what are the best ways to change the course of a meteor, besides nuking it? or is nuking the best way?
What are the best ways to change the course of a meteor, besides nuking it? or...
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Politely asking it
Early detection. Hit one side with laser. Even a tiny fraction of a change in course is enough to make it miss at long enough distances.
shoot a laser pointer at it
do lasers have mass
in regards to the actual raw power you can smash something with (out of things we actually HAVE on hand), nukes win hands down
they might not be your best option from other perspectives though
Nuke a smaller meteor into it
no, but they can cause temperature to change and generate off-gassing
Early detection. Preferably months or years in advance, while it was still going to go around the Sun another time or two before colliding.
THEN nuke it.
Send several rockets at intervals to see how the first ones worked.
You're right -- but I think you overestimate the power of current lasers. You're dealing with a chunk of rock, not with a missile that had to be built as lightly as possible. It you hit it at, say, a million miles, 4 times the distance to the Moon, that's likely only two days (or less!!) from impact and much too late. And I don't think the most powerful beam we could generate would even warm a man standing on the surface in a spacesuit.
I have a study done by MIT students back in the 70s or 80s. Class project. The rockets existed (or nearly). The bombs existed. Their chief worry was if we could build a radar "fuse" which could set off the bomb at the correct instant when the closing velocity was 10 miles a second or more. To modern electronics that's "slow motion", of course.
Push it with a rocket*.
*May require good timing or very powerful rocket
i think a tzar bomb would be enough to change moons orbit. it would be enough for every meteor that is coming at us.
the problem is how to deliver the bomb early enough to the meteor. we should build a "just in case" rocket right now, so we could use it immedentaly when we need it.
nuking it early
You don't have such a laser, a nuke on an interplanetary orbit is doable by commendeering an appropriate commercial rocket launch.
The moon is in a harmonic orbit meaning your perturbation will do nothing and 50kt is meaningless compared to the moon's mass of 7*10^22 kg.
beam it with powerful lazers so the energy indifference changes trajectory.
tzar bomb can go up to 100mt, not 50kt.
Earth has taken hits millions of times as powerful as the Tzar Bomba and it hasn't budged its orbit an inch.
The Moon is smaller than Earth, of course, but all the nukes ever built exploded at once would be no more than a mosquito bite to the Moon.
This. Basically turns the surface of the rock into a thruster
Earliest detection is best. The closer it gets the less options you have and more power required to change its course.
1: Multiple lasers dedicated to the task of heating it on one side.
2: Placing reflective Mylar on one side and Vantum Black coated material on the other side.
3: Continual bombardment using small projectile weights intended to move it but not break it.
4: Push it with thrusters that latch onto the object.
5: Nuclear bombardment intended to change course, but not break it.
All impacts on Earth have changed its orbit. Some more than others while most are not noticeable with current technology. Even you jumping up will change it, but coming back down fixes that. The decimal places involved are vast.
OK, I confess to a little hyperbole there.
Mass impacting from outside the system or mass blown free will add momentum.
Was trying to emphasize that the Tsar Bomba is insignificant against a world. (Even a fairly small one. Let's say anything big enough so gravity made it spherical.)
I agree with all your other points except the laser heating. The radiation pressure is infinitesimal so you're counting on boiling off material to provide thrust. Current lasers are much much too weak to do much. Also, since they cannot be pinpoint focused as such ranges, the heated material might not escape from even the weak gravity well of an asteroid. If it just boils, fountains and falls back -- there's no thrust.
You're also right that breaking up a rock is the LAST thing you want, unless you're confident you can deflect all the fragments. No one builds 20 megaton city-smashers anymore. They're inefficient. Destructive radius goes up only, roughly, as the cube-root of power. A huge bomb simply grinds the debris finer. Whereas a MIRVed warhead drops a dozen scattered bombs of only a few kilotons each, and does much more damage.
Similarly, scattering 100 ton boulders across an entire hemisphere would be worse than a single impact of a few thousand tones.
Capture it and turn it into hundreds of O'Neill cylinders. This will eventually be the fate of all free-floating asteroids too small to be spherical.
You are going to fucking kill me for this but the answer is obvious and simple.
Crash another meteorite or meteorites into it.
paint it white.
moon's mass of 7*10^22 kg
Luna-chan is thicc
Send out a craft to orbit it and slowly tug the trajectory away.
The best part is that it is something we have already done, just not for that purpose.
If you say "besides nuking" you're implying that nuking it's the best way, so second part of the question need not be asked
sorry it just irked me
nuking is the most obviously way, that's why i phrased my question like this
set off nuke on surface of rock in space
the rock gets really hot because there's no air to generate a pressure shockwave and push it
It's the most obvious way but it's also a problematic way, because you can turn one big asteroid into thousands of asteroids that'll do basically the same thing because the total mass remains about the same.
You'd need to nuke it so hard that only small pieces remain so they can safely burn up in the atmosphere, which would be difficult for an asteroid of any real size.
Are you suggesting that it'll move because of vaporized surface material? Because I'm skeptical of the specific impulse of rock blown off without a nozzle. Unless you're buffeting it with casaba howitzers like an orion drive, that rock isn't going that far off course because you nuked it.
I'm familiar with the "gravity tractor" but never understand why it should work.
A body and an orbiting spacecraft are a closed system. Their total momentum never changes.
The asteroid will fall towards the spacecraft -- but the spacecraft will fall towards the asteroid.
The only way to keep them from colliding is with the periodic use of thrusters. And if you're going to use thrusters, why not just land on the asteroid and apply the force directly?
"Hovering" above an asteroid by firing rockets periodically is a very inefficient way to do it. To apply force AWAY from the rock, you need to fire the exhaust plume TOWARDS it. Any molecules which strike the asteroid will simply cancel out the momentum you've been trying to impart.
The nuke should obviously be exploded as close to the surface of the asteroid as possible. Drilling in and burying it would be even better. You want to eject asteroidal material into space. If the fission energy is applied ONLY to the bomb casing, you get relatively little momentum for the energy expended. Better to eject a large mass slowly.
what are the best ways to change the course of a meteor,
we may find out once we try
I'm guessing it's because other bodies are acting on the pair, so once you have another mass orbiting it their solar orbit will shift slightly.
Someone is going to have to guess better.
Two bodies orbiting each other act just like a single body located at their barycenter (mutual center of mass.)
Imagine building a (massless) box around the asteroid and spacecraft. If there was ANY way of altering the net momentum of a closed box, rockets would immediately be obsolete.
Laser mine it before it arrives.
the people saying crash another on into it are the best. how you will do this? nukes of course.
make the meteor into a rocket by superheating the interior with nukes. the molten rock should eject from the hole made like my beautiful pic related
Perhaps photon/graviton beam tweezers.
Alternatively artificial gravity or antigravity generator arrays.
(Anti) Gravity generator --> (Anti) gravity generator array --> (Anti) gravity net --> ? ...
nuking it would hardly work. Most of a nuclear warhead's energy is created when it superheats the air which then makes a shockwave which causes destruction. In space the only material it could push would be its own container, in other words the missile itself. Not very effective, it would sort of fizzle.
Spray one side entirely white or black depending on the initial colour.
The virgin nuke and chad moon.
That'll work for sure.
John Deere sells tractor (and pressor) beams.
Which is why you have to explode the bomb at 1 meter range -- or bury it -- so it blasts away some of the asteroid's own material.
what's a solar sail