Options for Asteroids Heading Towards Earth
Evidence has proven that meteor impacts coincidence with several mass extinctions throughout the Earth's history, thus proving that objects falling from space are a real threat to mankind. Unfortunately, there are very few options if an asteroid or comet is on a collision course with Earth. With the possibility of an impending apocalypse, these options could quickly become mandatory for the survival of the human race. For that reason, here is a list of tasks and options that would be necessary, in order, to try saving mankind from possible destruction from objects in space.
The first task would be to get several independent confirmations that the trajectory of the asteroid or comet is indeed on an intersecting course with Earth, since it would not be logical to depend on this information from a single source. Therefore, I would recommend at least 3 separate and independent groups of astronomers to determine the object's exact location, speed, and trajectory as well as Earth's location, speed, and trajectory in order to calculate the intersecting paths. Keep in mind that this task will not easy to calculate, especially since it would be necessary to also take into account the gravitational effects of every other object (such as the moon, sun, etc.) that could affect the object's trajectory. At this point, these scientists would have calculated the exact date and time of the impact, and each group should have very similar results.
The second task is to determine the exact size, mass, and composition of the object heading towards Earth. This information will help determine the amount of destruction that the object will cause, as well as help determine how to deal with the object. At this point, the people of the Earth will have all the information that they will need in order to try to save themselves.
Option #1: The first option would be similar to the movie Armageddon, where astronauts land on the asteroid, drill a hole into the center of the asteroid, and explode nuclear warheads inside the asteroid. In theory, this would destroy the asteroid. Unfortunately, this option would not work. Simply put, the asteroid will most likely break up with several large portions of the asteroid still heading towards Earth but at a FASTER speed and radioactive too. The shrapnel effect would most likely be worse than having the entire asteroid hit the Earth in a single impact, no matter how large of an explosion the nuclear warheads create.
Option #2: The second option would be to have nuclear missiles strike the asteroid or comet. As with the previous option, this solution will most likely not work, since the object would most likely shatter into radioactive pieces that would most likely cause even more damage to Earth.
Option #3: The third option would be to launch nuclear missiles at the asteroid, but detonate them BEFORE they impact the asteroid or comet. Depending if the composition of the object is dense enough, several explosions could alter the path of the object, thus the object could be deflected away from the Earth. Of course, this plan depends on the density of the object to be strong enough for the explosions to not break the asteroid apart. Furthermore, scientists do not have sufficient experimentation to determine how to deflect asteroids and comets using the method. I would assume a lot of trails and errors on other objects would be necessary first. As a result, this option is not recommended until further experimentation is performed.
Option #4: The next option is to launch several rockets that would safely land on the asteroid or comet. These rockets would then attach themselves to the surface of the object and push the object into another trajectory using their engines. Depending on the mass of the object, a large number of rockets and fuel may be required. The object itself could maybe provide the needed fuel. If the object is extremely massive, then mankind would not have enough time to build enough rockets. However, the sooner this option is implemented, the fewer amount of rockets and fuel would be necessary to deflect the object.
Option #5: The final option would be similar to the movie Deep Impact, where deep underground shelters were built to save some of the population. These shelters would be very limited in the number of people that they could save, especially since they may have to be completely self sufficient for all resources for possibly several generations. As well as the time necessary to build these shelters could be extremely short. Keep in mind, this option will only work if the object heading towards Earth will not completely destroy the planet, but only kill all or most of the life on the surface of the planet.
I think these options are the only chances to save mankind from an asteroid or comet on a collision course with Earth. If you think I left an option out, please feel free to send me your suggestions; and I will add them.
I also think that the last two options in unison are the best hope for saving mankind. However, without knowledge significantly ahead of time of these dangerous objects, mankind will not be prepared if necessary. Unfortunately, there are currently insufficient resources looking for these possibly deadly objects, so please contact your government officials to better fund this important endeavor for the sake of mankind.
Let us hope that these options will never be necessary.
by Phil for Humanity