Friday, January 26, 2007

Space Tractors Could Defend Earth Against Asteroids Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas

Despite the Hollywood glitz of Armageddon and Deep Impact, no human bomb would be strong enough to either alter the asteroid (and its fragments) course or destroy the incoming space rock.

However, where nuclear bombs fail, space tractors may prevail.

(Washington Post) NASA astronaut and former University of Hawaii solar physicist Edward Lu is calling for a new spacecraft that would divert asteroids on a path to slam into Earth.

The small space tractor, costing between $200 million and $300 million, would hover near an asteroid to exert enough gravitational pull that the space rock's orbit would change and a collision with our planet would be averted, Lu said before a crowd packed into a 300-capacity auditorium at the University of Hawaii-Manoa Monday night.

"We're only trying to get a really tiny change in the velocity of the asteroid to prevent an impact," he said.

Although it is not as spectacular as a nuclear detonation, a space tractor seems to have a greater chance at averting a serious asteroid strike. Lu research may come in handy as one asteroid, Apophis, is scheduled to approach Earth around the year 2029, and some scientists are concerned that its second trip in 2036 may hit our planet.

Hopefully one can be built in order to test Lu's theory out, as this technology would not only benefit Earthlings, but future Martians, Lunatics Lunar colonists and other potential home worlds orbiting our star.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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