Re: Space Rock 'on collision Course
Posted by Southern Man on Jul 26, 2002 at 08:47
Re: Space Rock 'on collision Course (DA Morgan)
"The heat would vaporize, at very high pressure, surrounding rock and the internal pressure would explode it."
Again you don't seem to have a clue how large the mass is that we are discussing. Certainly a small amount of rock would be ejected. But a few tens of meters of rock in trivial in this context.
“But nuclear solutions to asteroids are about as dumb as dirt. The most likely result would be that the earth, instead of being hit by one asteroid would be hit by many.”
You got your science education from Hollywood, didn’t you. Of course getting hit by a large number pieces is far worse than getting hit with one big piece. Everyone who would be working on this is aware of that fact. I would be astounded if they didn’t consider it, so I am not at all worried that someone will try to break an asteroid and end up hitting us with pieces.
To remove the danger all (or most of) the mass of the asteroid must be moved. The least energy solution would be to crack it up and move half of the pieces one direction and half the other. To move an object you must have something to push against. The heavier the “push against” object is, the easier it is to get the target moving. The greatest mass you can get in this environment (and the most efficient energy transfer) is to use half the mass of the asteroid to push against to move the other half.