This technique involves many small spacecraft -- each carrying a laser -- swarming around a near-Earth asteroid. The spacecraft could precisely focus their powerful lasers pumped by sunlight onto a tiny spot on the asteroid, vaporizing the rock and metal, and creating a jet plume of super-heated gases and debris. The asteroid would become the fuel for its own rocket -- and slowly, the asteroid would move into a new trajectory.
Thanks to supporters like you, The Planetary Society was able to step in to make a huge difference in this crucial area of space science.
We need advanced and creative thinking to deflect Earth-threatening asteroids and comets. The "Laser Bees" system is one promising way.
You can help advance our work on this project!
The Planetary Society stepped in to fund a series of laboratory experiments to answer questions such as: Will the plume of superheated gasses ejected from an asteroid dissipate, or will it block sunlight to the mirrors? Would the debris settle on the satellite mirrors? Can the asteroid's rotation be dealt with effectively? Will the gas plumes be enough to deflect the asteroid?. Vasile's group worked with Ian Watson and the laser lab of the University of Glasgow's Mechanical Engineering Department to devise some ingenious small-scale experiments. With the support of our members, we funded equipment, supplies, and a graduate student, Alison Gibbings, dedicated to working on the experiments.
Only through these types of studies, as well as additional theoretical research, can we devise a rapid, effective, and safe plan to protect Earth from dangerous asteroids.
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