Thought for the month

“You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young." "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen.” From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Author (1952-2001)

Friday, 8 March 2013

Paint your asteroid

Last month was quite worrying with a meteor striking the earth and an asteroid passing close by. Not everyday events but potentially very life changing.  One new idea from Texas A&M University to deflect earth bound asteroids involves using paint. It is all due to the Yarkovsky effect, a force, on a body in space caused by the anisotropic emission of thermal photons that carry momentum. Apparently spraying dry paint powder onto a spinning asteroid could generate unequal heating effects with the photons imparting sufficient momentum to cause the asteroid to change course. Bruce Willis is on call if Plan B is required.

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