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
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
NASA launches project to get citizens involved in Mars exploration NASA launches project to get citizens involved in Mars exploration
3
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
4
U.S. official warns of the multi-billion dollar cost of climate change U.S. official warns of the multi-billion dollar cost of climate change
5
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback