Thursday, April 11, 2013

Panel Discussion: Planetary Defense - We live in a cosmic shooting gallery.

Panel Discussion: Planetary Defense - We live in a cosmic shooting gallery. can we do to detect and deflect inbound objects with what we've got now? How can we affordably improve those capabilities soon? John Schilling, Henry Spencer, Henry Vanderbilt, Gerry Nordley

George Herbert was originally scheduled to be part of this panel.  He came down with a 103 degree fever.  Next year a large comment is going to hit Mars next year.  What could we do if a comet was going to hit earth?

Henry Vanderbilt gave George Herbert's slides:

For a small comet we could just explode nukes above it to blow off material and change direction.  A larger comet is deeper so more mass per unit surface area.

You might try splitting the comet and have the two halves go around the earth.  Another option is to send in several spacecrafts loaded with lead which are fraction of seconds apart to dig a big hole and then send in a rocket with a large nuke.

Today we could probably handle a 2 km comet.  A 10 km comet would be harder to handle.  A 50 km comet is a great argument for establishing colonies on Mars and in the asteroids.

Henry Spencer took his turn.  Normally we only see comets about nine months out.  A 1967 university study looked at trying to stop Icurus.  They created a scenario of using five or six Saturn V loaded with nuclear bombs.

John Schilling - we have an early warning problem.  Once we get a reasonable set of senors built and positioned we'll have enough time to deal with the comets.  Most comets are the smaller sized comets which are easier to deal with.

Henry Spencer said it would be nice to test some of these theories.  Currently it would be very hard to set up a nuclear bomb experiment.

Gerry Nordley said we have lots of amateurs, they are motivated to find comets.  It would be worthwhile to organize them better.

The full agenda for Space Access 2013 agenda.

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