Saving The Earth From Armageddon
Billiards On a Planetary Scale
In the 1998 disaster film, Armageddon, mankind is threatened by an asteroid "the size of Texas" headed straight for Earth. The U.S. government sends a group a oil drillers, led by Harry Stamper aka Bruce Willis, to the asteroid to drill into it and drop a nuclear bomb. They hypothesized that the nuclear bomb would blow the asteroid into two pieces, changing their trajectory to miss Earth.
Wouldn't it be great if there were plans that could work and that did not involve Ben Affleck?
Well NASA scientists have been researching this scenario for years. I myself have come up with an idea to stop this catastrophic scenario. My idea draws from the game of billiards. The cue ball is shot at one of the other balls, and the kinetic energy is transferred from the cue ball to the next sending it in the direction that the cue ball was going. My idea is to put this into a much larger scale; replacing the cue ball with a spacecraft and the billiards ball with a meteor the size of Texas.
This idea already has some scientific background to it; NASA's Deep Impact mission used a spacecraft weighing only 370 kilograms and rammed it into the Temple 1 comet in 2005. The spacecraft was moving 5 miles per second (super fast) and changed the comet's trajectory.
Collision of Deep Impact Spacecraft into Temple 1
The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed into a different form or transferred from one object to another. When we apply this we see that it is possible to change the trajectory of an Earth-killer. The Deep Impact spacecraft produced kinetic energy equal to that of 4.8 tons of dynamite. If we only double the weight (740 kilograms) and keep the speed the same (5 miles per second) we could easily knock the world-killer off course. Of course, money would hopefully not be of concern when it comes to saving the human race.
I believe that by applying the Law of Conservation of Energy we could do a much better job of stopping the meteor's nefarious plan than Bruce Willis and his gang of oil drillers.