Asteroid Killer - Nuking An Earth-Killing Asteroid

Submitted by: kitteh9lives 5 years ago Science

Los Alamos National Laboratory use a 32,000-processor rig to simulate a nuclear attack against an incoming asteroid.
There are 23 comments:
Male 25,416
learning was boring...
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Male 6,227
All I want to know is, If an Earth-destroying asteroid is headed our way, do I get to play with animal crackers on Liv Tyler`s naked body?
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Male 2,586
This theory only works with a gravitationally-compacted multi-compositional asteroid... probably not on a solid lump of rock

And his inflections sound like Ross from Friends... last words get the emphasis
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Male 198
And we don`t want Iran having a nuke. Look what lives it could possibly save.
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Male 3,314
Cielo is the Number 6 super computer in the world as of 11/11, with about 140,000 processors. Imagine if he had the full power of the Number 1 super computer, which has just over 705,000 processors?
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Male 12,365
[quote]But what if it`s one big chunk of rock left over from a moon or a planet? If a nuke can`t destroy it can it at least nudge it out of the way?[/quote]

Yes, if you can detect it soon enough and get a nuke to it soon enough. Even a nuke won`t move a really big asteroid very much, so you have to hit it far enough out for a slight nudge to become a distance of hundreds of thousands of miles by the time it gets here.

The problem is that a rock is damned hard to detect in space. A rock a few miles wide might seem enormous, but in space it`s a miniscule speck. In space, *Earth* is a miniscule speck.

Also, rock generally doesn`t reflect light very well. So you`ve got an almost black miniscule speck on a black background, and we`re not even looking at most of that background most of the time.
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Male 12,365
[quote]Congratulations earth, a small asteroid is no longer a threat to us, but what about one the size of texas? Hell, what about rhode island even? Those are still threats.[/quote]

Yes, but any progress is useful. Larger asteroids are much more rarely a threat to Earth, so any increase in the size we can deal with is a good thing.

We do need to work on something to deal with the bigger ones though, because we know that they have occasionally hit Earth in the past and therefore one might well do so in the future. Probably not any time soon, but "probably" isn`t something to rely on when you`re talking about something that could destroy human civilisation, maybe even make humans extinct.
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Male 4,793
"But what if it`s one big chunk of rock left over from a moon or a planet? If a nuke can`t destroy it can it at least nudge it out of the way?"

I`m not a physicist, but logically i do believe a large nuke would be able to produce enough energy to nudge a very large mass that is not in orbit of anything. However, we would have to detect the thing much sooner than a few months. Also another option is just sending a satellite to sit next to the object, close enough that its own gravity modifies the trajectory of the mass. Granted this would require much more foresight than a few months.
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Male 4,793
Canaos, i now realize that your post is most likely in response to FoolsPrussia`s post, though one can not know this for sure.
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Male 4,793
""so instead of 1 conglomerate of asteroids you end up with 1000 of smaller city destroying asteroids." "

If it is broken up into small enough pieces, then the asteroids will do no damage to earth. Either the small pieces are moving too fast to survive the atmosphere, or they are moving too slow to do any threatening damage.
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Male 4,793
"at the start he says that the asteroid would be discovered on a very short notice, so redirecting the trajectory would no longer be possible. "

It is a small asteroid, less than a mile long and less than a quarter mile thick. So yes actually we could nearly vaporize such a rock with one small nuclear weapon. Congratulations earth, a small asteroid is no longer a threat to us, but what about one the size of texas? Hell, what about rhode island even? Those are still threats.
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Male 2,034
I just want to know one thing: Are Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck taken into account in these simulations?
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Male 102
except we would use a 50 megaton bomb
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Male 427
at the start he says that the asteroid would be discovered on a very short notice, so redirecting the trajectory would no longer be possible.
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Male 10,845
Still leaves one huge chunk.
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Male 626
"so instead of 1 conglomerate of asteroids you end up with 1000 of smaller city destroying asteroids."
A few million people dead is a lot better than a few billion or even advanced life on earth ceasing to exist.
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Male 3,445
"so instead of 1 conglomerate of asteroids you end up with 1000 of smaller city destroying asteroids."

They aren`t specific in this video, but most of the asteroid mitigation ideas out there are more about redirecting the trajectory. If he says "mitigation," then he likely took your thought into account.
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Male 358
dont forget that the increased surface means more air resistance. So more of it will burn in the atmosphere.
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Male 10,440
Makes my i7 look like crap. Too bad I can`t afford nor would have any use for such a supercomputer.
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Male 2,422
But what if it`s one big chunk of rock left over from a moon or a planet? If a nuke can`t destroy it can it at least nudge it out of the way?
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Male 2,545
32K huh? bet that`ll be in the iphone 100
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Male 341
so instead of 1 conglomerate of asteroids you end up with 1000 of smaller city destroying asteroids.
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Female 8,044
Link: Asteroid Killer - Nuking An Earth-Killing Asteroid [Rate Link] - Los Alamos National Laboratory use a 32,000-processor rig to simulate a nuclear attack against an incoming asteroid.
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