Saturday, January 11, 2014

Laser Satellite to Defend Earth from Asteroid Impacts?

Artist Concept-Comparison Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal new information about the structure of 2011 MD, a small asteroid being considered by NASA for its proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission, or ARM. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It sounds like something straight out of Hollywood. Astronomers discover an asteroid that’s on a collision course with Earth. But there’s no reason to duck and cover — a giant laser in orbit takes aim, and in a few months it vaporizes the space rock. And when it’s done, it wheels around to propel a robotic probe to another star.

This system is still in the realm of fantasy, but the scientists who designed it say it could be built with today’s technology. It wouldn’t be easy — or cheap — but it could defend our planet while performing other tasks.

It’s called DE-STAR — Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and Exploration.

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Source: "StarDate" Radio Program: University of Texas McDonald Observatory.

Also see: "DE-STAR Project Proposed After Asteroid 2012 DA14 Flyby, Russian Meteor Blast":
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