How can we avoid asteroids?
By Angelina Wang
In our everyday lives, there are a multitude of forces acting on and upon us all the time. One fundamental force is gravity. Gravity (also known as gravitational force) is the force of attraction. Every object in the world that has mass exerts a pull-otherwise known as force, on other mass ["Forces of Attraction."]. Gravitational pull increases and decreases depending on the amount of mass, and how close objects are. ["Weight, Mass and Gravity."] [See Fig 1.]. In this way, gravity has played a large part in contributing to the creation and development of the universe. It made bits of matter gather together to form things like moons, planets, stars, and even large, whirling galaxies. It also causes the Earth and all the planets in the solar system to orbit the sun ["What Is Gravity Really?"].
However, gravity also causes things like asteroids to form. Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun and are primarily located in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter ["How Asteroids Work."]. It is widely speculated that asteroids are remnants from the massive cloud of dust and gas that condensed to create the solar system around 4.5 billion years ago. They can range from a few feet to several miles, wide [“Asteroids and Comets.”]. An asteroid impact can be immensely devastating [See Fig 2.]. A prime example is the one that is thought to strike the Earth 65 million years ago. It is widely speculated that this asteroid caused so much moisture and dust to go in the atmosphere that it blocked sunlight, plummeting temperatures worldwide and causing the extinction of the dinosaurs [Brian, Marshall.]. With over 20,000 asteroids known to man, the pressing question is, how can we avoid asteroids? This essay will discuss how to avoid asteroids using nuclear explosives.
One asteroid avoidance technique is to launch a nuclear energy source to blast the incoming threat out of existence. There are a few options within the category of nuclear explosives. They include a standoff nuclear explosion, which would detonate on flyby by a proximity
fuse; a surface nuclear explosion, which would impact and detonate by a contact fuse; a delayed nuclear explosion, which would land on the surface of the asteroid and detonate at an optimal time and lastly a subsurface nuclear explosion, which would drive an explosive device into the asteroid, then it would detonate [Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives.]. Scientist Bong Wie of Iowa State University and his team have developed a concept anti-asteroid spacecraft that utilizes the method of nuclear explosions for asteroid mitigation, called the Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle, or HAIV. First, the two-sectioned spacecraft would be launched into deep space to meet the asteroid. Then, it would send the kinetic impactor in one half barrelling into the asteroid to blast out a crater. One millisecond later, the nuclear bomb in...