Asteroid Killer–That’s A Relief!

For those of you who have seen any of the numerous movies about asteroids hitting Earth–such as Armageddon, Deep Impact, and Asteroid to name a few–you know that in most cases this is considered an Extinction-Level Event (ELE).In other words, what the impact of the asteroid and the resulting tsunamis do not destroy, the dust and debris causing a deep freeze over the earth will. This would be like the Ice Age, although this time, we would be the dinosaurs!

However, a new supercomputer at Los Alamos National Lab running 32,000 processors has been able to demonstrate our ability to explode a 1 megaton nuke near the asteroid on a trajectory with Earth and literally blow it to smithereens.

The shock wave from blast would smash the composite rocks of the asteroid against each other, and this would shatter them, and disrupt the pending destruction here on Earth.

All this talk about destroying Asteroids makes me remember back to when I was a kid and used to play this Atari game called Missile Command, where we would shoot down thermonuclear missiles–they could’ve been asteroids for all we knew–before they hit us.

However, in the game, you eventually missed–and your base stations and ability to shoot were destroyed after being overcome by the number of incoming missiles–that was certainly a bummer, even though the game was fun especially with friends.

I am relieved to see the new simulations and projections that indicate that given enough warning, we have the ability to take down an incoming asteroid.

Life imitating art–I certainly hope Los Alamos’s new calculations are right and that if and when the time comes, we can get a very good shot at it!