NASA wants to lasso asteroid, tow it home

Discussion in 'Science' started by chainbolt, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    100,517
    NASA wants to lasso asteroid, tow it home

    and this:

    Sounds intriguing.
     
  2. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Messages:
    128,681
    Location:
    Canadia
    Great, let them save the world :thumbup:

    Bit in debt though aren't they?
     
  3. MoorKhan

    MoorKhan Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    1,181
    Probably why they are only asking for 100million to start the project off, rather than ~2.5billion. Also probably has something to do with why they are proposing it as a joint venture with roscosmos.

    Much like SLS, in the current political/economic climate, it'll be heavily delayed if it ever gets off the ground.
     
  4. oculi

    oculi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Messages:
    9,195
    with our current technology i don't see how this is even remotely feasible*

    would they take it out of the asteroid belt that is inside our solar system? one would assume that is where it would have to come from. hope they work out how to stop it moving before they work out how to start it moving...

    *i'm an engineer not a rocket scientist
     
  5. Carcin0Genic

    Carcin0Genic Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,575
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast
    How hard could it be? Space shuttles have towballs, right?


    But seriously, this is cool.
     
  6. Veefy

    Veefy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,842
    Location:
    Darwin
    Average speed of asteroid according to google search 25km/second = 25,000 m/s
    Mass of asteroid they want to tow (lets assume C class asteroid - most common type and might have water): say 500 tonnes at density of 1.38 t/m3 (362 m3 in volume)

    Momentum = mv = 12,500,000 kg m/s
    Kinetic energy = 1/2 mv2 = 156,250,000 kJ

    Maybe we can find a really slow moving one...?
     
  7. MoorKhan

    MoorKhan Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    1,181
    It would be a small near earth asteroid, so not from the main asteroid belt between mars and jupiter, that would probably by quite hard at present :)

    It doesn't really require any great leaps in current technology, a fairly modest improvement in the PPU for the thrusters, re-purposing of some existing systems for tracking and discovery etc.

    If your genuinely interested take a look http://www.kiss.caltech.edu/study/asteroid/asteroid_final_report.pdf for some details that aren't in most of the news reports.
     
  8. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Messages:
    128,681
    Location:
    Canadia
    I'd go so far as to say it will never happen, or at least in any reasonable forseeable future period.
     
  9. RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2001
    Messages:
    11,730
    Location:
    Perth
    Maybe they can post it on the kickstarter? :lol:
     
  10. silentlightning

    silentlightning Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    765
    Location:
    Melbourne
    so crazy it might actually work!
     
  11. Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    12,771
    Location:
    taipei.tw
    I can imagine the ultimate aim is not to deflect asteroids but to capture those worth mining.
     
  12. Phido

    Phido Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Messages:
    4,394
    Location:
    Dark City
    Maybe a really small slow moving one.

    Really anything of interest/trackable is going to be 1000t or much larger, so multiply by a thousand.
     
  13. digizone

    digizone Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Voyger1 is chasing me
    sure beats trying to smack something into it as they have done before.
     
  14. Mathuisella

    Mathuisella Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Messages:
    4,496
    Location:
    in your gearbox...grindin
    well, i don't think that the 'big wigs' in washington have thought this through with much input from scientists and engineers.

    the thought i'm having is how the damn are they going to " catch up" to an asteroid in the first place to even try and " lassoo " it....



    Chemical rockets are pretty much useless one were talking those sorts of speeds.

    Nuclear explosion propulsion can do it, but would take time to build up speed, however there's this little thing called the no nuclear in space treaty....
     
  15. oculi

    oculi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Messages:
    9,195
    having a look now, I wonder if they released the report a day late?

    it makes more sense to me to at least do initial mineral processing on the asteroid itself rather than dragging the whole thing to earth, why move stuff you don't need to?
     
  16. CAPT-Irrelevant

    CAPT-Irrelevant Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,529
    Location:
    Sydney
    This is why we need an ethically-good Death Star that was petitioned.
     
  17. bonox

    bonox Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2001
    Messages:
    3,337
    Location:
    Sydney

    there are a few low applied energy ways. Split bits off it and use conservation of momentum to move the bit you want in the direction you want.

    You might be able to use the asteroid itself for fuel.

    Or if you have lots of time, use gravity of surrounding planets to capture it for you - all you have to do then is some small steering and some speed change to modify the orbit.

    Towing it doesn't mean they plan to bring it to a stop - ie your energy calculations are way over the top.

    maybe....
     
  18. MoorKhan

    MoorKhan Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    1,181
    Read the report I linked a few posts up, the 'big wigs' proposal is largely based on it. It was written by scientists and engineers from NASA/JPL/Planetary Society/Various Universities etc...

    Your overestimating the relative speed of most NEA's (or greatly underestimating how fast we can go on proven chemical and electric propulsion).

    Nuclear explosion propulsion is an impractical pipe dream. There's a treaty preventing nuclear weapons in space, nothing stopping other nuclear devices though.

    If you look at the rationale, mineral processing is only one of their target goals and certainly isn't the primary reason for the mission.
     
  19. rockofclay

    rockofclay Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2002
    Messages:
    1,429
    Location:
    Melbourne, 3056
    Yep, considering that lots of satelites/exploration vehicles use nuclear isotopes to generate power, no problem with that.

    Although there would be an almighty shitstorm if a country did try to launch a nuclear propelled vehicle. I can't see it happening any time soon. Even if the engine is only started in orbit, getting the fuel out of the atmosphere is a dangerous business.

    I guess you could mine the fuel from asteroids to avoid that though.
     
  20. bonox

    bonox Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2001
    Messages:
    3,337
    Location:
    Sydney
    if they're happy with you launching kilos of the stuff very recently (last three mars rovers for example) why is there going to be a shitstorm over an alternative propulsion device? All of them were put through the atmosphere, regardless of how they are being used.
     

Share This Page