After the double-whammy of a meteorite hitting Russia and a near-miss with an asteroid, some scientists have been thinking over how to deal with space rocks. A team of California scientists is offering up an answer that sounds a little, uh, familiar.
UC Santa Barbara physicist Philip M. Lubin and California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo researcher Gary B. Hughes have unveiled plans for DE-STAR (cough, cough), or Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation. The system, they say, could slowly vaporize earth-bound rocks over the course of as much as a year. From a UC Santa Barbara news release (emphasis mine):
The scientists went through several plans for a potential asteroid-zapper, all of varying sizes, including one about the size of the International Space Station, called DE-STAR 2, which could start to "nudge" an asteroid in a different direction. DE-STAR 4, at about 100 times the size of the ISS, could vaporize a 500-meter asteroid in a year. Here's the description for DE-STAR 6:
Interesting proposal. But the White House will never go for it.