[ExI] asteroid defense

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Thu Mar 3 13:40:01 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 4:38 AM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> Kelly Anderson wrote:
> There is also the B612 foundation:
> http://www.b612foundation.org/
> Their goal is to significantly alter the orbit of an asteroid, in a
> controlled manner, by 2015 (I think they are running out of time). But they
> have done a bit of analysis on gravity tractors. The JPL report is pretty
> cheering,
> http://www.b612foundation.org/papers/JPL_report.doc
> Now they just need to get people with money to start funding a real program.

I don't think this is the best use of money. It is relatively cheap to
look for asteroids from the ground, and if you found a potential earth
impactor, it would then be easy to subsequently raise money for a
mitigation plan. (Assuming you had time) To just go and try to move a
random asteroid as a proof of concept seems like a fool's errand to

Aside from that, there is no activity or news on the site since 2008,
so apparently others must have come to a similar conclusion.

Now for the good news! The LSST
mentioned in the b612 paper is ideally suited for looking for NEOs,
and has attracted at least $30 million dollars in private funding from
Charles Simonyi and Bill Gates. In addition, it has the support of
Google. So perhaps the libertarian approach has legs after all!! :-)
This appears to be a VERY serious endeavor, and will no doubt find
lots of NEOs, and because of the Google angle, it should be very easy
to work with the @home type programs too.


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