Killer asteroid flattens New York in simulation exercise

Asteroid Bennu is shown in this NASA photograph from December 2, 2018
Asteroid Bennu is shown in this NASA photograph from December 2, 2018

After devastating the French Riviera in 2013, destroying Dhaka in 2015 and saving Tokyo in 2017, an international asteroid impact simulation ended Friday with its latest disaster—New York in ruins.

Despite a simulated eight years of preparation, scientists and engineers tried but failed to deflect the killer asteroid.

The exercise has become a regular event among the international community of "planetary defense" experts.

The latest edition began Monday near Washington, with the following alert: an asteroid roughly 100 to 300 meters (330 to 1,000 feet) in diameter had been spotted and according to rough calculations had a one percent chance of hitting the Earth on April 29, 2027.

Each day during the conference, some 200 astronomers, engineers and emergency response specialists received new information, made decisions and awaited further updates from the organizers of the game, designed by a NASA aerospace engineer.

As fictional months ticked by in the simulation, the probability of the giant space rock crashing into Earth rose to 10 percent—and then to 100 percent.

NASA launched a probe in 2021 to examine the threat up close. In December that year, astronomers confirmed it was headed straight to the Denver area and that the western US city would be destroyed.

The major space powers of the United States, Europe, Russia, China and Japan decided to build six "kinetic impactors"—probes meant to hit the asteroid to change its trajectory.

It took time to build the impactors and wait for the right launch window. The impacts were set for August 2024.

Three impactors managed to hit the asteroid. The main body was deflected, but a smaller fragment broke off and continued on a deadly path, this time towards the eastern US.

Washington considered sending a nuclear bomb to deflect the 60-meter rock—repeating a successful strategy that saved Tokyo last year—but it was crippled by political disagreements.

All that remained was to prepare for impact.

With six months to go, experts could only predict that the asteroid was headed to the New York area. With two months to go, it is confirmed the city will be destroyed.

Evacuation!

The asteroid will enter the atmosphere at a blistering 69,000 kilometers per hour (43,000 miles per hour) and explode 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) above Central Park.

The energy of the blast will be 1,000 times that of the dropped on Hiroshima.

It will destroy everything within a 15 kilometer "unsurvivable" radius, scientists said.

Manhattan will be completely razed. Windows as far as 45 kilometers away will shatter and damage will extend as far out as 68 kilometers from the epicenter.

The questions raised by the scenario were endless.

How do authorities evacuate ten million people? Moving people to safety from hurricanes has shown the task's difficulty.

"Two months may not be enough time to really evacuate, because you're evacuating people who are stuck, who have to rebuild their lives where they're going. You're going to have fleets of U-hauls," said Brandy Johnson, an "angry citizen" in the exercise, referring to the rental moving trucks.

Who will pay? Who will host those displaced? How will authorities protect everything from nuclear and chemical installations to works of art?

And how will citizens behave in the face of an end-of-the-world scenario?

"If you knew your home was going to be destroyed six months from now, and that you weren't going back again, would you keep paying your mortgage?" asked Victoria Andrews, NASA's deputy planetary defense officer.

Participants debated insurance and at length: the United States did save Denver, but accidentally destroyed New York.

"In this situation, under international law, the United States, regardless of fault, as the launching state, would absolutely be liable to pay compensation," said Alissa Haddaji, coordinator of a group of 15 international space lawyers created to study those very issues.

The fictional killer asteroid is, of course, "highly unlikely," Paul Chodas, the NASA engineer who is the game's designer, told AFP.

"But we wanted the issues to be exposed and discussed."

Astronomers at the conference took the opportunity to defend the NeoCam space telescope project, which would help scientists better identify asteroids and react earlier to threats.

The next simulation exercise will take place in 2021 in Vienna. Chodas left open the possibility that it will be Europe's turn in the line of fire.


Explore further

What if an asteroid was about to hit Earth? Scientists ponder question

© 2019 AFP

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May 04, 2019
Prepping the sheep for Apophis?

May 04, 2019
This might help with your "game": 3.144605511...

May 04, 2019
Yeah, a 20-some-odd megaton impact would devastate any major city on the planet. They don't have to game the scenario after the balloon goes up; already been done for nuclear threats.

May 04, 2019
Knowing about impact with years in advance? Think rather about days in advance. The small ones are hard to detect. You could see them 24 hours before they hit. That would be then the time frame for acting. It'd be hard, but by optimising transportation maybe a good proportion (maybe even close to 90%) of the population of a large city could be evacuated. Without luggage.

May 04, 2019
Can you predict the impact of 10 million refugees?

I can and I don't ever want to see it.

May 04, 2019
And the the nuclear waste and fuel rods are atomized into the atmosphere and across the whole planet

May 04, 2019
Damn it! There goes my favorite deli.

DS, true a horrendous task distributing & resettling ten million refugees.

Perhaps we'd feel better about the enormity of the challenge if, instead of calling them refugees? We call them "Our Fellow Americans in distress."

Cause that "hanging together or hanging separately" is the point of the Federal Union.

No?

& when push comes to shove , that the asteroid hits Atlanta GA or Cleveland OH & millions of "refugees" are swarming into Pennsylvania & New York?

Tell me how you will feel the first time you & your "refugee" family are confronted with locals jeering at you & demanding for you to "Go back to where you came from!"

How about the tenth time or the hundredth?

What we have seen of how Americans treat refugees, the last three generations? There is a rather apparent lack of "Christian charity & moral leadership.

May 04, 2019
might help save us from global Warming , all those wastefull glass and steel buildings , they can rebuild Flinstones style. Or maybe it hits California , that would solve a lot of problems

May 04, 2019
Playing a ridiculous simulation game because Congress won't cough up a few billion dollars for NASA to actually develop a launch capability. Shortsighted at best considering trillions to bailout banks, trillions to pay interest on debt, and trillions for the MIC.

It's possible this stunt is part of a long overdue lobbying and public relations campaign by NASA to help garner that support from the populous and Congress. At least we can hope.

May 04, 2019
An Apophis impact would be between 3000 and 4000 megatons. What they ought to be doing is gaming that one for 2029.

Personally, I am a proponent of a capability to linkup, drill, and emplace nukes. But, even with that capability, we might need a few years notice to make it work because of orbits and velocity. Having said that, there is absolutely no reason not to have a nuke on a kinetic shot as well.

May 04, 2019
Washington ... was crippled by political disagreements
I wonder if they might have un-'crippled' themselves if the ground zero target at risk was their condo's in Washington.
Part of the reason Washington is crippled is it lives in a fictional universe; where their individual pet principles are more real than the threats outside the ivory tower.

May 04, 2019
Well. I'm not sure which concept is more ridiculous? That Congress lives only in Washington DC & never goes anywhere?

Or that the commentators, each & everyone of us. can continue to pretend that we do mot share in the responsibility, the blame, for the series of National Crisis we face today.

Hell! Right now I'm all for the suggestion that the congresscritters should be chained to their desks & be jabbed with electro-shock probes into actually accomplishing some legislation! Damn it all!

I supported & voted for the principles of Reform & Recognition of American Liberties.

Instead of doing the jobs they were elected for? A bunch of them are all wasting my patience running 2020 Presidential campaigns!

Cleaning out the festering injury of collaborator russian agents of the trump crime family should be Congress goal, first & foremost.

Then, across this Nation, cleaning out the pimples of GOP $ NRA quislings that infest the states election systems & school boards.

May 04, 2019
jax, you do not seem to understand how useless nukes are as industrial explosives.

You got to forget all those pretty CGI kabooms! from cinema. They are poorly imagined by artists. i.e. they are simulations rendered by people who never studied Nuclear Engineering.

Okay, there is an asteroid barreling in. You hydrogen bomb that sucker.

& by some miracle of cinematic fakery, you manage to blow it up.
So now, instead of devastating a million or so sqKms you have caused all that mass to spread out to devastate tens of millions of sqKms.

Talk about anthropo-causation of global climate change!

It is preferable that it be nudged aside from Target Earth.
That drilling (think, waterscrew) would be sufficient to divert it's orbit a few centuries.

I would recommend directing it Sunward to wind up in one of the Venus LaGrange points. Where it cannot threaten Earth Again.
& still be available for mining in the future.

- cont'd -

May 04, 2019
jax, you do not seem to understand how useless nukes are as industrial explosives.
I think the preferred mechanism is to use a nuclear detonation on a reactive basis, to give the rock a really big push on one side. A simulation at Johns Hopkins demonstrated that simply blowing up an asteroid would leave the bulk of it to gravitationally reform, and most of that in just a few hours. However, although thing would not be blown apart, the simulation did not take into account how a well-placed detonation would impart sufficient momentum to its center-of-mass to miss the earth by a comfortable margin.

May 04, 2019
- contd -

On Earth, when you explode a nuke within the atmosphere, the work-energy is trapped between the pressure (weight?) of the atmosphere & the Earth's surface plus this planet's gravitational attraction.

That is why the mushroom effect. Both along rthe surface & through the layers of atmosphere.

In Space, exploding a nuke creates a 360° globular explosion. i.e. the work-energy produced goes in literally every direction,
Wasting most of it from striking your targeted asteroid.

& it doesn't matter if you have it snuggled up to the surface of the target.

Asteroids on ballistic orbit's that carried them into the Sun's Corona?
Do not gain heat from that close passage.

This is why infrared detectors do not spot them flying away from the Sun.

& those rocks were exposed to a lot more Solar radiation, for a lot longer than if a H-bomb exploded close to them.

May 04, 2019
In Space, exploding a nuke creates a 360° globular explosion. i.e. the work-energy produced goes in literally every direction,
it doesn't matter if you have it snuggled up to the surface of the target.
It does matter if it's up close to its target. That's how Dyson's bomb-thrust interstellar drive was designed. Clearly we're not talking about a nicely contained and directed rocket-exhaust for maximum specific-impulse. It's about the crudest demonstration of Newton's law of action and reaction.

We could fine-tune the detonation, however. Find a large (~500 meter) depression or crater. Then find one (yes, we're running out of time... but...) that has a lot of hydrated minerals.

Boom.

And the water vapor plus the depression gives you the best reactive bang for the buck, imparting the most momentum in the opposite direction.

May 04, 2019
okay dan, your last comment did clarify your expectations of using nukes in Space.

I am willing to grasp at burning straws as we slide over the lip of the cliff.
Your description is acceptable as a last ditch attempt to prevent catastrophe. But then it would have to do, wouldn't it?
However, I'm going to have to see a real-world experiment "testing to destruction".
Before my doubts will be allayed.

In my (also unproven) opinion that explosions, especially in vacuum, will not be so nice & neat & convenient.

I suspect it will be more likely that a nuke would send a big rock spinning on several axis, without actually diverting it's course.
There's nothing in space to hold & press the explosion in place.

With a nuke most of the work-energy is wasted.

An Ion Drive produces little force at any single moment.
It is the continuous force, as weak as it is. That eventually produces respectable velocity.

May 04, 2019
We'd have to get lucky to find a crater with the right stuff at the bottom, but your points are well taken, @danR. The goal should be to push the asteroid aside, not fragment it. Certainly we couldn't make the fragments small enough to all burn up during atmospheric entry without a warhead much larger than anything ever made.

@rr, there is something to act against: the asteroid itself. This is how rockets work. You don't need another surface, nor even atmosphere. Action and reaction: Newton's Laws.

May 04, 2019
We'd have to get lucky to find a crater with the right stuff at the bottom, but your points are well taken, @danR. The goal should be to push the asteroid aside, not fragment it. Certainly we couldn't make the fragments small enough to all burn up during atmospheric entry without a warhead much larger than anything ever made.

@rr, there is something to act against: the asteroid itself. This is how rockets work. You don't need another surface, nor even atmosphere. Action and reaction: Newton's Laws.

Crater if we're lucky, hydrated minerals if we're really lucky. But just the vaporized ejecta itself is going to provide one bigly 'exhaust'. The neat thing about nukes is they don't have to be efficient. The Dyson drive is about as inefficient as it gets, and the journey to alpha-centauri would be pretty bumpy. But it would go like a bat out of heII.

May 04, 2019
Yes, DS you are correct about how rockets are suppose to work in ideal conditions with no exception for the random improbables
but not impossibles.

Thinking back, would you have even considered frozen O-rings,
a simple washer,
as a cause of catastrophic failure?

I sure as hell did not & I am a raving paranoid!

I doubt if the oddly asteroid,
bent on destruction?
Intends to cooperate with our assumptions.

May 04, 2019
Rockets aren't negotiable, @rr. Neither is Newton's Third Law. If momentum goes this way, then momentum must go that way to compensate. Unless your nuke fizzles or utterly fails, it's gotta work.

May 04, 2019
@danR, yes, there will be volatiles released no matter what. But will the specific impulse be enough? And will we be able to make a nuke that makes the right amount of volatiles without fragmenting the object? Tricky stuff there.

May 05, 2019
Debating a self-described "very unlikely" scenario is a waste of time. It is the stuff of pseudo science, and does not belong on a science website. Especially as the top news story of the site.

May 05, 2019
Look up Nasa Sentry Risk Table Bart, it has a lot of science pertaining to probable collisions with earth and asteroids.

Apophis is going to become an Apollo class asteroid on April 13, 2029 when it passes under the 40,000 kilometer criteria mark at an estimated 31,000 kilometers. Nasa's sentry risk table says it will also make this little dance again 12 times between 2060 and 2105 with a cumulative score of 1 in 110,000 of striking the earth.

I would sleep easier if the chance was zero. In fact, I'd sleep a lot easier if all near earth asteroids were off that list entirely. Could it be done? I think so. Even with today's technology we could start doing it. But the scientific community will have to think outside the box and quit eating soup with a fork on this issue. It is not too bold to idealize the process of actually moving the entire mass of asteroid outright through safe incremental mass reduction via mechanized/telerobotic operations to a new zone where it poses..cont'd.

May 05, 2019
a zero chance of ever striking the earth. It is not too bold to begin conceptually drafting the telerobotic drones that would do such a feat. Think arthropod, specifically arachnid, inspired mecha design. Think groups of these harnessed via longitudinal and latitudinal cables, belted around the asteroids, so they can work scooping and pooping boulders that have a structural similarity to that of a malted milk ball (hard compacted soil on the inside and muddy outer crust to keep things together, using minimal water to set up). Combine this line of thinking with porter drones, which are specifically designed to grasp, throw, and then later with another swarm of porters, capture and stock pile said boulders, at a stable lagrange point. Think of stable lagrange points like Sun-Venus or Sun-Mars 4 and 5 (SV4, SV5, SM4, or SM5) where we can stockpile this material. Maybe setup industry at said points to process this material and use it. Example, radiation shields/shells for deep space craft.

May 05, 2019
..cont'd

At such gravitationally stable points, we could maybe make radiation/armor shields for entire space habitats. Who knows? Maybe one day we could start the Trojan colonies. The first people who dared to make the void home.

Just sayin

May 05, 2019
bart, you are reasonably correct but, not totally correct.

You did not plan on having a tire blow-out?
As you are driving in busy, fast-moving traffic.
Stuck in the middle lane of the freeway.

Good luck, biddy.

This is why brain-storming what can go wrong. & how you intend to control the potentially disastrous situation.

Be a good scout
"Be Prepared".

May 05, 2019
renfield. i agreed with your comment right down to
"But the scientific community will have to think outside the box and quit eating soup with a fork on this issue. "

Blaming scientists for these decisions. is to scapegoat those who are NOT allowed to defend themselves.
& have NO power , NO authority to make necessary decisions.

So it is safe for you to make whipping boys of the scientific & academic communities.

So you do not risk the displeasure of the corporate executives who actually decide what projects get funding.

Who manipulate "our"(cue laugh track) political system with their domination through campaign contributions.

Excoriating the scientists & academics or even the congresscritters is a waste of your time & energy.

You really, trully want a Planetary defense system?

The corporate executives, the plutocrap caste, are the ones you need to convince.
That their fat pink asses are also endangered.

Motivation:Tthey can make tetra-bucks in profits protecting the Earth.

May 05, 2019
Double edged sword @rr, because once you start promising profits of asteroid mining then out come all the green, save the earth, folks who will remind you that we should be trying to fix the world's problems first (climate change, disease, starvation, homelessness, deforestation, ocean pollution, etc.) And then you lose momentum in politically (*sigh*) campaigning for an earth defense system. It's a terrible cycle. When Apophis comes within eye sight of us, and it will, maybe people will take things more serious. Let's hope Beiber or Kardashian gossip doesn't take away their earthly attention spans.

May 05, 2019
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

May 05, 2019
jax, you do

HOPKINS IS WRONG. the integrity of an asteroid would be entirely destroyed. even a fully re-aggregated asteroid would be pulled back apart by tidal 'hill' sphere forces and the ensuing swarm of small asteroidlets would enter the atmospher of earth in very different spins, places, and conditions. the result is with a far higher aggregate surface area, the mass of the asteroid is incinerated by its own heat. our atmosphere is thick enough to be a great protector, all we need to do is compromise the asteroid, not even set it off course. the hard work of destroying it will be done by our air......four thousand asteroids each 20 meters in radius will do almost no real harm to civilization compared to the one asteroid 300 meteres in radius from which they come. and realistically it will be a lot lot lot less than four thousand, more like 1000 or less.

20 metere asteroid.
https://en.wikipe...k_meteor


May 05, 2019
Here some more info for that nasty devil of a dirtball, Apophis. It seems to be trailing us today emitting what appears to be a sulking attitude. Also, Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone.

https://ssd.jpl.n...ad=0#orb
You can click in and drag the mouse around in the viewer to change your viewpoint.

Also if you're a real nerd and what to see porkchop plots click the mission design tab.

Source JPL California


May 05, 2019
So, instead of one big rock flattening a single continent, such as Australia or India?

Do we really NEED Australia or India?

Instead you would demolish the asteroid but the payoff here? You would exchange megatonnage of solid rock striking a pinpoint target.
Like a bullet.

Into megatonnage of spreading rock, slamming through a hemisphere of the Earth's atmosphere. Covering tens of millions of sqKms of the Earth's surface.

Stretching from Tierre del Feugo to Baffin Island.
Or, from Iberia to the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Unless you can siriusly reduce the Mass of the Rock?
All you are doing is expanding the area of damages & number of casualties to be expected.

May 06, 2019
Political timidity against using nuclear weapons to protect the planet. Same thing happened when Project Orion was killed by Kennedy in favour of the lack-luster Apollo. Weak men will be the death of the planet yet.

May 06, 2019
Look, for all those who believe the propaganda about nukes not being any use. . .

Even if all you do is nuke it into a shotgun blast of smaller asteroids headed in the same trajectory towards you. . . No, the suckers will not gravitationally reform from that any more than pellets from my 12 gauge. But, 90% or more of the mass will MISS, just like shooting sporting clays. Nevermind that a lot of smaller debris that actually hits will burn up in the atmosphere. Assume not. Nukes will shave 90% or more off the impact, particularly in a scenario with no notice, no extra years and extra solar orbits to play around with, direct impact shot, or, better yet, linkup and drill to really spread the marbles.

The purpose of the propaganda is self serving for those who have already made a preemptive decision not to deploy nukes in this manner. Not quite sure what their thinking is but it is wrapped up in Cold War, anti-Kennedy nonsense.

May 06, 2019
Debating a self-described "very unlikely" scenario is a waste of time. It is the stuff of pseudo science, and does not belong on a science website. Especially as the top news story of the site.
-Says the guy who's praying for the rapture. One of the many dangers of religion - 'we deserve it'. Another - 'gods will'. Another - 'power of prayer'.
In Space, exploding a nuke creates a 360° globular explosion. i.e. the work-energy produced goes in literally every direction
-Guessers/pretenders/posturers vs FACTS:

Directed energy explosive
""Casaba Howitzer" would not be prohibitively difficult to field at close range to Earth, kludged onto an existing ICBM. Creates a collimated beam of nuclear plasma, a directed energy weapon. Not exactly "off the shelf" asset (as far as is public), but the studies for project Orion showed that at least theoretically it was possible... And that was decades ago."

-Engrs would select the most appropriate components.

May 06, 2019
"Nuclear shaped charges refers to nuclear weapons that focus the energy of their explosion into certain directions, as opposed to a spherical explosion. Edward Teller referred to such concepts as third-generation weapons, the first generation being the atom bomb and the second the H-bomb."

"An Orion Drive nuclear pulse unit would be about 1,150 kg, have a blast yield of about 29 kilotons..."

-And like I say, scientists and engrs would optimize the design, yield, and delivery for the specific application.
Personally, I am a proponent of a capability to linkup, drill, and emplace nukes
Why, because it sounds like fun? It would make a great movie?

Again, the experts would decide the best approach. Wouldn't they?

May 06, 2019
Meteorites in New York

Just when it was time to start worrying
the headlines said it all
disasters only occur in New York
the home of
King Kong
Superman
Spiderman
to save this city from its latest calamitous flattening calamity
in true Spiderman style
Spiderman will spin his web
encompassing this meteorite
with one sling shot
fling this meteorite
into one new orbit
this being the single only safe method
for averting disaster
changing this meteoric orbital parameters
when in its new direction
this meteorite
Will simply pass this earth by in this vacuous vacuum

May 06, 2019
Nobody can do the research needed to develop "shaped charge" thermonuclear weapons on or under the surface of the Earth. We're going to have to rethink those treaties about nuclear weapons in space before too long.

May 06, 2019
Nobody can do the research needed to develop "shaped charge" thermonuclear weapons on or under the surface of the Earth
That's not entirely true.

"In the non-explosion testing realm, a whole panoply of techniques has been created both for weapon development and for stockpile monitoring and maintenance..."
https://www.armsc...2/garwin
We're going to have to rethink those treaties about nuclear weapons in space before too long
-But yeah, we need to begin testing all sorts of deterrants on actual moving rocks. Nuke explosives in many applications, including subsurface colony construction and resource exploitation, will jumpstart our permanent presence on many planets and moons throughout the system.

Good thing we had the foresight to stockpile some 10k tons of fissiles for the inevitability, eh?

May 06, 2019
According to my calculations,
There is a 1 in 2 chance Apophis will strike earth on April 13th, 2029, and a
1 in 2 chance Apophis will strike earth on April 13th, 2036.

May 06, 2019
@doogsnova,

Your odds seem a bit high. Even if you shot the thing directly at the earth for a 2029 impact, the margin of error alone after 10 solar orbits would probably reduce the odds of collision below 1:2.

For those who are superstitious, that is Friday the 13th in 2029.

May 06, 2019
Plenty pf time to do the sensible, conservative engineering to rendezvous a series of small, low-cost isotope-powered, ion-drive drones, to slowly start steering Apophis & other dangerous rocks away from Earth.

Best new course would nudge those asteroids Sunward. To eventually wind up in a Venus La Grange point.

Safe from threatening the Earth. & still available for future Space Industries.

Sorry boys. To be spoiling your slack-jaw awe of pretty explosions.
But only a fool would claim they can control an explosion.

I'd prefer any nukes used to attempt to divert a flying mountain?
Should be at a reasonable distance.
Say at least ten million Kms or more?

So when it goes wrong?
"No situation is so bad, that we cannot enthusiastically make it worse!"
We may still have a reasonable chance at sobering up &
correcting our bungling optimism.

May 06, 2019
@rrwillsj,

Pretty sure no one is talking about nuking this thing at point blank range, because then everything would still hit the earth, obviously. Give it some standoff, even if only out past the moon, and 90% of the pieces will miss. Do it far enough out and even better.

Basically there are two scenarios:

(1) we know about the risk ahead of time (like Apophis) and in an ideal world we have a decade to link up with it, and nudge it around, or drill into it and blast it, or just plant nukes deep inside in case it ends up headed our way after one crazy solar orbit or another.

(2) NASA detects a previously unknown NEO headed straight towards us, impacting say within a year, and we launch a "kinetic shot" full of nukes to shatter it into a million pieces going a million DIFFERENT directions, and a couple shards still hit us.

#1 diverts or destroys the bullet you know is coming. #2 shatters the bullet you weren't expecting but you still get a little cut from bits of spalling.

May 06, 2019
I cannot share in the optimism that nothing can go wrong.
Cause you pinkie-swear to deliver perfect results.

Where is the proof that the majority of the shattered rock will conveniently fly away? Without testing that assumption?

At least come up with a way to test in Space.
Before we pay the price of failure.

Funny as hell... I'm usually the one defending simulations & modeling! LOL at the irony.

What military ballistic missiles have the delta-v to pass LEO?
Who controls it?

Can military ballistic missiles schedule TOT to rendezvous simultaneously with a much faster asteroid?

I'm thinking, any large rock that can skim the Sun at 40+Kmh & retain it's structure.
Have nothing boiling away. Not even retaining enough surface heat to be detectable by infra-red.

Why should I believe that nukes in Space even can deliver an effective percentage of damage.

Those tests of nuclear explosions were done on Earth.
Pulled down by a one-gee field
& Held down by the atmosphere's weight.

May 06, 2019
@rrwillsj,

Any "shattered rock" will go somewhere else. Big Space Principle. Big Brother to the Big Sky Principle. That's a no brainer. This thing is not "falling" towards our gravity at that distance, it's just zipping in a bad direction. Any change in that direction and that particular piece of shattered rock goes somewhere else, and is much, much smaller when it gets there.

Your concerns about what will work in Space are fair. In the 1960's, NASA originally debated whether rockets would work in space, whether pistol cartridge primers would ignite, etc. Overwhelmingly the answers have been "yes". It's still worth testing for sure.

Your question about TOT detonation is excellent, particularly in space. The warhead could smash itself to bits before detonation. Testing here is obviously worth it. One possibility is a mechanical impact detonator. The Uranium "Little Boy" concept could be configured into a linear impact detonator. TOT problem solved, after testing.

May 06, 2019
I speculate, that out of the Earth's gravity & atmosphere. In Space I can imagine the globular nuclear explosion, will "bounce" off the surface of an asteroid.

Partly as a reflection of the leading flash. That interferes with the expanding main shell of energies released.

Since the explosion is in all directions, there would probably not be any core of energy left inside the shell?
To prevent the reflected energies from continuing to retreat from the target.

This scenario is even worse than my original guess.
At applying work-energy to the target.

No, considering the lack of actual Space experiments.
I am even more strongly of the opinion that using a stream of isotope-powered ion-drive drones is by far a more optimum means to deal with asteroids.

Mr. Tortoise is more believable as the best-case winner of this race.
Slow & Steady, patient conservative planning.

Avoids the anti-nuke people & arguing whose nukes?
Volunteer to disarm yourself?

May 06, 2019
Killer asteroid flattens New York

If only we could get so lucky. And by all means DO NOT TELL THEM, we'd all be much better off.
The main body was deflected, but a smaller fragment broke off and continued on a deadly path, this time towards the eastern US.

If it were a bit bigger maybe we could make the whole East Coast disappear.

May 06, 2019
gosh cantrunfastenouhbeforekarma
runsovertit'sdogma.

You are certainly free with other peoples lives.
Very christian-fascist of you.

Though the "good"result of your perverted psychosis? Would be you far enough away to survive the catastrophe.

Then slowly starving in the wasteland.
When other survivors consider you a useless distaff.
Rob you of everything & boot you out of the tribe.

Or, are you a hypocrite who deludes them self that others will not treat you as you so richly deserve?

May 06, 2019
@rrwillsj,

atmosphere and gravity are the wrong way to think about it. The problem is lack of pressure. Same reason a gunshot underwater can make you deaf while the same gunshot above water is merely loud. More pressure, bigger bang.

That's why it has to be a contact detonation, even for a straight on kinetic shot.

A mechanical detonation mechanism that uses the force of impact to bring two subcritical masses smashing together to start the fission is basically foolproof. suspend one half sphere a distance behind the other. It will go boom just inside the surface of the asteroid. Call it a crumple nuke. Same general detonation concept as the "Little Boy" nuke except no electronics or explosives or timing is required.

May 07, 2019
How much do these Snake Oil peddlers what?

May 07, 2019
SPIDERMAN TO THE RESCUE

An asteroid 330 to 1,000 feet in diameter has been spotted with a one percent chance of hitting the Earth on April 29, 2027

This asteroid is 8 years distant travelling at 56,000mph
when it reaches Earth
it will have travelled 4 Billion miles

THE QUESTION
With our present astronomical telescopes
is it possible
to see in the inky blackness
a lump of rock 300 feet in diameter 4 Billion miles distant

DO WE NEED AN ANSWER TO SUCH A QUESTION
As it is irrelevant
whether this meteorite is 300ft or 1000ft in diameter as to visibility
as the consequential impact damage of either diametrically sized meteorite crater will make
The overriding point, at how many billions of miles does this meteorite begin to reflect sunlight?
and not just reflecting sunlight
Sunlight that is visible in or astronomical telescopes

p.s. prepare to meet thy doom Oh Earthlings, your date with your maker is nigh, the judgment of Solomon is upon you. Spiderman will not save you this time!

May 07, 2019
That's why it has to be a contact detonation, even for a straight on kinetic shot
Sorry, you dont know what you're talking about and shouldn't be guessing.

Project Orion nuclear propulsion
"The bomb's geometry and materials focused the X-rays and plasma from the core of nuclear explosive to hit the reaction mass. In effect each bomb would be a nuclear shaped charge.

"A bomb with a cylinder of reaction mass expands into a flat, disk-shaped wave of plasma when it explodes. A bomb with a disk-shaped reaction mass expands into a far more efficient cigar-shaped wave of plasma debris. The cigar shape focuses much of the plasma to impinge onto the pusher-plate."

-IOW shaped charges have nothing to do with lack of ambient pressure. EXPERTS would have to survey the particular rock, analyse its structure and composition, and decide what kinds of explosives delivered in what manner would deflect the maximum amount of material from an impact trajectory.

ITS COMPLICATED.

May 07, 2019
"A nuclear shaped charge, which became the Orion pulse units, worked in three steps... [step #3] The tungsten is plate-shaped so that the plasma produced expands into a thin column.

"In effect, the tungsten plasma becomes the Orion's propellant. Exhaust velocities of up to 120km/s have been proposed for the original Orion designs.

"The collimation factor (between 0 and 1) is how much of the tungsten plasma reaches the pusher plate. In the original proposal, collimation was 0.85... It can be improved by using a wider pusher plate, detonating the pulse units closer or using a thinner and wider tungsten plate."

-IOW most of the propellent from the nuclear shaped charge hits the pusher plate. Or in this case, the asteroid.

May 07, 2019
Lots of things to consider for all 3 modes of deflection, whether it's kinetic impactor, steering by way of thrust, or nuclear explosions.

https://web.archi...lect.htm

That's why I say in the words of Dr. Disrespect, "Get em outta here!" Deflection is good but you're still not calming the seas. We need to permanently move these masses from Earth's orbital plane proximity for good. That's why I proposed concepts on unmanned, telerobotic/mechanized, safe incremental mass reduction operations earlier. It can be done but I have a feeling some of you read that and are still thinking, "But daddy, I wanna drive a spider tank." The point of being unmanned is so it can work unhindered by human life support needs. The whole operation would take months to years and it would take many surface launches to get all the needed hardware in space. But your clearing these dancing bombs from our skies for good, permanently

May 07, 2019
I am not contesting what little experience is available for using nuclear explosions to propel Orion.

Taking the results of explosions on Earth?
May or may not be applicable to nuclear explosions in Space/vacuum/micro-gravity. Or, against Mass of an asteroid.
We just do not know!

I'm seeing suppositions but no actual proof of concept.

What I am advocating is a much less expensive program that would use swarms of cheap drones to gently redirect big rocks from the vicinity of Earth/Luna.

Meanwhile, you could be trying to convince the Corporates to order the Generals to provide missiles & warheads to teat your dreams of spectacular fireworks.

The asteroids, if intelligently guided (that's why RC drones) to fall Sunward?
Would make SAFE targets to practice your KA!BOOM! on.

Since the debris fields created would continue to fall towards the Sun
& away from Earth/Luna.

Sounds like a winning combination to me.

May 07, 2019
We need to permanently move these masses from Earth's orbital plane proximity for good
No, we just need to move them to where theyre no longer a threat.
What I am advocating is a much less expensive program that would use swarms of cheap drones to gently redirect big rocks from the vicinity of Earth/Luna
-Says willis the know nothing, do nothing pretender to nowhere nohow.

So what do you base your learned opinion on willis? You think that real experts read a few wiki articles and then decide how do space engg like you do? You know how stupid this makes you look?

I know you dont CARE. You just like to PRETEND. And you think this is ok because most of the time people here let you get away with it.

This is what I get for viewing the occasional post from morons like this.

May 07, 2019
If I'm not mistaken, wasn't it sometime in the mid 90's that the comet Shoemaker Levy 9 impacted Jupiter? And during this impact the gravity field of Jupiter actually tore the comet apart into chunks before they all impacted into the gas giant.

So what if something like that happens with Apophis and Earth? I'm not saying the gravitational forces here are any way comparable, just that a 'what if' scenario we never see coming may actually happen. How many times has this chunk of rock swung by us and to what degree has Earth's gravitation field already altered the structure of this asteroid??

Scientist expect an estimated 31,000 km minimum approach of this asteroid Apophis. In celestial terms of distance, that's like getting skin burn from a glancing bullet shot, it's so close. Not to mention this object is going to continue making dangerous approaches into the foreseeable future, WITH potential collision impacts already calculated. See Nasa Sentry Risk Table.

..cont'd

May 07, 2019
..cont'd

So with those thing in mind, I'm gonna have to continue to advocate an autonomous incremental mass transfer system using drones. There's no reason we shouldn't be using robotics more and more in space. Automation in general has advanced immensely over the decades. Carl Sagan was for it too, the robotics part, not so much the mass moving part for the potential of malicious human intent, but definitely he advocated for more robotic missions in space. Another thing to consider is that such a autonomous system will stay in space and be repaired via sent parts. That will make the astrobiologists of the world happy because you don't have to worry about germy e.t. organisms that may be hiding in the space dirt.

May 07, 2019
ottogimli my deer, there you are, once again. Peeking around the boulder,
A giggling, missed-chievious cute little troll.

May 07, 2019
Another asteroid that is emitting a sulking attitude like that of Apophis is 4179 Toutatis.

https://ssd.jpl.n...ad=0#orb
Source JPL California

That sucker is way too big to be an Apollo class asteroid. Again, I'm gonna have to quote Doctor D. and say, "Get em outta here!" Done. Finito. Just tear it all down and move it.

May 07, 2019
Rwnfield, woi are correct about Shoemaker-Levy 9. I suspect it got torn apart by Jupiter's gravitational attraction, was that it was a fragile comet.

However, not many of those seem to cross the Earth/Luna orbit. My concern are the solid, core rocks such as Oumuamua. Which dived right close to our Sun & safely escaped.

& there have been concerns that the flying rocks are tougher to break up then previously be;ieved. Not just the hard-core nickel iron slabs but also the gravel-pits are hardier than thought.

We did not detect Oumuamua until after it had recrossed the Earth/Luna orbit.
After it kissed the Sun's gravity field.
& was well on it's way back out of the Solar System. Back into Interstellar Space.

Robots would be nice for these orbital projects.
The reason I suggested drones was to cut costs for controls & launch weight.
To quickly build & launch a swarm of isotope-powered ion-drive bulldozers.
That are low-cost enough to be sacrificed if necessary.


May 07, 2019
Well from what I've been reading from random wiki and company website browsing, the current situation with Solar Electric Propulsion Ion drives is this:

Nasa and Rocketdyne are making a 40 kilowatt 1.7 newton thrust xenon Hall thruster for the upcoming Lunar station, dubbed the AEPS. A university in Michigan has recently tested a triple nested ion drive that was 100 kilowatt with 5 newtons of thrust. The research center at Glenn is experimenting with different types of cathodes and gas fuels, rumored to be hydrogen instead of xenon I believe. I think I read somewhere that Japan is also experimenting with Ions as well.

So in other words we are advancing considerably from back in the day where ions were considered these weak little engines. The spacecraft Dawn, has already knocked that stereotype out of the park. It went to Vesta AND Ceres on it's drive.

And really drones and ion drives go hand and hand when you consider power source like rtg's. But even rtg's are going to...cont'd


May 07, 2019
...cont'd

..be outclassed soon when reactors are ruled safe for use.

here's a youtube I saw last night that was really interesting on that subject.

https://www.youtu...iI4UVZP8

May 07, 2019
@Renfield, Shoemaker-Levy 9 crossed Roche's limit in the gravity field and was ripped apart by tides. That's what happens when the tidal force exceeds the strength of the material the impactor is made from. The limit depends both upon the strength of gravity, which increases as the inverse of the square of the distance, and the strength of the impactor's structure. A comet mostly made of ice isn't going to be very structurally sound.

May 07, 2019
I know about the Roche limit, but thanks DS.

Here's the thing about inferring the structure of an asteroid based off of spectral class. Spectral analysis analyzes the surface of an asteroid based on its light reflection. It is simply a guess that Apophis, a Cg type spectral class asteroid, is majority a carbonaceous asteroid with some stony silicates. To truly know the make up of this asteroid you would have to survey with the proper technologies which are meant for that specific task. So to say that Apophis is structurally sound could very well not be the case. I still say Murphy's law must always be observed in cases like these.

May 07, 2019
Oh, I wouldn't go against Murphy's Law. Best to have a couple of other solutions in your back pocket. I'm always in favor of a layered defense. If you got the personnel and plans for it.

May 08, 2019
So there's an idea here. Correct me if I'm wrong.

On Earth, when we want to check the internal structures of Earth's stratum, it's mantle, and even it's core we use macro seismic events like earthquakes to gather data and correlate. For more detailed localized stratum we use machinery called thumper trucks, which pound the ground and gather data on the resultant seismic waves.

How would you do something similar to an asteroid in space? Hayabusa 2 recently shot a bullet and then a copper bomblet on to the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. That was in the beginning of April I believe. This was to study the surface sediment I'm guessing, not so much the internal make up of Ryugu. Correct me if I'm wrong.

So how do you make and operate a "thumper truck" on an asteroid? To quote myself,
Think arthropod, specifically arachnid, inspired mecha design. Think groups of these harnessed via longitudinal and latitudinal cables, belted around the asteroids, so they can work

..cont'd

May 08, 2019
..cont'd

It's funny. Scorpions are arachnids, and scorpions have these feeler organs on their bellies that look like floor mops to pick up vibrations and any impending danger.

But that's beside the point. On an asteroid you could potentially put sensor stakes all over it's surface and use machinery akin to a thumper truck. You would need to belt it to the asteroid, otherwise each thump would send the vehicle aloft in the microgravity environment.

Hence, this is full circle back to what I've been talking about in the first place. Autonomous drones with specialized purposes. For a spider tank, think 4 cable winches placed at cardinal directions on the roof of this thing, the legs sprawling out at the diagonals underneath. How else could you apply and deploy a thumper truck design to an asteroid. I know of no other.

May 08, 2019
If I'm not mistaken, wasn't it sometime in the mid 90's that the comet Shoemaker Levy 9 impacted Jupiter? And during this impact the gravity field of Jupiter actually tore the comet apart into chunks before they all impacted into the gas giant.

It likely wasn't the "gravity field" which caused the comet to break apart but the EM field of Jupiter which caused the breakup.

May 08, 2019
CD,

unanswered questions with insufficient data just support the notion that we humans need to get more ambitious with robotic missions in space. Boxed lunch experiments sent to the ISS are good, but when it comes to kilometer a second collisions with energies in the thousands of megatons we need to be a bit more proactive. All contingencies must be practiced and new ones developed as well.

It would have been nice to have had high res images of the Levy 9 impact from the Juno spacecraft, or even standard res from Cassini–Huygens during its flyby in 2000. But this impact happened 1994. Juno didn't leave earth till 2011 and because of the massive amount of radiation given off by Jupiter's EM field it will be scuttled into the Jovian atmosphere in 2021 when the mission ends.

Also in terms of contact testing, we humans have only sniffed at dust or water vapor crystals with robotic craft. Sure certain missions we kicked the stuff up by ourselves, but we haven't really done serious survey

May 08, 2019
Frankly, my opinion is that the structural weakness of Solar Power Collectors is too predictable for aggressive asteroid interception.

Which is another reason I advocate for isotope-powered ion-drives.

Another advabtage, I;ll bet entire drone would cost less to lift than the SP collectors.

Another reason, is that I am an anti-nuke proponent. However, we are stuck wuth the filthy reactors as a foundation for a global fascist police-state.

So, finally get some useful function the the waste products of the nuclear criminals, too incompetent to not poison the Earth.
Send the radioactive shit up & use to bulldoze flying rocks.
Away from Earth/Luna,
Down into the Sun's gravity well.

With careful attention to ephemera?
The atomic priesthood check in & can never check out.
A glorious improvement of Humanity's gene-pool!

May 10, 2019
Can you predict the impact of 10 million refugees?

I can and I don't ever want to see it.

They're better than 10 million corpses. Think about the sheer economic loss of having that many people disappear. In 1 year time you can accommodate places and working conditions for them.

May 10, 2019
might help save us from global Warming , all those wastefull glass and steel buildings , they can rebuild Flinstones style. Or maybe it hits California , that would solve a lot of problems

ANY catastrophe affecting humanity may entirely derail today's efforts to mitigate global warming. Asteroid impact, nuclear war, hunger and famine... all those will make humans forget about global warming and send them short-sightedly into massive fossil fuel burning. Any resource will be used without consideration for the environment. Today's bad things will only become worse.

The way out of today's crises is progress, which is already done pretty well. Research into energy sources and energy efficiency is already paying off a lot.

May 10, 2019
ANY catastrophe affecting humanity may entirely derail today's efforts to mitigate global warming. Asteroid impact, nuclear war, hunger and famine... all those will make humans forget about global warming and send them short-sightedly into massive fossil fuel burning
No you're right, we oughtta let a few million people die, and let govts and economies collapse, because we made a moral commitment to reduce CO2 even though we would be in the throes of a nuclear winter.

After all a promise is a promise.
In 1 year time you can accommodate places and working conditions for them
And just what do you base this upon? The power of prayer?? And dont forget, saving refugees by expending traditional resources is after all 'short-sighted'.

So what if all the solar panels are covered in ash and soot and all the turbines are blowed over.

May 10, 2019
It likely wasn't the "gravity field" which caused the comet to break apart but the EM field of Jupiter which caused the breakup.


Nope. No mechanism for how that would occur.

May 12, 2019
It likely wasn't the "gravity field" which caused the comet to break apart but the EM field of Jupiter which caused the breakup.


Nope. No mechanism for how that would occur.
No no you dont understand EUnies have their own unique explanation of the world.
https://youtu.be/gdlfI9w5cH0

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