facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Throwing pebbles to divert asteroid?

May 7, 2012 at 8:33 PM   |   Comments

GLASGOW, Scotland, May 7 (UPI) -- A swarm of pebble-sized spacecraft could deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, if launched early enough, British researchers say.

Aerospace engineers Alison Gibbings and Massimiliano Vasile at the University of Strathclyde say they've calculated a 1,000-pound swarm of pebble-sized spacecraft would deflect a fast-moving, 800-foot asteroid by nearly 22,000 miles, enough to avoid a collision, NewScientist.com reported.

However, the swarm would have to be launched in time to meet the asteroid eight years, or about three orbits, before the predicted Earth impact, the researchers said.

Such a swarm could be launched from Earth in a single rocket and then released as a tight cloud directed at the asteroid, they said.

One advantage is that the pebbles would be too small to crack the asteroid into possible dangerous pieces, they said.

Gibbings and Vasile reported on their proposal at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Atlanta last month.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open
2
Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk
3
Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data
4
Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves
5
Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback