Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Deflecting Asteroids from crashing into Earth

There are millions of asteroids in the Solar system of at least .5km width, and lots more out beyond our most distant planet. The main asteroid belt, (between the orbits of Mars & Jupiter), has maybe 2,000,000 of width at least 1km, and 25,000,000 >100m wide. (On Earth a house might be 15m wide, in a 200m city block.) Also the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune has >100,000 asteroids >100km size. Also there's the even much farther out Oort cloud, out to as far as a light year from Sol, both also having lots more smaller ones.

By 2010 May, 7,075 asteroid were known having orbits not far from Earth's orbit. It could be terrible if any crashed into Earth. That had happened in the past, such as one starting the extinction of dinosaurs. Even one of house size 15m could destroy part of a city or town. New telescopes being formed on a special telescopes making asteroid thus interested some high orbiting settlers in the possibility of using some special ones to discover, then determine the orbits of many not big previously uncataloged asteroids. Then any future possibly threatening ones could be gradually deflected into better safer orbits.

Some high orbiting settlers, extra interested in this, were granted trial use of a new telescope which could be good for spotting not yet cataloged not very big asteroids between Venus & Mars, maybe a few at risk of some future crash into Earth. It could distinguish Sol lit dim asteroids spots, without magnifying any surface view.

Viewed images were focused up to its microgridded light waves sensing disk. Various spectral wavelength intensities could be distinguished in it from each focused object. This let stars be distinguished by their more continuous hot radiation spectra, unlike cold asteroids which instead had some bright and dark spectral bands resulting from the reflective or absorptive natures of their various surface chemicals lit by Sol.

Aiming this telescope to slowly sweep across space near the planetary disk, it detected an asteroid. It adjusted its aim to keep the asteroid in view. Its motion fitted one in its computer's data file of known asteroids. So the telescope was again slowly swept across space, watching for unknown asteroids.

Later it spotted one not currently in its asteroid file. This one was actually already known, but had been temporarily blocked from the file list, to test the telescope's ability to not only discover a (seemingly) unknown one, but also to quickly note its gradual viewed passage direction and speed. This let it estimate where to most likely soon spot it again, to produce better estimates.

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