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back to article Russia plans asteroid-defence space mission to Apophis

Russia may deploy defensive spacecraft against the Apophis asteroid, which is almost certainly not going to hit the Earth, according to remarks by the head of the country's space agency. "I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032," said Anatoly Perminov, quoted by AP. In this Perminov is …

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Grenade

What's not to like?

Kill a few hundred million. That'll help deal with our overpopulation* and the polution they cause by using fossil fuels, dumping their waste electrical goods in landfill where the heavy metals leech into the water table.

Bung lots of debris into the atmosphere, that might reflect all the sunlight and reduce the effect of global warming for a few decades.

You've had numerous warnings from Gaia, now she's upping the ante. She only has to be lucky once....

*So long as the effects dont impact (in any sense of the word) on the home counties of course.

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Thumb Up

Next best option

It'll take out a couple telly birds, and millions will commit suicide in desperation from not being able to watch the idiot box.

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but more importantly

Is it going to hit any of the TV satellites?. I don't want to miss Eastenders, or Corrie, or any of the repeats of Dallas, I've already only missed half of them,and I want to hit the whole hog before I die.

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Anonymous Coward

Boris gets a makeover

Good to see the Russians finally getting in on the game of linking their super bomb/spacecraft projects with saving 'all humanity' . After all the west have been doing it for years.

dunno where the cash will come from though but maybe RBS and HBOS are eager to add to their stellar portfolio's.

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Grenade

Nukes in space

Deflecting asteroids using nukes or spacecraft? That's a larf. A bit like deflecting a charging rhino with a flyswatter.

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@ Nukes in space

The Earth isn't a stationary target and Apophis isn't coming straight at us. We are going to arrive at the same point (or nearly the same point) in space at the same time. Apophis would only need a very small nudge years in advance of a possible collision to stop the orbits intersecting.

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Re: @ Nukes in space

Anonymous John posted Thursday 31st December 2009 20:58 GMT --- The Earth isn't a stationary target and Apophis isn't coming straight at us. We are going to arrive at the same point (or nearly the same point) in space at the same time. Apophis would only need a very small nudge years in advance of a possible collision to stop the orbits intersecting.

Yea... a small nudge, because it is close, so it will be knocked off course enough to make us all extinct on the next loop around!

If it is not going to be blown into space dust, leave it alone, on it's close journey.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Just curious if anyone has worked out the odds of it hitting one of the geosynchronous satellites in 2029

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Confidence

'"I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032," said Anatoly Perminov, quoted by AP.'

So they guy who's planning on shunting around a lump of rock the size of a well-proportioned ocean liner isn't exactly sure when it's due to arrive?

Well that's delightfully reassuring.

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Joke

Apocalyptic

2036 is the year epoch time overflows a long. This is no coincidence.

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Boffin

remember where you are

On this site the apocalypse is surely due in the year 100000000000

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I thought it was

100000000001 ?

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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FAIL

y2038 problem

You missed by two years .... no way are we going to let you in charge of the asteroid-busting mission!

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Gaia?

How does Gaia fling rocks like Apophis at...uh...herself? 'Tis the Universe that wants us dead. The reason is political ads. The Universe finds it offensive that Earthlings have advanced to the point where political ads are sent out via electro-magnetic waves increasing the total political pollution that other more advanced civilizations have been attempting to control via the Pol-Ad Test Ban Treaty. Every time a Klieg light turns on to illuminate a pol blathering on upon his/her next expensive project, an extra-dimensional being dies. Frankly, they've had it. Apophis is their rather blunt answer.

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this is the title

I, for one, welcome our human-destroying Astroid Overlord. All hail the great Apophis.

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Silver badge

I'm still missing something

The first time I heard about using a nuke to deflect an asteroid in space I found the idea ridiculous - and I still do.

Nukes on Earth have a devastating effect because of the air - it is the tremendous force of the explosion acting against the atmosphere that creates the shockwave which blows everything away that has not been incinerated by the initial radiation.

But in space, there is no atmosphere. So there can be no shockwave, and that removes 100% of the mechanical effects of a nuke.

The only thing I can imagine that remains is the radiation. Now I understand the concept of solar wind, and I can comprehend that a nuke may shine a boatload of radiation on the side of an asteroid, but frankly I fail to see how that could change the asteroid's course in a meaningful way.

It would more likely take a dozen nukes, at specific points of the orbit, to induce any serious change of orbit. Especially since a nuke explosion goes in all directions, so even in the very best of cases, 50% of the energy still radiates away from the asteroid, and the further away the nuke is, the less energy the asteroid will get.

To me, it feels a bit like trying to move a car by blowing on it. I just can't imagine it'll work.

White paint on one side seems a lot better. Let the Sun do the work whenever that side is showing.

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Paging Mr. Newton

Just a wild guess, but you didn't exactly graduate from university with a degree in basic physics, did you?

I suppose you believe spacecraft can't move in space, because there's no air to "push against" out there.

Place some nuclear bombs on one side of an asteroid. Then explode them. A little thing called Newton's third law then takes effect. Equal-and-opposite-reaction is the common phrase. Apply the deflection while the asteroid is a great distance away, and it will have a great effect on the orbit.

The ticklish part, of course, is in the details of actually getting to the asteroid when it's far enough away, and in making sure -- bloody damn sure -- that you're not going to push it into a worse orbit that makes it MORE likely to hit Earth. But to say "there's no air out there, so it wouldn't work" is absolutely foolish.

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Happy

re white paint : Илья, а обсыпь-ка его мелом...

An encouraging point of view, Pascal Monett, you have probably heard some people talking about handling the figures of 100 MTonne en charge on the loose as easy as it's just like grabbing a pack of beer bottles... well, 50 MT for the shine then, and does it really turn so that the left 50 MT kick cannot break the rock into pieces?

OK, say 5 KT will be five times enough to rub the rock of its size into the shining dust, just a tiny Mid-Eastern hardware nowadays. But an unmanned vehicle with 5 KT on board will no way get the high score. A choir of Men is the necessary tool, and its delivery to the theatre is the only problem which needs an immediate solving, l think. And, of course, it's an international affair... will there still be nations on Earth by 2032, who knows, pIease drop an article to EI Reg.

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Boffin

Subsurface

Drill a hole in Apophis if she hasn't already got a suitable one, shove the nuke in, then set it off. Hey presto, you've got several bits of Apophis flying off in one direction, and through good old Isaac's laws, the rest of it going the other way relative to the original trajectory. Rock (or whatever it is Apophis is made of; frozen stuff is infinitely better still) that's given a blast of energy will heat up if nothing else. Anything that heats up will expand, and between that and the other bits don't expand you'll get some nice fractures. Also, even a shabby nuke will *boil* said rock, and that rock vapour will want to go somewhere too. Even if it just escapes out of the hole, it will act like any other rocket engine as commonly used in space, with the reaction force pushing against the object in the opposite direction.

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FAIL

Are you missing something?...yes...LOTS

1) They aren't going to fire a nuke near it and let a shockwave move it. They're going to fire it AT it and either break it up or make a big bang that will push it off course.

2) The article says nuke it OR push it off course - your question asks 'how is a nuke going to push it off course.' - that's not what they are saying, but it can be done.

3) There are lots of 3)'s, I don't think you were paying much attention in Physic's. In short a tiny nudge a gazillion miles away only needs to adjust the trajectory by 0.0001 degrees to make a very large difference in distance decades later.

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You really don't wanna

...break up a near-earth orbiting asteroid into hundreds of chunks. The momentum in it's orbital velocity is HUGE, and not going to be affected much at all by a nuke, even a really big one. If you blow it into bits, most of those bits will still be on very nearly the same path as before, only now it's like a shotgun blast instead of a single solid slug. A lot of the pieces probably will miss, but a lot of them will be almost certain to hit. Less damage maybe than the (unlikely) whole asteroid hitting us, but vastly increased chance of some of it hitting, over a wider and much less predictable area.

Really, you want to keep it all in one piece and use some form of low power but long-duration thrust over a period of years to slightly modify it's orbit. People have been suggesting things like painting one side of it white and letting solar radiation pressure gradually move it. That kind of thing is far more sensible, even if it doesn't have the sex appeal of a big explosion.

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Anonymous Coward

Apophis?

What? 9 comments so far and no Stargate referenced comments yet.

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Happy

Stargate?

I suppose it would solve the problem if you could find a Stargate big enough to stuff it through.

Bit of a pisser for whoever's on the other end though. You know, having an umpteen million tonne asteroid moving at something considerably faster than fuck delivered unexpectedly to your planet like that.

I suppose that as it would just have been stuffed forcibly through a small hole it would be all hot and runny too.

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Terminator

Hypothetically

Wouldn't such a device also have the capacity to alter the asteroid's course so it DOES hit Earth? Considering it's currently expected to miss, one has to wonder about the intentions of anyone who feels the need to mess with it.

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Space rock? Bullshit!

Hang on this is just the Russians saying "Get rid of the that fucking missile shield or we'll park a bunch of nukes in orbit"

No one gives a monkeys about some stupid space rock

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Remote Chancing World Insurance

"a remote chance - 1 in 250,000 - that the 27-million-tonne rock might pass through" -

Isn't it just 0.25 megapix, Lewis (-:

Must be an excellent opportunity to take some space photos for the wallpaper of the week. A common testing ground... and a common weapon? Hope those brainless military will blow the fcuk only after Apophis passes by the Earth, after all efforts... if this step also passes ok.

'""I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032," said Anatoly Perminov, quoted by AP.'

So they guy who's planning on shunting around a lump of rock the size of a well-proportioned ocean liner isn't exactly sure when it's due to arrive?" - Mike Richards, 31 Dec 1418.

Some people are sometimes older than other. It's normal, to some extent. But if you can read cyberpunk on the TV screen, I beleive it's really no problem to recognize it in actual life also.

Make sputniks ... not missiles.

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A hit-or-miss project

And former astronaut Russell L. Schweickart had this comment:

“It takes a very small change in the Apophis orbit to cause it to impact the Earth instead of missing it,” Mr. Schweickart said. “There are a million asteroids out there. Find another one.”

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Bronze badge

An Obvious Plot!

Yes, Russia wants to involve other countries in this mission. So this proves they're not planning to get Apophis to smash into the Earth.

But, you fools, can't you see their obvious plot? They want to get the other nations to participate so that they can steal these other nations' superior asteroid-moving technology. Then, thus armed, they'll sneak around and send some other asteroid smashing into us!!!

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Original Warning by Meier

The first person to warn of this was Billy Meier, well over 20 years ago. As is the case with numerous scientific discoveries by NASA, etc., he beat them to the punch time and time again.

It's detailed in my new article ARE THE RUSSIANS READING MEIER'S WARNINGS? Please note that there are copyrighted, published books that provide irrefutable evidence for his accuracy.

I don't think that web links are permitted here but search for: Michael Horn Billy Meier and you'll find my site and the article.

While I'm sure that there will be some predictable comments, I'll just use that familiar old quote, "A word to the wise is sufficient."

So, just how wise are we?

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Troll

oh please...

Hmm... can you be more specific as to what exactly in "Billy"'s ramblings we are witnessing here?

Oh, and I see you stopped using all those swear words... http://www.randi.org/jr/032604why.html#2

(Yes, I know we shouldn't feed trolls, but...)

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Go

Good idea

Not because it's in any way necessary, but as an opportunity to test something. Plenty of ideas for diverting asteroids have been proposed - nuclear bombs, rocket thrusters, reflective material, etc. - but we don't know if they'd actually work because no one has tried them yet. When we do have to deflect one, I'd be much happier knowing we have something that works rather than testing it for the first time.

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Welcome

I saw Space Cowboys, I know what they're planning...

But seriously, I admire the temerity of the Russian space program directors, in this bold announcement - not only because it affords one with nearly an excuse to use a fancy word such as, temerity, but moreso, I see that the announcement would allow the Russian nation to retain her sense of boldness and independence, while no less enacting (or proposing to enact) an event that (positively, so one would hope) would affect the global scene. That they would propose to invite other national space programs' cooperation, about it, I think that must be simply amicable.

Of course, the question would return, of how they would propose to fund the program. I'm sure that the good gentlewomen and gentlemen in those offices will get around to figuring that out, though, at some point..

I raise my coffee cup, in salute to the boldness of bold, positively intended announcements. Here's to seeing what it results in, on the launchpad. *cough* I mean, positively so.....

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Megaphone

Ummm There is quite a coverup going on here

What thewy dont want to tell you is that they have been working on plutonium stability at sandia national laboratories in Albuquerque. The other thing is... its not going to work... They know this asteroid is a global killer. The US Govt is lying to you all.

What is going to happen? World War III......

And Im not kidding- Its too bad this world cant change.......

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Bronze badge

Predictable Comment

Many books are published by people who claim they have seen flying saucers. Since some people are gullible enough to think they have enough chance of being true as to be worth reading, such books are, in at least some cases, profitable to write.

So the authors copyright their books. The fact that a book is copyrighted doesn't mean anything about the truth of its content. Sadly, some books filled with nonsense are even published by reputable publishers.

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FAIL

meh...

Chuck Norris would seriously sidekick that asteroid to pieces if it got too close.

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Flame

Testing/soft launch

Hey, even if it is going to miss, we need to test the best methods of asteroid deflection.

Let's just try it and see what happens...

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Joke

It would have been so much cooler if it was called Atropos

Atropos was the one of the fates in greek mythology who "cut the strands that were mens lives at the time of death"...

Would have been so much more appropriate...

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Joke

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

What rotten luck the survivors of 2012 are going to have. They get through the end of the world, but die to a hunk of rock

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Joke

Too old to Asteroid'n'Roll

Dammit, in 2036 Bruce Willis will be 81 years old! Too old to fly there and blow the whole thing. He was our last hope! We're all doomed!

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Happy

Armageddon 2036: The End or the Beginning?

The potentiality of an asteroid strike of planet Earth presents mankind a tremendous opportunity to unit in common cause. The Russians are but the first to seize this opportunity. Read more at http://www.writeonnewjersey.com/2010/01/armageddon-2036-the-end-or-the-beginning/.

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