[ExI] Asteroid on track for possible Mars hit

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sat Dec 22 10:40:05 UTC 2007

On Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 05:27:52PM -0800, spike wrote:

> Why would you want to do anything about it?  Did you mean had the asteroid
> been headed our way it would only give us two months?  This sounds rather

It could have been just two weeks. You need to have hardware on standby,
and launch immediately as soon as you have a sufficiently precise trajectory.

> strange, but I would think it exciting as all hell to work on a nuclear
> payload on a missile that would deflect an incoming rock.  All the usual

The warhead would be off the shelf. An interceptor wouldn't be, though.

> processes would be set aside, guys would be told to forget the
> documentation, use your best rocket science and get this bird ready to go,
> NOW!

You'd need to launch the bird (that doesn't exist) NOW in order that
it can intercept and deflect (by assymetric ablation, perhaps a series
of such) the impactor weeks to months before impact. The earlier you'd
get him, the less deflection you'll need. 

We don't have any such standby capabilities right now. It wouldn't be
necessarily that expensive, given that you'd have to accelerate a payload
of less than 100 kg, potentially much less than 100 kg, if it's just
a naked fusion device sans guidance but a detonator. Can we do such
precision shots right now? Delta-v is probably 10 km/s at least.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list