potentially Hazardous Asteroids) for 30 years, it pains me to see such conversation now. I think NASA budget on the topic has been about 3 million per year. For scale, the smallest unit in the Federal budget is 1 million. To do any of the things that we've been or will think about will take a serious effort, say a billion dollars a year. The question is not "IF", but "WHEN". Objects 10's of meters are city killers, objects 100's of meters are planet killers. And don't forget comets, they are somewhat of a wild card, they just sorta show up out of nowhere.




ASTEROID GRAND CHALLENGE 2013
By andreadoloffo on 6/18/2013 11:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry. But you are too late.




Already proposed...
By Shadowself on 6/19/2013 9:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
They didn't like it.

Back about a dozen or more years ago a nuclear based system, (with a self moderating core (you can build one if you think outside the classic nuke box) that was gas cooled hooked to a simple, recuperative turbine system and a Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) propulsion system was proposed. The VASIMR allows for high thrust to get somewhere fast (e.g., to the asteroid in a reasonable amount of time) and a highly efficient, low thrust mode when moving large objects (e.g., the asteroid for which a low thrust, continuous, long burn is almost always the best approach).

The 250+ kWe reactor preliminary designs are complete. The same with the ground systems. (You need two parallel systems: one for the craft and one for the reactor -- plus backups.)

The storage point would be L-4 or L-5 and with the equipment built to withstand the radiation from the reactor, the degradation from solar radiation while in storage would be minimal.

The control crew structure has already been worked out. This includes the fact that active control of something that has several seconds lag in the control loop will require special training. (It's much more "interesting" a problem than just flying a Predator drone half way around the world.)

Total price tag to get the system operational? Less than $1 billion in 2001 dollars. (But after the NASA bureaucracy inflation factors, it would likely have been $3 billion.)

NASA already has the answer. They just don't like it. Thus they are asking the same question again. And continuing to waste money doing it.




Here's an idea.
By cyberguyz on 6/19/2013 9:36:09 AM , Rating: 2
Strap a rocket motor on one, point it at Klendathu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klendathu) and fire her up!




Would Pulse Lasers Work?
By ralith on 6/20/2013 10:43:40 AM , Rating: 2
Pulse lasers like the one talked about http://www.dailytech.com/New+Laser+Etched+Metal+to... fired at the asteroid should cause a jet of super heated vapor that should generate thrust. So I guess the question becomes whether or not enough thrust could be generated to divert the asteroid in time.




particle accelerator?
By MightyAA on 6/20/2013 1:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
A really big particle accelerator built in space. If you could accurately fire charged protons at near-light speeds, can’t you heat up the surface? Since asteroid are frozen the rapid thermal expansion could break and burn them up. Plus... you could use it for scientific purposes normally helping with funding from multiple nations.

You’d just need a extremely good targeting system and detection so you’d have time for it to work. Like a week of focusing this beam on it to knock it down to a non-threat size.




By Occupier on 6/22/2013 9:42:22 PM , Rating: 2
If we only had three weeks before the asteroid arrived, could we use dozens of rock-penetrating nuclear warheads on timers to simultaneously explode and demolish a kilometers wide asteroid, etc.? Do we have nuclear warheads designed to penetrate to a depth of several hundred feet before exploding? Do we have nukes on timers? If so, could we pin-cushion the object with the rock-penetrating warheads and have them all explode at the same time, and expect positive results (from our perspective)?




!!!!
By JessMcGuire65 on 6/19/13, Rating: 0
"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs














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