Thursday, August 09, 2007

Can We Really Accomplish An Armageddon Mission Planned for Future?

Have you seen the movie ‘Armageddon’? The movie depicts the deflection of asteroid away from earth by splitting it into two. In reality also there is an asteroid that is going to threaten our future life on earth by 2029. Here’s what NASA planned.

The movie ‘Armageddon’ was really wonderful as it depicted an adventure by men to save the future of earth. The asteroid shown in the movie was too big to handle with nuclear bombs. As it is only a science fiction film all inaccuracies will work as long as it thrills the audience. It was a nice movie after all.

The same threat is present in our real life also. The year 2029 was predicted to have the effect of asteroid impact on earth. There is an asteroid called ‘Apophis’ which was detected by NASA to be coming into the orbit of moon by April 2029. The impact would be severe. It would erase all of the life on earth. Its mass was estimated to be 1,000,000 kg. This threat led NASA to plan for a future mission to blast off the asteroid before it can hit and to deflect it away from earth.

Surely enough it must have been inspired by the movie. The science fiction writers have so much creativity that they indirectly define a part of the future but do get the credit for it.

The mission was planned to be unmanned unlike in the movie. It will carry missile interceptor vehicles and a nuclear warhead. It will have tens of tons of kg of weight. The launch dates were decided to be around 2020-2021. There is also a plan for what type of warhead to use. A nuclear or a kinetic or a solar depending upon the composition of the asteroid. For that purpose there is a plan to send an observer spacecraft to the asteroid.

So far so good. But would it be really possible to accomplish such a mission to save the planet earth or its inhabitants? There can be any possibility. We are not really so successful in studying the outside space and other planets. If an observer spacecraft crashes, all the money is just gone without use. It happened in the past. It may also happen that the asteroid may not really impact on the earth as the NASA predicts.

But there is evidence of meteorite impacts on earth in the past. The major impacts date back to tens of thousands of years with time gaps of many thousands of years. The impact may indeed happen as it has been a long time after a major asteroid or a meteoroid impact. If it is so, we have to see in the future how our defense systems and technologies develop to avoid it.

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