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The Next Step

2008-05-09 18:49:45.506609+00 by petronius 4 comments

NASA is set to announce its next big mission plan: landing on a Near-Earth Asteroid. Bruce, Willis, call your office!

[ related topics: Aviation Space & Astronomy Astronomy Heinlein ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-10 02:26:46.570649+00 by: ziffle [edit history]

interesting link


htt p://www.flutterby.com/archives/comments/ 'htt p://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/07/ starsgalaxiesandplanets.spaceexploration


#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-11 00:32:09.585283+00 by: Dan Lyke

Fixed the link, BTW. Never did figure out how to deal with people opening with an apostrophe and closing with a quote, or vice-versa, appropriately.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-12 10:08:13.406861+00 by: Larry Burton

I'm wondering if it would be appropriate to blow this rock up into smaller rocks while there? Would several smaller asteroids be less of a hazard to our planet? Would the parts hang around close together and still be the hazard they are to us? Would this even be ethical or practical?

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-12 15:13:03.649675+00 by: petronius

The issue is whether it is already smaller rocks. It is believed that some asteroids are in fact agglomerations of gravel, held loosely together by their individual tiny gravitational fields. It would be more like a dry, malleable mudball, rather than a nice solid rock. It would make blowing it up more difficult, since it might deform rather than break into a million smaller chunks. Even if we did spread it out, while we might avoid a Tunguska event we would have a few million pounds of rock dust vaporized in our atmosphere. Maybe the answer is to encaseit in Saran wrap and then attach rockets to divert it, or at least save it as leftovers.