Oct 20, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

New Push to Nuke Killer Incoming Asteroids

There are a number of folks around the world who believe UAPs/UFOs are seen around nuclear plants and nuclear missile site – sometimes allegedly shutting them down – are extraterrestrials protecting humans from nuking themselves into oblivion. If that’s the case, what might these ETs think of a new study which demonstrates the feasibility of hitting a suddenly-appearing Near Earth Object hurdling towards the planet with a nuclear-tipped device that would blow it to bits? Do ETs follow the ‘lesser of two evils’ logic?

“Diverting hazardous small bodies on impact trajectories with the Earth can in some circumstances be impossible without risking disrupting them. Disruption is a much more difficult planetary defense scenario to assess, being linked both to the response of the body to shock loading and the much more complicated gravitational dynamics of the fragments in the solar system relative to pure deflection scenarios.”

Addressing the “What could possibly go wrong?” question right up front, the authors of “Late-time small body disruptions for planetary defense” published in Acta Astronautica admit that hundreds of small space rocks created by nuking one big one could be a worse case scenario. In fact, NASA’s most recent biennial asteroid impact simulation took on an NEO that was discovered to late to deflect and the simulation addressed disaster response instead. As Gizmodo points out, movies have addressed this problem for years – it’s time NASA, other space agencies and militaries did too. Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory agreed.

Asteroid1 570x342
Too late to nuke?

“In this work we present a new simulation suite built on N-body gravitational methods that solves fragment orbits in the full gravitational system without recourse to more approximate methods. We assess the accuracy of our simulations and the simplifying assumptions we adopt to make the system tractable, and then discuss in more detail several specific, plausible planetary defense scenarios based on real close encounters.”

Led by physicist Patrick King, then a PhD student at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the team ran multiple simulations of late-term asteroids approaching Earth on five distinct orbits being destroyed by a nuclear device. In particular, they simulated what would happen to the fragments created as a result of the explosion. The device was a one megaton bomb, the asteroid was a 328-foot-long (100-meter) space rock, and the detonation was near its surface. The scientists ran the simulation multiple times, with asteroids traveling along five distinct orbits and at varying distances away from Earth. The results were encouraging, even when the asteroid was just a month away from impact.

“Simply stated, for a 100-meter object that’s projected to hit Earth, if we employ a robust nuclear disruption technique by at least one month before impact, we can prevent 99% or more of the impacting mass from hitting the Earth.”

That’s a relief to everyone except those hit by the 1% fragments, and King admits tradeoffs must be painfully evaluated in real life. Mass extinction or thousands dead but Earth saved? To ease the pain, King says nuking an asteroid would “significantly reduce the scale of the disaster if we disrupt the object by as little as two weeks before impact.” Gizmodo states that we don't have this capability yet. Is that true? This statement was made as it was revealed China tested what appeared to be hypersonic missile that traveled around the world to attack its target -- China states it was just a spaceship test.

Hypersonic Missile over the Earth

What would overlord ETs think? Would they be impressed at humanity making a tough decision to sacrifice a few to save many? Would they be upset that the solution was nuclear? Would they try to stop it?

Would you want to be the one pushing the button?

The movies make it seem so easy.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!