Asteroid Deflection (in 140 characters or less)

Bong Wie is Director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University

Bong Wie is Director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University

Did you miss Tuesday's Café Scientifique - Deflecting Disaster: Preventing an Asteroid Apocalypse? Bong Wie, Director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University, presented on the technology his team is developing to prevent an asteroid from crashing into Earth, changing the world as we know it.

Here's a quick recap of the highlights of the presentation from our live-tweeting Marketing Coordinator, Emilee Richardson:

• Tonight's #CafeSci - "Deflecting Disaster: Preventing an Asteroid Apocalypse" - I'll be sharing snippets over the next hour!

• We'll discuss practically-viable, technically-feasible, cost-effective solutions for deflecting asteroids & comets.

• Asteroids: 101... NEO = Near-Earth object; 300 m asteroid = 40 billion kg; asteroid orbital speed = 30 km/s.

• A 10-km asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. A 2-km asteroid struck Mason, IA, 74 million years ago.

• A 50-m asteroid exploded over Siberia in 1908 w/ the equivalent damage of 600 Hiroshima nuclear bombs.

• In 2029, a 300-m asteroid will miss Earth by 36,000 km. (Too close for comfort!)

• Low-energy asteroid deflection: Tugboats, gravity tractors, solar sails, mass drivers. BUT, they require a longer lead time.

• Nuclear explosive options: Flyby near-surface blast, surface contact burst, penetrated subsurface explosion.

• Problem: Nuclear device can't withstand high-speed impact with asteroid.

• After destroying an asteroid w/ nuclear explosion, some debris will likely impact Earth. But damage would be minimal.

• RT @k_blythe: NASA found 167 technical flaws in the movie "Armageddon." Imagine that! ;) #CafeSci

Café Scientifique is SCI's monthly event series that engages Central Iowa's adult learning community in contemporary science. The next Café Scientifique takes place on Monday, July 9 - Training Champions: The Team Behind the Athletes.

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Category: General SCI