back to article We're going to bring an asteroid fragment into Lunar orbit

NASA has pressed the “Go” button for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). During July, the project went through “Key Decision Point-B”, and it got the tick from management on August 15, meaning the agency is going to get busy on a “baseline mission design”. The plan, as we reported in March 2015, is to rendezvous with a …

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Joke

Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

What could possibly go wrong?

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Devil

Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

Well, the plan is to capture a rock missile under ten metres across. That's not earth-shaking, but it would put paid to a fair-sized city.

Now if I were Skynet, what city would I pick...?

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

"I worry about people who throw rocks."

--Chrisjen Avasarala,

The Expanse

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

And ppl cursed china over Three-Gorges-Dam slowing down earth's rotation.

http://www.businessinsider.com/chinas-three-gorges-dam-really-will-slow-the-earths-rotation-2010-6

http://www.physics-astronomy.com/2014/05/how-infamous-hydroelectric-dam-changed.html

would increase the length of day by only 0.06 microseconds and make the Earth only very slightly more round in the middle and flat on the top. It would shift the pole position by about two centimeters (0.8 inch). Note that a shift in any object’s mass on the Earth relative to its axis of rotation will change its moment of inertia

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Re: And ppl cursed china over Three-Gorges-Dam slowing down earth's rotation

And your point is ?

Let's not get things mixed up. Said rock is going to be pushed into lunar orbit. If anything goes wrong, it'll impact the Moon, and everyone agrees that there is no life there, so no problem. Worst case scenario is we get to study a fresh impact crater with before and after data. Simulations will be excruciatingly precise.

If Mankind is supposed to survive, we are going to need space-mining experience and technology. We have the basic technology, we might as well start now before it is too late. And using the Moon to park our experiences is just common sense.

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

@ Trevor - They're taking them to the moon, right? And the moon is, of course, a harsh mistress?

"Mike: But we can throw rocks at Earth, Man. We will."

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

You don't help people to think clearly by trying to destroy them.

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

"They're taking them to the moon, right?"

And they couldn't then send it (or other objects) at Earth why exactly?

The technology, once invented, cannot be uninvented. If you can park something around the moon, you can plow something into the Earth.

You really, really need to read The Expanse.

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

The link says that 2008 EV5 is 400m across. On the other hand, if we have the wherewithall to push it into lunar orbit, we probably have the wherewithall to push it onto the moon if it looks like we've computed its orbital parameters wrongly. Back on the first hand, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_event suggests that a 400m rock is a 1-in-100,000 years event.

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

Obviously Bloomington Indiana.

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

Try telling the government of (fill in the blank),

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Mushroom

Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

The technology, once invented, cannot be uninvented. If you can park something around the moon, you can plow something into the Earth.

The same states that can (perhaps) alter the orbits of rocks in space have also the capability of dropping fusion bombs anywhere on Earth. So this does not give me anything extra to worry about...

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Re: And ppl cursed china over Three-Gorges-Dam slowing down earth's rotation

"If anything goes wrong, it'll impact the Moon, and everyone agrees that there is no life there, so no problem."

Unless it hits one of the Apollo landing sites* - now that would mean the destruction of a historical site.

* Or a Ranger site, Surveyor site, Lunochod, the Jade Bunny - did I miss someone?

BTW, IIRC, stage three of the Apollo 13 launcher was deliberately dropped on the moon as an experiment. The seismometers left on the moon by 12 (or was it 11?) registered the impact.

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

"Back on the first hand, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_event suggests that a 400m rock is a 1-in-100,000 years event."

On the other hand a smaller one can still cause a really bad day.

And a rubble pile (eg: comet) zipping through the atmosphere can cause havoc without even touching the ground: https://craterhunter.wordpress.com/a-different-kind-of-catastrophe-2/

(The effect of repeated airbursts is suspected by craterhunter to have effectively sterilised much of North America 11k years ago and triggered the Younger Dryas. It would explain the nanodiamonds AND the lack of craters - and the taurids do nicely fit into the scenario)

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Mushroom

Re: And ppl cursed china over Three-Gorges-Dam slowing down earth's rotation

"If Mankind is supposed to survive, we are going to need space-mining experience and technology." - Pascal Monett

It seems both you and the N.A.S.A. boffins should watch the documentary Armageddon. I hadn't realized humanity had forgotten so much about the art of asteroid mining.

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Boffin

Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

"I worry about people who throw rocks."

--Chrisjen Avasarala,

What worries me is where they keep getting all of these rocks.

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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

"Let's not get things mixed up. Said rock is going to be pushed into lunar orbit. If anything goes wrong, it'll impact the Moon, and everyone agrees that there is no life there, so no problem."

But what if it hits the enormous nuclear fuel dump on the moon's far side?

Whatever happens, it won't be good news for Brian Blessed.

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Angel

Having clogged orbits around Earth with junk...

... we're now starting to do the same thing to the moon.

(Only remotely astronomical icon available)

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Coat

Re: Having clogged orbits around Earth with junk...

Don't worry it won't be there long ;)

https://youtu.be/7nR2sAi267g

Mines the one with the access codes for Moon ferry zero three

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What can go wrong?

Andromeda strain?

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Re: What can go wrong?

We'll also need to keep Bruce Willis suited up and ready just in case it misses lunar orbit and heads our way.

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Re: What can go wrong?

Watched 'The Andromeda Strain' again the other night - it ages quite gracefully. The IT equipment is now so old that it becomes interesting again, and the main theme is as current now as it was then.

As we're talking about the moon I guess I'll watch 'Iron Sky' this weekend...

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Coat

Re: What can go wrong?

"Andromeda strain?"

No, I pulled a hamstring.

*baboom-tish*

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Paris Hilton

We need Paris

I hear she is good at inserting oddly shaped things into strange places.

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Still doubtfull

Both if this thing is going to happen and if it is actually of any use in terms of science and preparations for longer/further manned missions.

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Re: Still doubtfull

Well, it'll be useful for the study of an actual asteroid - or a small bit chipped off one which may, or may not, be representative of asteroids as a whole or even that asteroid itself. It'll be useful somehow as the study of what happens to stuff up in space for such a long time and what they're made of is rather revealing. Beyond the sciency side of early solar system research, asteroid mining could be phenomenally useful either on the Earth side resources front or on the space bound raw resource requirements.

It'll also be useful for the technology required to perform the actions of chipping a bit off an asteroid, separating it from the gravity of the parent object and while attached to it securely, changing it's solar orbit such that it intercepts with Earth/Moon and finished up in an orbit around the moon.

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Re: Still doubtfull

"Beyond the sciency side of early solar system research, asteroid mining could be phenomenally useful either on the Earth side resources front or on the space bound raw resource requirements."

You want to re-read some of Tim Worstall's article on this site. On the Earth-side resources front, we are nowhere near short enough of anything to warrant mining asteroids and bringing bulk materials down to Earth's surface.

On the space-bound side, mining is an energy intensive business and unless you have plans to plonk a power station on the asteroid (briefly, because it can only generate electricity via some sort of thermodynamic cycle and so you'd be boiling off its limited stock of volatile compounds) I think you'd struggle to mine quickly enough to make it useful. Of course, you'd have to launch that power station from somewhere, too.

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Re: Still doubtfull

I agree on the mining thing. But it would be very useful to have a way of extracting and storing water in lunar orbit. A few solar-panels to turn it into O2 and H. = Lunar refuelling-station 1

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xyz

If I remember correctly....

.... those Martian blokes tried this a while back with Phobos and Deimos.... and look what happened to them.

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Holmes

Oh it'll only leave a 6kn crater, what are you worried about?

According to Wikipedia, 400 m asteroid impact releases the equivalent of 3010 Mt and leaves a 6 km (3.7 mi) crater. And probably will cause a small cold spell. (Maybe it's the antidote we need to global warming?)

Presumably the orbit around the mood will be chaotic, rather than deterministic. So what happens after this thing is put in place and many years later we lose the technology to control it (let's say there's an economic collapse of something). Eventually it'll nudge out of lunar orbit and start it's journey....

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