And if there’s anything the dinosaurs, Armageddon astronatus Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, and films like Deep Impact have taught us, it’s that big ‘ole asteroids sure do have a thing for threatening the earth every once in a blue millenium.
Anyway, with that in mind, the very clever folks at UC Santa Barbara in California have been tipping away at the experimental astrophysics, researching ways to keep those big rocks at bay.
The gang in the Experimental Cosmology Group are keen on DE-STAR (geddit?) or “Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and exploration”.
They describe it as “a proposed system to deflect asteroids, comets, and other near-Earth objects (NEO) that pose a credible risk of impact.”
They’re proposing an “orbital planetary defense system capable of heating the surface of potentially hazardous objects to the point of vaporization”. Involving lasers.
All we can hear is a fully operational battle station.
Star Wars jokes aside though, it is a pretty impressive piece of scientific work – and it’s quite interesting to think that it could be possible.
“Generally speaking, the technology is available today. The main challenge with building a full DE-STAR is the necessary scale to be effective,” Qicheng Zhang of the University of California, Santa Barbara, one of the authors of the project, told Astrowatch.net.
Oh, and just in case you’re worried, no Bothans died bringing us this information.