Thought for the month

“There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.” Probably W.L. Sheldon, US lecturer on ethics (1858 – 1907) rather than Ernest Hemingway.

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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