How can you destroy an asteroid

(ORDO NEWS) — The only question is the explosion energy, which must be accurately calculated. We have already seen the explosion in the movie “Armageddon” – then the hero of Bruce Willis did without complicated calculations.

The authors of the calculation were Russian scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Federal Nuclear Center VNIIEF and the Troitsk Institute for Innovative and Fusion Research. Can a nuclear explosion destroy an asteroid flying towards Earth. It turned out – he can.

There are two ways to save the Earth from the threat of a collision with an asteroid (at least in theory): by changing the trajectory of the asteroid or by destroying it on its way to Earth. In the second case, small fragments of a cosmic body that have reached the Earth will burn up in the atmosphere, and some will generally fly away in the other direction.

If you create models of asteroids similar in density and strength characteristics to real chondrite ones (the most common type), and influence them with a laser beam so that the characteristic pressures are comparable to those that would arise at the beginning of the shock-wave stage of a real explosion, then you can calculate how strong the explosion should be. The mass of the model relates to the energy of the laser pulse in the same way as the mass of a real asteroid to the energy of a nuclear explosion. In this case, the composition and porosity of the asteroids should be taken into account.

With the difference in mass between the real asteroid and the model by 14–15 orders of magnitude, the specific energy required for the complete destruction of the asteroid is almost two times less than the specific energy required for the destruction of the model. An asteroid 200 meters in diameter (which, falling to the Earth, would bring serious destruction) could well be destroyed by an explosion with an energy of more than three megatons (this is an order of magnitude less, for example, than a bomb explosion over Hiroshima).


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