We may be safe from killer asteroid Apophis, but plenty of other near-Earth asteroids could pose a threat sooner or later. Sure, humans could send up a probe or a space sail in a desperate attempt to deflect it--but what if that mission fails? We had better start testing now, so we're sure this type of Hollywood scheme actually works. Enter the AIDA mission.
The European Space Agency and Johns Hopkins University are working together on a two-part asteroid interception and deflection mission, but they need help to refine it. ESA wants your research ideas for ground- and space-based studies that will improve the Asteroid Impact and Deflection mission, or AIDA.
It's a two-part mission with two separate spacecraft, which would fly up to intercept a binary asteroid. The goal is to see how the objects' relative spin changes, so you need a binary asteroid or one with a small moon. Several asteroids have mini-moons orbiting them.
The first spacecraft, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, would smash into the smaller of the two space rocks, which should change the pace at which it spins relative to its companion. This could change its direction and trajectory, too--that would be the entire goal if such a space rock threatened Earth. To see how well it works, a second spacecraft, the Asteroid Impact Monitor, would watch from a nearby post. Astronomers on Earth should be able to notice changes in the asteroids' relative motion, but AIM's close viewing spot will ground-truth those observations, as ESA explains.
Having two independent satellites increases the odds of mission success, because both can work without the other. But if they both work as planned, astronomers will get even better data, said Andrés Gálvez, ESA AIDA study manager. "The vast amounts of data coming from the joint mission should help to validate various theories, such as our impact modeling," he said. That would ensure a deflection mission could really work--which will be good to know if and when a menacing space rock like Apophis does set its sights on Earth.
You can learn more about AIDA, and send some input to ESA, by clicking here.
Why not test using asteroids as country killers by slinging some at pre-arranged targets on the Moon or even Earth?
What a defensive or offensive weapon that would be!
I would think that everyone is treating this seriously. I mean, if a "global killer" hit us, I suppose nuclear war would be the least of our worries. Borrowing a quote from Armageddon, "for the first time in the history of the planet, a species has the technology to prevent its own extinction."....
I'm not sure if you serious or just trolling? You often tend to spit out aggressive and often political nonsense.
Anyway, to "test" to sling a asteroid at a country seems like the dumbest thing I have heard since...well, ever?
-I dont want to live on this planet anymore
I have a pretty simple idea for there problem but I will not say it here. They can contact me and I will tell them.
The truly dangerous asteroids are the ones that go undetected until they come close to earth. There are many fairly recent examples of asteroids that were large enough to cause massive damage from an impact with earth, but went undetected until they were very close. Due to the relatively long time frame needed for this probe to prepare for launch, travel hundreds of thousands of miles to intercept the asteroid, and then slowly move it away from a trajectory that threatens the earth, such a system would have limited real value.
A better use of the money for humanity's immediate benefit would be to use it for finding a cure for malaria. This would solve an actual problem that costs millions of lives each year, rather than a problem that poses a relatively remote threat.
The best way to defend against asteroids is WITH asteroids in a game of cosmic billiard balls.
We can land a craft on a smaller asteroid on a close approach to the Moon-Earth system. Say a 20 to 30 feet small asteroid. Then strap that craft to the asteroid and point the engine out to space. Ignite the engine and nudge it slowing so that it is captured in orbit around the Moon--in a permanent orbit.
Then refuel the craft from Earth so the engine is full fueled and ready to go. And when the right time comes simply nudge it out of orbit and Slingshot it around the Earth to intercept the incoming asteroid.
The vast differences in speeds would allow an asteroid ten times smaller to pulverize an incoming asteroid. Thus a 50 feet captured Asteroid could be used to destroy a 500 foot incoming asteroid due to the vast amount of kinetic energy involved which is magnitudes more than all the nuclear weapons on Earth.
Alternatively we can slingshot the asteroid to a parallel path and use it's gravity tug to nudge it off course--probably preferred.
Not only is this feasible--we have already landed on several asteroids--it's something that gives us defensive weapons to use for future generations so long as we capture them in stable Moon orbits (at a distance very close to exit velocity so that it can easily be speeded up and sent on it's way).
We could easily capture a dozen or two different sized asteroids for use as 'cosmic billiard destroyers' for future generations to use.
It would be tricky but we can test it with SMALL asteroids of 10 to 20 feet at first and then slowly increase that so that we capture asteroids