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U.S. to Nudge Asteroid Into New Trajectory Monday on TV

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Testing Asteroid Deflection - A Possible Remedy For Global Warming

WASHINGTON - Amzeal -- On Monday at 2314 GMT (7:14 PM Eastern), NASA will perform a televised (on the Discovery and Science channels) "Double Asteroid Redirection Test" [DART] to evaluate one method of altering the trajectory of an asteroid by crashing a spacecraft into it.

Although the goal is to find methods for dealing with a possible situation in which an asteroid might endanger the Earth, it will more generally test our ability to alter the trajectory of objects in space; something which might even lead to further consideration if not evaluation of a radical outside-the-box tactic for fighting global warming without radical reductions in greenhouse gases, says Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University, an MIT graduate and a Fellow of the World Technology Network with two U.S. patents to his name.

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Banzhaf showed how increasing Earth's orbit by a mere 0.3% might balance the current global warming crisis caused by the release of greenhouse gasses.  He also suggested several techniques which might be used - especially if controllable energy generation from nuclear fusion proves to be possible - to achieve this tiny change in Earth's orbit, including the well-known and previously utilized "slingshot" technique.

The basic concepts involved in changing a planet's orbit are well known.  Indeed, the science fiction film "The Wandering Earth" dramatizes - although in an unrealistic and cinematic-type fashion - one such attempt.

Noting that conventional plans for combating climate change do not seem to be making much headway as the warming situation continues to get worse, renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said of the concept that: "It sounds a little crazy but what he's speaking of is what we call geoengineering. . . .  So if he wants to think of a geoengineering idea that could help [global warming], I don't have a problem with that, even if it's a little out there."

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Now a new scientific paper by a physicist suggests how this orbital change could be accomplished:  "Gravity-Assist as a Solution to Save Earth from Global Warming"

If science can not only guide a vending-machine-sized spacecraft traveling at 15,000 mph to hit a rapidly moving asteroid only 525 foot wide many millions of miles away, but actually determine to the nearest hundredth of a second the precise time of impact [7:14:23 PM Eastern Time], it should be able to determine whether the concept of altering the Earth's orbit by less than half a percent to fight global warming is worth any further study, argues Banzhaf.

http://banzhaf.net/   jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com   @profbanzhaf


Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf
Filed Under: Science

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