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Fraser
2005-Sep-26, 05:30 PM
SUMMARY: Instead of waiting for asteroids to slam into the Earth, the European Space Agency is working on a mission that will reach out and try to shift a space rock's orbit. The mission is called Don Quijote, and it will consist of two spacecraft: an orbiter and an impactor; similar to NASA's Deep Impact. The Sancho orbiter will rendezvous with a target asteroid and carefully calculate its orbit before and after the Hidalgo impactor slams into it. The ESA has chosen two candidate asteroids as potential targets, and will make a final decision in 2007.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/esa_picks_asteroid_move.html)
What do you think about this story? post your comments below.

haute
2005-Sep-26, 06:23 PM
I know that it would break international conventions, but wouldn't this experiment be more effective if they were to blast the asteroid with a very large thermo-nuclear device?

I would think that if the Europeans (or anyone else for that matter), was willing to work with the other nuclear powers (China, Russia, US, India and Pakistan) and be open with the rest of the world about the rational for this experiment, they could get permission to do so.

Perhaps I'm missing the big picture....

BlackStar
2005-Sep-26, 07:27 PM
Are these 2 "potential targets" on a collision course with the Earth?

kucharek
2005-Sep-26, 09:01 PM
Are these 2 "potential targets" on a collision course with the Earth?

No.

The woo-woos would have a field day if they would run the probe into an asteroid whoes trajectory may bring him close to Earth.

kucharek
2005-Sep-26, 09:02 PM
I know that it would break international conventions, but wouldn't this experiment be more effective if they were to blast the asteroid with a very large thermo-nuclear device?
Blowing it up wouldn't be the smartest way to deal with an asteroid.

niusteve
2005-Sep-26, 09:10 PM
What is the difference between what we just performed - crashing a probe into a comet - that people said had no chance to alter its orbit and this scenario that would attempt to alter an asteroid's orbit? Is it the realtive speed of the impactor?

aurora
2005-Sep-27, 12:34 AM
I would think that the easiest way to alter an asteroid's orbit would be to splash paint on half of it. Then wait 20 years or so.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Sep-27, 12:50 PM
I would have thought that landing probes on them and deploying thrusters (like they have on the Shuttle) would be a better option. Or Net them! Or create some kind of dense atmosphere along it's flight path so that when it enters it, it burns up/slows down ....OK OK that is very science friction.

Surely the raw materials we'll need to mine in the future are these asteroids? shouldn't we learn to capture them?

NEOWatcher
2005-Sep-27, 02:39 PM
Whoa: slow down everyone.


Don Quijote is a NEO deflection test mission based entirely on conventional spacecraft technologies.

I take it as what can we do today. Other ways of deflection sound like there is a little more to be learned, whether it be the effect on the asteroid/meteor, or new technologies to get the job done (ie thrusters). Not that the other ideas don't have merit, I just don't think we're there yet.

Ok; so far we saw the composition of one meteor. Now's the time to see an asteroid. Plus, it's a concentration on the trajectory rather than composition, so I'm sure the instrument packages will be different.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Sep-27, 03:42 PM
Quite right .. I read it but I didn't listen !! Thanks Neowatcher.
"deflection test mission".

Spacemad
2005-Sep-27, 10:11 PM
This would certainly be a quixotic mission! Nevertheless if we are ever to learn anything about deviating an asteroid on a collision course with Earth a mission of this kind becomes essential "target practise" & the only practical way to learn how to do it. Then computer simulations would become a lot more accurate & we would stand a better chance at deflecting an asteroid with the name "Earth" written on it.