12 Jun '12, 12pm

Solar-Powered Lasers Could Protect Us From An Asteroid Collision

Solar-Powered Lasers Could Protect Us From An Asteroid Collision

© NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI Scientists have discovered that there's a chance that the Apophis asteroid that crosses the Earth's orbit could hit us in 2036 or 2037. We won't know for sure how large that chance is until closer to that time, but scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland haven't wasted any time coming up with a plan to deflect the Apophis or any other asteroids that threaten to hit. Massimiliano Vasile and Christie Maddock have designed a spacecraft outfitted with solar-powered lasers that would ablate the surface of the asteroid and turn it away from the Earth. MIT's Technology Review reports : The basic idea is that the material vaporized from the asteroid's surface, pushes it like rocket exhaust, generating thrust. Until now, space scientists had always thought that a job this size required a megawatt class laser, which would need ...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/solar-powered-...

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