The Asteroid Threat

Author: William E. Burrows

Publisher: Prometheus Books

ISBN: 9781616149147

Category: Science

Page: 207

View: 412

Presents a realistic, workable plan for defusing a potentially lethal threat from a rogue asteroid or comet. The explosion of a large meteor over Chelyabinsk, Siberia, in February 2013 is just the latest reminder that planet Earth is vulnerable to damaging and potentially catastrophic collisions with space debris of various kinds. In this informative and forward-looking book, veteran aerospace writer William E. Burrows explains what we can do in the future to avoid far more serious impacts from "Near-Earth Objects" (NEOs), as they are called in the planetary defense community. The good news is that humanity is now equipped with the advanced technology necessary to devise a long-term strategy to protect the planet. Burrows outlines the following key features of an effective planetary defense strategy: * A powerful space surveillance system capable of spotting a serious threat from space at least twenty-five years in advance * A space craft "nudge" that would throw a collision-course asteroid off target long before it poses the threat of imminent impact * A weapons system to be used as a last-ditch method to blast an NEO should all else fail. The author notes the many benefits for world stability and increasing international cooperation resulting from a united worldwide effort to protect the planet. Combining realism with an optimistic can-do attitude, Burrows shows that humanity is capable of overcoming a potentially calamitous situation.
Assessing the Risks, Impacts, and Solutions for Space Threats

Author: Science Subcommittee on Science and Space of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 1547289023


Page: 50

View: 227

Near-Earth Object (NEOs) are asteroids and comets that enter the near-Earth space. They are primitive leftover building blocks of the Solar System. Today we do not have a complete inventory of all the possible impactors. NASA was tasked by Congress in 1998 to catalog 90 percent of all the large NEOs within 10 years. The large NEOs are those that are 1 kilometer or more in size. A large NEO would cause a global catastrophe if one struck the Earth. NASA now is cataloging up to an estimated 95 percent of all the NEOs over 1 kilometer in size. That said, none of these known large NEOs pose any threat of impact to the Earth within the next 100 years. On Friday, February 15,2013, a meteor exploded over Russia with more energy than 20 atomic bombs, shattering glass and injuring over 1,000 people. That same day, an asteroid passed safely by Earth within the orbital belt of geostationary satellites. The days' newspapers read like sci-fi movie scripts, but all the content was real. The threat from these near-Earth objects, as well as threats from space weather, debris, and more, deserves a closer look. What have NASA and private space efforts done to increase awareness of these space threats? And, what is being done to protect the public and the systems we rely on from these threats?

Author: Gerrit L. Verschuur


ISBN: LCCN:95045030

Category: Asteroids

Page: 237

View: 465

In Impact, Gerrit L. Verschuur offers an eye-opening look at catastrophic collisions with our planet. Perhaps more important, he paints an unsettling portrait of the possibility of new collisions with earth, exploring potential threats to our planet and describing what scientists are doing right now to prepare for this awful possibility. Every day something from space hits our planet, Verschuur reveals. In fact, about 10,000 tons of space debris fall to earth every year mostly in meteoric form. But meteors are not the greatest threat to life on earth, the author points out. The major threats are asteroids and comets. The reader discovers that astronomers have located some 350 NEAs ("Near Earth Asteroids"), objects whose orbits cross the orbit of the earth, the largest of which are 1627 Ivar (6 kilometers wide) and 1580 Betula (8 kilometers). Comets, of course, are even more deadly. Verschuur provides a gripping description of the small comet that exploded in the atmosphere above the Tunguska River valley in Siberia, in 1908, in a blinding flash visible for several thousand miles (every tree within sixty miles of ground zero was flattened). In addition, the author describes the efforts of Spacewatch and other groups to locate NEAs, and evaluates the idea that comet and asteroid impacts have been an underrated factor in the evolution of life on earth.
On Near Earth Objects Threat Mitigation

Author: Air Force Research Laboratory

Publisher: CreateSpace

ISBN: 1499790694

Category: Science

Page: 26

View: 727

It is well known that Near-Earth Objects (NEO) and other celestial bodies can be a threat to human existence and civilization. While impacts with large objects occur with very low probability, the consequences can be so catastrophic and irremediable that a program to alleviate this type of threat would seem a very prudent decision. Currently, NASA has been tasked with detecting and characterizing NEOs. However, the role of mitigating these threats is yet to be defined, and may be suitable for USAF responsibility. Mitigation approaches are varied and require further study, but of particular concern are the most difficult scenarios of interception, involving objects with large mass and little advance warning. Although threat mitigation will require important decisions, authorizations, multi-agency coordination and likely international collaboration, some essential long-term planning steps are required to develop and mature key technologies in order to defeat these threats. These steps can be part of an overall long-term strategy for space exploration and utilization that can be part of a global peace-time DOD activity, and that can also greatly increase the welfare of mankind.
Near-Earth Objects

Author: Donald K. Yeomans

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400883554

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 967

An insider's look at the science of near-Earth comets and asteroids Of all the natural disasters that could befall us, only an Earth impact by a large comet or asteroid has the potential to end civilization in a single blow. Yet these near-Earth objects also offer tantalizing clues to our solar system's origins, and someday could even serve as stepping-stones for space exploration. In this book, Donald Yeomans introduces readers to the science of near-Earth objects—its history, applications, and ongoing quest to find near-Earth objects before they find us. In its course around the sun, the Earth passes through a veritable shooting gallery of millions of nearby comets and asteroids. One such asteroid is thought to have plunged into our planet sixty-five million years ago, triggering a global catastrophe that killed off the dinosaurs. Yeomans provides an up-to-date and accessible guide for understanding the threats posed by near-Earth objects, and also explains how early collisions with them delivered the ingredients that made life on Earth possible. He shows how later impacts spurred evolution, allowing only the most adaptable species to thrive—in fact, we humans may owe our very existence to objects that struck our planet. Yeomans takes readers behind the scenes of today’s efforts to find, track, and study near-Earth objects. He shows how the same comets and asteroids most likely to collide with us could also be mined for precious natural resources like water and oxygen, and used as watering holes and fueling stations for expeditions to Mars and the outermost reaches of our solar system.