skip to main content

Title: Cosmic bombardment

Throughout its history, the earth has been constantly bombarded by interplanetary bodies. In the maelstrom of the earth Solar System, such collisions created our planet and then fed its growth. With time, the rate of such collisions has dropped enormously, as most of the loose matter has been swept either up or out of the Solar System. However, because our planet has evolved and acquired an increasingly sophisticated biosphere, the significance of cosmic bombardment has not decreased. Cosmic bombardment kills; in the past, individuals, species, even entire branches of the evolutionary tree have been terminated by it. Unlike our predecessors, we have the ability to protect ourselves from this danger. To do this, we need a two-part system, featuring passive surveillance to identify threats, followed by an active defense to deflect or destroy incoming projectiles. We should first build a set of automated telescopes, using them to warn us of first-pass deadly comets and asteroids. As this surveillance continues, we will develop a catalog of the Apollo asteroids, enabling us to predict collisions with ever smaller asteroids many years in advance. Such anticipated threats can be dealt with leisurely; with neutron-rich bombs, such as presently exist, or with magnetic guns,more » which need not be developed until the requirement arises. Comets and small asteroids will not give us much warning; when the alarm sounds there will be no time for dithering. Hence, we should position a small number of interceptor rockets in earth orbit; their warheads can be kept on the ground and delivered to them as needed. These interceptors will destroy comets by impact detonation, and deflect small asteroids by neutron ablation.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
6961770
Report Number(s):
UCID-20062
ON: DE84011402
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Portions are illegible in microfiche products. Original copy available until stock is exhausted
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; ASTEROIDS; MONITORING; EARTH PLANET; IMPACT SHOCK; METEOROIDS; RECOMMENDATIONS; PLANETS 640107* -- Astrophysics & Cosmology-- Planetary Phenomena