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How to Blow Up an Asteroid Heading Toward Earth

slug_asteroidImagine this: an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. Not good. Now imagine that we’re able to blow it up, but it re-forms in, say, a few hours. Not good at all.

The latter is what Don Korycansky of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Catherine Plesko of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico discuss in their paper, “Re-aggregation times of potentially hazardous object fragments after a hazard mitigation impulse.”



According to the paper, many of the proposed techniques for changing the orbit of a potentially hazardous object (PHO), if one were to head our way, involve short-duration impulses such as stand-off blasts, surface detonations, and kinetic impacts. However, “such methods have the potential to knock fragments off the parent body… The resulting fragments may continue to threaten ground or orbital assets if they have not been dispersed far enough on diverging trajectories, or collectively deflected away from the original Earth-intercepting trajectory to a sufficient degree,” states the paper.

How long it would take the fragments to re-aggregate depends on the “physical properties of the original object and the impulse applied,” the paper continues. Korycansky and Plesko simulated blowing up asteroids one kilometer across with varying impulses to see how long it takes for the asteroids to put themselves back together. They presented the simulations at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas earlier this month.

The results are a little alarming: when the fragments dispersed at a relatively low speed, it took only hours for the fragments to coalesce into a new rock. In other words, hitting an asteroid with a bomb that’s too small would cause the fragments to fly apart slowly, allowing them to re-clump under their mutual gravity – in two to 18 hours.

Not to fear, though. Other studies have shown that a 900 kiloton nuclear weapon (which is within our capability) is enough to blow up a one kilometer asteroid – and keep it blown up.
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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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