Is towing an asteroid to the moon a stupid idea?
Scientists now want to capture an asteroid and tow it to the moon to put it into orbit. Along with the A-bomb, thalidomide, asbestos etc etc this has to rank as a really bad idea. We are constantly told about how dangerous asteroids are. What if something goes wrong? Can we trust these scientists to get this right? A moderately sized asteroid could destroy millions of lives in a large city.
I understand they're planning to use an asteroid about 7 meters in diameter.
The frequency of 7 meter rocky asteroid Earth impacts is once per 5 years. Their kinetic energy is approximately equivalent to Little Boy, the bomb dropped directly on top of the city Hiroshima. They either burn up or explode high in the Earths atmosphere and with an air blast of about 5 kilotons (a third of Little Boy).
A thousand year asteroid is about 50 m in size, and explode with a few megatons of energy. Like the one that hit in 1908, the Tunguska event. That'll make a bang.
The Earth is 12 700 km across. The moon is 384 400 km away. Let your foot from heel to toe represent the diameter of Earth. Draw, or imagine drawing, a circle around it. Now take 30 steps, heel to toe, and draw a smaller circle there. That's how far away the Moon is. As for the asteroid, at that scale it would be microscopic.
Are you saying it's a stupid idea? The energy of an Abomb?
A stupid idea is building 40 000 nuclear warheads because your rival has 30 thousand. A stupid idea is backing out on the SSC collider, 2 bill in to save a few bill more. A stupid idea is father christmass, except on christmass.
But is it a stupid idea to bring dangerous asteroids into close range with earth?
There was a classic scifi movie about catching asteroids. But I don't remember its name, or why they were catching the asteroid.
Can you remember if it turned out to be a stupid idea?
It was meteors
Riders to the Stars (1954)
In an attempt to discover the composition of meteors, three astronauts are sent out into space in three specially designed rockets. Their mission is to capture a meteor and bring it to Earth.
Out of the three rockets, and their pilots, one of them lived and was successful.
But then again, it was a movie.
Actually it all depends on what they want to use it for?
Asteroids have an interesting composition, they have such things as uranium and other 'rare earth' minerals that we just don't have on earth!
One of the things that science is looking at (and preparing for) is both the possibility of asteroid mining (if they can 'break chunks of the raw material off' and bring to the surface) or if they will need to have a processing facility nearer to the source!
Isaac Asimov had a short story about colonizing Mars where the water was being shipped from Earth but eventually it got to the point when Earth refused to ship more water to the colony so they took a massive 'asteroid' that was actually a chunk of ice and crashed into Mars near the colony giving themselves enough water to become self sufficient!
The moon does have ice, but nowhere near enough to sustain a colony!
If man is to colonise our solar system we will need to get what we need from somewhere and if we can take what's already there instead of spending billions getting a miniscule amount from Earth then maybe it's not so silly.
Unless Jesus comes back first.
I don't mind if they mine asteroids as long as they don't start towing them close to earth. Maybe they need to do more research about the orbit and trajectory of asteroids etc. to make it safer
There was one 2 miles wide passed between Earth and moon in 2013. No one saw it coming! The idea is if we can get the technology then if one is heading for us we can deflect it!
Next time we may not be so fortunate!
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