Nuclear detonations as a means of preventing asteroids from hitting Earth is what our scientists are studying right now.
Huge asteroid is headed for Earth.
In an article by Bigthink, Researchers studied strategies that could deflect a large asteroid from hitting Earth.
Scientists are focusing on the effect of detonating a nuclear device near an asteroid.
Varying the amount and location of the energy released could affect the deflection.
Asteroids cause extinction. End of dinosaur era
Since 1998, scientists have detected about 25,000 near-Earth asteroids, while in 2020 alone, they recorded at least 107 of them came closer to our planet than the distance to the moon. With so many asteroids floating in the solar system, protecting our planet from impacts by these giant space bodies is a must.
To prepare for the day when an asteroid will be heading our way, a joint study published in Acta Astronautica from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Air Force looked at how to use neutron energy output from a nuclear blast to deflect such a threat.
Strategies that could divert an asteroid 300 meters in diameter are the things that scientists are devising right now sophistically in their computers.Aiming to identify effects of neutron energies resulting from nuclear explosions on space rocks. A standoff detonation is what they are planning to do in order for it to deflect and change the course of the asteroids.
By distributing and releasing neutron energy, scientists believe that they can change its path. Directing the energy could influence how much melted and vaporized debris could be created and its speed, which in turn would alter the asteroid’s velocity and a 70% impact deflection can do the job.
Nuclear engineering master’s degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in a program with LLNL’s Planetary Defense and Weapon Output groups named Lansing Horan IV is the head researcher. Blasting neutrons can penetrate more than that of the X-rays and will do the job.
Disruption is also being considered as it involves blowing the asteroid up thus keeping Earth safe from being hit by one and this might be the last resort in saving the Earth from total destruction.
Hogan sees it as something that may have to be considered as our final defense. While some may be understandably worried about using nuclear blasts close to Earth,
Horan says that “It is important that we further research and understand all asteroid mitigation technologies in order to maximize the tools in our toolkit”. “In certain scenarios, using a nuclear device to deflect an asteroid would come with several advantages over non-nuclear alternatives.”
Depending on the size of the asteroids, we can choose various means to defend ourselves from it and a nuclear detonation might be “our only practical option for deflection and/or disruption,” proposed the scientist.
Scientists are doing all it can to explore the heavens above and at the same time protect us from the calamity that we might encounter. Learning is endless and the same thing with change.
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