Solar-powered laser weapons gasify an asteroid in an hour

Isn't “vaporized asteroids” a sci-fi gimmick? According to a recent article in the American “Popular Science” online edition, scientists are trying to “vaporize asteroids” by designing orbital defense systems using existing space technologies. The specific idea is to convert the solar energy into a large phased array laser beam, completely evaporating the threatened near-Earth asteroids in less than an hour, or at least causing a certain degree of damage, thereby deflecting the orbit of the asteroids. - Is this possible?

Solar-powered laser weapons

A team of scientists from the University of California at Santa Barbara and the California Institute of Technology proposed at the beginning of this year to build a DE-STAR system for asteroids, and even initially envisioned four solutions. Now they are trying to put it into practice.

According to reports, the appearance of DE-STAR looks like an open cardboard match box (a book-type match), but the "box bottom" is a laser system, and the "box surface" is a solar panel. A phased array is created by synchronizing the laser beam to produce a 70 gigawatt (gigawat) controllable beam. After the DE-STAR-equipped system receives the "tapping mission," the laser emits a spot of 100 feet (approximately 30 meters) in diameter onto the target asteroid, which causes the surface temperature of the asteroid to rise to several thousand degrees Celsius - at 2700. The asteroid will gasify above degrees Celsius, and the device's laser energy can be heated to 5700 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to the surface temperature of the sun, enough to vaporize all known substances.

In February of this year, a comet slipped into the central and western regions of Russia, causing losses that triggered a global concern about the dangers of the “sky alien stars”. The researchers predict that if there is another asteroid that strikes and the size of Russia is similar, it can be completely evaporated in less than an hour.

If the attacker is larger, it need not be completely destroyed. When the material of the asteroid is evaporated, the driving force it creates in the opposite direction is almost comparable to the thrust of the space shuttle rocket booster. This means that People can use a shorter laser shock wave to change the asteroid route, which also shifts the danger.

It is difficult to achieve super size

Although the concept of laser destruction of asteroids has long existed, a single laser cannot achieve this function. To focus on long-distance laser beams, it is necessary to rely on a large space expansion structure. To reach the level at which asteroids can be fully vaporized, the bottom and sides of the DE-STAR Matchbox must each be at least 6 miles long (about 9700 meters) - and humans have never been Space builds a structure of this size - in several scenarios proposed earlier by team members, the device needed to be launched in batches and assembled in space.

The article "Popular Science" stated that if you want to gather around the world, it will not be impossible to see DE-STAR appearing in 30 to 50 years. But given its completely modular design, the expert proposal could start with a "slightly small" start - each side is 3 feet long. You read it right. The unit is feet. It's less than 1 meter. Then with the existing technology, we can start manufacturing immediately.

In the future, this device and technology will also work elsewhere. The example given by Popular Science is the use of lasers to directly propel the spacecraft (the challenge is too great to be considered at present); or the rare elements used to mine asteroids; as for the Earth, its energy can also be without lasers. Bundle, instead of using microwaves to show up - don't underestimate each side of the 3 foot design, although the gap with the prototype is very big, but it can make you cook out on 600 miles (about 970,000 meters) Come to dinner.

Solving the space threat is not easy in the short term

For a threater who is very likely to hit the earth with a thunderbolt, people are very much looking forward to knowing their colors. However, in contrast, several major interception and blasting countermeasures against the impact of space celestial bodies have not yet been implemented by a single country.

Currently, in addition to the eager-to-try DE-STAR system, a non-profit private organization, the B612 Foundation, is planning to launch the "Sentinel" telescope to search for potentially threatening asteroids and help humans draw an unprecedented detailed and dynamic situation. An internal map of the solar system to identify space rocks that may hit the earth after years or decades. NASA is also considering first launching a probe to land a potentially threatening asteroid, sampling more material structure information, and then formulating specific strategies. A European-led “Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment Mission” begins with the launch of two spaceships in 2019. It is expected that the dual-asteroid system will be observed for the first time, and another even more eye-catching issue will be studied: short-term Whether human beings have the ability to change the orbit of dangerous asteroids.

Some of these plans are costly and have caused mixed reactions. Some people think that it is impractical for scientists to assume too much height. Another part of the voice points out that the fall of the Russian comet was enough to sound the alarm. It should be a long-term perspective, because if you want to shovel in less than an hour, you can easily shovel it. Dropping a large block of rocks that went straight to the earth will require technical preparation to take place 100 years before it is absolutely sure of success.

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