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A Cost Effective Asteroid Terminal Defense System Shield

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 180

Asteroids are rather small rocky bodies or pro-to planets orbiting the sun. The asteroid belt in our solar system lies between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids consist mostly of stone and iron. Most asteroids greater than 1 kilometer (about.6 miles) are composed of smaller pieces from 1 meter to 1 kilometer in size. Some type of defensive system against asteroids should be constructed in space in the near term even if crude. The process has to begin somewhere. The governments of the world should ideally join together to pay the bill. The asteroid defense system should not be concerned about fragmenting the asteroid into pieces. The smaller segments will be more likely to burn up in the atmosphere.

A beginning defense system cannot be made perfect. NASA has a telescope named WISE. The estimates based on this telescopes observations indicate there are about 20,000 near earth asteroids. This telescope scans using infrared technology. The asteroids are warmer than the background of dark space. Infrared scanning shows up smaller dark colored objects against the dark background of space better than scanning in the visible spectrum. Near earth asteroids orbit to within 120 million miles of the Sun. Data from the WISE telescope indicates that over 90% of the near earth asteroids have been found. There are near earth asteroids about 6 miles wide ( the size that are thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs) that are not considered to be a threat in the next 100 years or more. Any near term threat would likely be from a smaller asteroid. These smaller mid-sized asteroids could destroy a city and should be taken seriously. These mid-sized asteroids have not all been tracked as of the writing of this article. Newer more advanced telescopes are being designed.

The question remains as to what to do in the near term. I propose firing a kinetic energy projectile at the asteroid. In more simpler terms an artillery shell with no explosive capabilities of its own, except for the force of its collision. Basically ramming it with a large metal bullet. The ISS (International Space Station) could be a platform for such a weapon system. I propose something off the shelf while the scientists and government come up with something more permanent. I am suggesting using an artillery weapon already in use that has infrared targeting capabilities.

Artillery shells are relatively inexpensive as compared to some form of missile or specialized rocket. Artillery shells have a longer shelf life. The gun could be fired from a dedicated ISS module. It could be fired repeatedly until the asteroid changes trajectory or is reduced to rubble. Ammunition could be stored or shipped to the ISS module as needed given the long time frames involved. The asteroid has only to be bumped slightly off course to avoid hitting the earth.

The weapon system I am proposing is the M256 M1A1 tank gun. This gun can fire rounds at 1575 m/s. It has an effective range of 3,500 meters. The maximum effective range and muzzle velocity will be greater in the vacuum of space. About 5000 M1A1 tanks were delivered to the US Army so the US is good at making this gun. Target acquisition is very important to the tank gunner. The thermal imaging system this gun has will pinpoint an asteroid against the dark background of space.. The thermal imaging system gives the tank commander a 360 degree view. The whole turret (gun and fire control system) could be mounted on or near the ISS. This article is a starting point. Eventually something must be built to defend the earth against asteroids.

Michael A Daddazio

Source: EzineArticles
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Asteroid Space Cost Effective Defense Iss Kinetic Energy Infrared Wise Telescope Tank Gun M1a1

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