AIAD. How to save the Earth from an asteroid?

Asteroid Impact and Deflection (AIAD) — A project created European Space Agency, aims to protect the Earth from space threat continues to collect projects from around the world to help eliminate or change the course of the potentially hazardous asteroids.
Of particular excitement arose after the fall of Chelyabinsk meteorite (Tchebarkul).

February 15, stone asteroid the size of half a football field flew 27.7 million miles from Earth. It was the first asteroid of this size, which passed so close to our planet since the start of regular observations of space objects, reports the BBC. The distance at which a celestial body passed by our planet, almost 14 times closer than the distance from the Earth to the Moon (384.4 million kilometers), the speed of the asteroid — 7.8 kilometers per second. "Since the beginning of regular observations of the sky in the 1990s, we have never seen, so that the object of this magnitude took place so close to the Earth," — said the manager of NASA programs for the study of objects in Earth orbit, Don Yeomans. An estimated NASA, like asteroids fly past Earth on average once every 40 years, and their collision with our planet occur on average once every 1.2 million years.

Not long before that, in January, the European Space Agency (ESA) published on its website the announcement of the beginning of the collection of scientific statements concerning the impact of a potentially threatening our planet asteroids. Thus, the project AIDA (Asteroid Impact and Deflection — «asteroid impact and deviation") entered into the next phase of its implementation.

The project is based on the principle of AIDA "who hinder us, that will help us." It's simple. Selected pair of asteroids that make up the binary system. In one of these asteroids crashed spacecraft. For this collision is watching another space probe and captures all the details of what happened. The goal is maximum — so affect the orbit of the asteroid, so that he and his neighbor dismissed from potentially dangerous to Earth's orbit. This project is being developed by Europeans together with the staff of the American Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins.

"From the point of view of modern technology, these projects are not anything exotic — said in an interview with" Nezavisimaya Gazeta "Nathan Eysmont, a leading researcher at the Institute of Space Research. — Modern space technology can do it. Cost price is not very high. In any case no higher than, for example, postage Mars Rover "Kyuriositi". For example, the European project is held under the category of low cost. It's not so big and costs. So far. "

It should be noted that Nathan Eysmont still Laboratory at the Moscow State Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM), who was for some time a division Higher School of Economics. The laboratory was established in the framework of this program megagrantov and deals just mathematical modeling of possible impacts on asteroids. "There is a way that suggested in the Space Research Institute — explains Eysmont. — This method is now more detailed study in the laboratory MIEM HSE: it is when we beat the asteroid asteroid same, but smaller. "

About the European project expert "NG" says: "It belongs to the method proposed in the past — to hit the asteroid spacecraft. In some detail considering this option at the Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences V.P.Keldysha, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Vyacheslav Ivashkin. He considered various methods of acceleration of spacecraft, the choice of the optimal trajectory for such an attack. That is not to say that this is something new. But the Europeans have come to this a little more seriously. They want to move from concept to experiment. The fact that the ESA announced a competition — this is serious progress in the implementation of this project. "

In general, a strong interest (read — serious money) to the problem of asteroid hazard finally formed 10 years ago, when he was already well-known open-killer asteroid Apophis. According to various estimates, its dimensions are 270 to 390 meters, weight — 260 million tons. His chance encounter with Earth in 2029 (Friday, 13 April, when he first approaches the planet) were initially estimated to be 1 in 37.

Subsequently, however, American researchers have excluded the possibility of asteroid collision with Earth in 2029: Apophis will pass close to our planet at a distance of 29.5 kilometers. That, however, is almost too tightly on a cosmic scale. NASA estimates the probability of Apophis hitting Earth in 2036 as one chance in 250 million, in 2068 it is even less — 1 to 330 thousand

But the mathematical probability — this is not an insurance policy.

When July 1, 2002 in the skies over Lake Constance (Switzerland) experienced Russian Tu-154 and the American "Boeing-757", some experts have argued that the probability of this was the same as the probability of a collision between two flies, flying at night through the deserted intersecting streets. February 10, 2009 over northern Siberia, at an altitude of 790 km above the ground, there was a collision of two satellites: the Russian "Space 2251" and the U.S. Iridium 33. Even the experts found it difficult to go to estimate the probability of such an event — she was so vanishingly small. Still, the event happened … So astronomers, of course, already figured and the consequences of a collision with Apophis to the Earth.

Impact force at a density of 3000 kg/m3 and asteroid speed reentry 12.6 km / s can be from 506 to 1.5 gigatons of megatons. For comparison, the explosive power of the Tunguska meteorite is estimated to be 2-20 megatons (in the atmosphere then there are about 1 million tons of dust — 20-30% of the mass of the meteorite, and about 30 million tons of oxides of nitrogen), the explosion of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883 was equivalent to about 200 megatons.

As recently as late last year, Apophis again proceeded in relative proximity to Earth — 14 million miles. New calculations have shown that the probability of a collision with our planet has decreased to one-millionth. That is not likely to get it into the Earth. Neither April 12, 2036, the Day of Cosmonautics, no later than …

Of course, the average person educated in a free market capitalism in doubt: we do not run ahead of the engine with this asteroid danger, as far as relevant projects for the protection of the asteroid hazard or is another way by which scientists are trying to take money out of the state / states? Apparently not — concern vain.

"I understand that your question can be reformulated as follows: is the asteroid threat is a real threat? Why this sudden interest arose, why the money began to stand out, and stand much more than before, for all of these goals? — Says Nathan Eysmont. — Indeed, since Apophis received funding, have set up special services, primarily in the United States and in Europe. Americans are now discovering several asteroids — dangerous as they believe — almost every month. I recently discovered another asteroid. His name is not given, but the room was given: 1999 RQ 36. And he's in about 140-150 years could crash into the Earth. Clarify whether his path will tell you, that he did not get? "

Computer modeling of the effects of a large asteroid collision with Earth.

From astronomy and mathematics will not argue. Even 20 years ago in the brochure "The use of the military in the UN framework for the protection of the environment", published by the Space Research Institute, the authors Valentin Atkin and Sergey Rodionov the following data: "The modern astronomical observation programs such SPACEWATCH provide information that every year on Earth gets asteroid with a mass of more than 1000 tons. Asteroids such a mass the size of the order of 10 m can be detected at great distances from the Earth. "

No wonder that the most knowledgeable of the population of the Earth is a fact not to be worried. Hence the abundance of projects ANTIASTEROID systems. Projects sometimes very exotic. For example, shoot asteroids paintball balls to paint in the "right" color, that is to change their albedo (reflectivity), and, therefore, changes the pressure of the solar wind on the asteroid. (Option — wrapping asteroids in reflective tape.) Another option — laser irradiated asteroids … "There is a project called" gravity tractor ": when the spacecraft is held about an asteroid due to its efficient engines and thereby changes — very slow, very weak! — The trajectory of the asteroid, "- does the supplement to this list Eysmont Nathan.

Still, the most realistic look at today is shock methods of influence on the trajectory of the potentially hazardous asteroids. According to Nathan Eismont, here the first question — and be able to get into the asteroid spacecraft? After all, supposed great speed — 5, 10 or even more kilometers per second.

But to say that this technology is not checked, you can not — the Americans did here in 2005 as part of Deep Impact («stressed impact"). The spacecraft delivered to the nucleus of comet 9P/Tempel (opened in 1867 by Ernst Tempel) special copper hammer weighing 370 kg. This drummer was separated from the spacecraft and after correction of the trajectory was in the nucleus of the comet. On the main unit this whole process, "photographed" — conducted spectrographic analysis of the gases formed during the collision. This allows you to determine the composition of asteroids.

"That is to say that the first Europeans fall into such a small celestial body — you can not — emphasizes Eysmont. — But, you know, the Europeans — they love to check it yourself, feel, develop the technologies. The fact that a competition — this is a significant advance in the implementation of the project AIDA ».

I must say, it is time to make progress. There are not too long to wait. After another 15 October 1992 the International Astronomical Union issued a circular warning that the comet Swift-Tuttle might hit Earth in the next passage of 14 August 2126. "In reality, it will be possible to meet the comet Swift-Tuttle around Saturn for four years before its intended impact with the Earth — written by Valentin Atkin and Sergey. — The necessary nuclear charge is estimated at 10-100 Mt. If you organize a meeting in 2126, when the comet will be closest to the sun for 15 days before it reaches the Earth it with a nuclear warhead would be about 100 times more powerful. "

No, it's better early …

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