On Jan 10th 2005 Deep Impact, NASA's latest space probe, was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on its way to meet Tempel 1, a 500
kilometer wide asteriod. What is the reason for this probe? To simply look inside the prestine envinment below the rocks surface? Or some other
Deep Impact asteroid probe sent to meet Tempel 1 entity for sample collection.
Sample will tell us, amongst other things, what the asteroid is made from, its density.
It is well know in the space community, in order to successfully deflect, or alter the course of a heavy space object, you have to first determine its
density to decide the appropriate action to take to move the object.
Depending on density, the attempted methods of deflection could be either complete destruction of the rock with a huge nuclear explosion or by letting
of a number of smaller explosions near the surface of the rock to bounce it away. A third method would be to attach some kind of propulsion to the
rock to either pull or push it off its collision course with Earth.
Deep Impact is due to meet the rock in July 2005
Two conclusions could be derived from this basic info.
1. We are very close to a near or actual collision with a large body from space. Various governments around the world do not wish to panic or cause
un-rest with this news until they know whether they can deflect a heavy space object. Temple 1 is one of the nearer asteroids to us. Deep Impact is
been used as a test subject to prove the theory of getting to and landing on the asteroid, but it is merely the first of many probes to be
2. Money. It is estimated, that even for use as gravel, an asteroid one kilometre in diameter would have a mass of approximately 2500 billion
kilograms. At around £0.09 per kg, that’s around £240 billion! Give or take a few! That’s a good enough reason to send out a test probe to see
if its possible to meet, land on, and mine a rock of this size, moving through space at thousands of miles an hour.
I would prefer to fall into the latter school of though, for obvious reasons.
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