Los Alamos Wants To Slam a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid

AlphaAtlas

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Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is famous for its work on the Manhattan Project and other ventures related to national security, intends to work with NASA to test asteroid deflection strategies. According to the YouTube video they just uploaded, the organizations want to hit Didymoon, a small asteroid orbiting a larger one, with a proble, and see what happens. "DART" is expected to launch in 2020, and reach the asteroid sometime in 2022.

Check out the plan in the video here.

What would we do if an asteroid was on course to hit Earth? Crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid could deflect it off its orbital path. The spacecraft DART will be tested on asteroid Didymoon. DART will crash into Didymoon at 6/kms and will shift its orbital path a fraction of 1%. The results will provide insight into future asteroid deflection.
 

sfsuphysics

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Unforeseen consequences.
yup... slam a space craft into an asteroid... "YAY!!! It works, it nudged it a little"

it nudged it a little off it's orbit that has been stable for the last 4.5 billion years, so sometime in the future it will interact with something else that it normally wouldn't have, and that deflects it even more, and sometime in the future bam, asteroid crashes on Earth wiping out most of the life on it.
 

Dead Parrot

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Seems an experiment worth doing. Just make sure the NASA Ladies check the math first. I don't trust those new newfangled computers or their operators. I don't want any post impact news conferences where phrases like 'misplaced decimal' or 'unit conversion' are bandied about.
 

katanaD

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about the only thing even remotely usable they can get from such a mission is to hope to see more inside the asteroid from the debris that is ejected from the impact.


as for data on trying to move an object, thats just silly. The sheer small size of the object they are targeting is nothing compared to one they would truly need to divert that would do real damage
 

Oldmodder

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Bend over kiss ass,,,,, or try as i am not that flexible.
Must be a spectacular final vista before you are vaporized.
 

sfsuphysics

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Lots of talk of deflecting asteroids lately... do they know something we don't? Is Apophis actually going to hit us? I mean it is named after the god of Chaos so...
 

maxz01

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It seems to me like deflecting an asteroid is fairly simple physics and wouldn't need an experiment?
 
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Honest noob question, wouldn't a nuclear warhead be an even better test? (Pretending the other nations are cool with that kind of test)
 
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Lots of talk of deflecting asteroids lately... do they know something we don't? Is Apophis actually going to hit us? I mean it is named after the god of Chaos so...

He is my favorite of the Egyptian gods, which is extremely ironic because Athena is my goddess.

Honest noob question, wouldn't a nuclear warhead be an even better test? (Pretending the other nations are cool with that kind of test)

What if that is exactly what they are doing with other nations assistance? This could be the cover story?
 
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