Is a gigantic protect the worst method to shield Earth from asteroids?

Defending Earth from any large asteroid which may come our manner is difficult. For those who break the area rock into items, that would create a hellish rain of shrapnel. Nonetheless, smashing one thing into an asteroid with out breaking it effectively earlier than it nears Earth may change its trajectory, as may the “gravity tractor” strategy of parking one thing large proper subsequent to the asteroid. However these protecting measures solely work if we all know in regards to the asteroid far forward of its projected landfall.

Researchers have been engaged on this drawback for many years, however our hosts Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte have some new concepts. On this episode of Lifeless Planets Society, they’re attempting to guard Earth for a change, as an alternative of wrecking it. Alive Planets Society, if you’ll.

To assist save the world, they’re joined by planetary astronomer and asteroid professional Andy Rivkin at Johns Hopkins College in Maryland. As a substitute of sending one thing out to the asteroid, they’re eager about methods to save Earth whereas staying comparatively close by. May we design a internet to catch an asteroid? Or use a tighter mesh materials which may act as a trampoline to chuck the asteroid in the direction of Mars?

The thought of an enormous protect orbiting the planet is a tantalising one, not least as a result of any impacts it takes would possibly make a sound and will function an alert system each time the planet was saved. Introducing: the asteroid gong.

Lifeless Planets Society is a podcast that takes outlandish concepts about methods to tinker with the cosmos – from snapping the moon in half to inflicting a gravitational wave apocalypse – and topics them to the legal guidelines of physics to see how they fare.

To pay attention, subscribe to New Scientist Weekly or go to our podcast web page right here.


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