Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tests for asteroid defense satellite - THE WORLD


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scientist Frank Schäfer from the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed ??Dynamics in Freiburg with the shell of a satellite: As part of the international research project

tests for asteroid defense with satellite

A year ago, a meteorite exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. In Freiburg, research focus, nor to prevent much larger rock fragments on impact with the earth.

A year ago, a meteorite exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. In Freiburg, research focus, nor to prevent much larger rock fragments on impact with the earth.

It was the 15th February 2013, when exploding over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk million a meteorite. His pressure wave can burst thousands of slices and cover roofs. Around 1,500 people had to deal with cuts from broken glass in hospitals can be treated.

anticipating the destructive celestial bodies could no one. Too small was about 10,000 tons and 20 feet in diameter large chunks to be identified through telescopes.

Significantly larger celestial bodies, researchers from the international research project “NEOShield ‘in view. And those who could come close to the earth and are significantly more dangerous than the meteorite of Chelyabinsk.

asteroids in miniature format

As they are in an emergency divert from its path, the scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed ??Dynamics in Freiburg. There asteroids are shot in miniature of tiny satellites.

There is no evidence in the basement of the Institute suggests that research is done there every day to save the Earth from space from deadly chunks. “Cities and regional killer” called scientist Frank Schäfer those asteroids that occupy him.

They have a diameter of between 100 meters and 300 meters, and can wipe out entire cities and regions in an instant. 10,000 of these so-called “Near-Earth Objects” (asteroids that may come close to Earth), astronomers have been registered worldwide.


telescopes or instruments for the observation of asteroids one searches in vain in the workplace by Schäfer. An approximately seven-meter apparatus is in the laboratory of the University of Ulm. Actually, he is a huge cannon to be shot on rocks with the tiny spheres of aluminum.

Shepherd calls them quite futuristic “spacegun”, or in scientific terms “acceleration system”. This is to simulate how satellites are shot to dangerous for the Earth Asteroids. The aim of the “NEOShield ‘researchers: to let embark In the future a space probe on an asteroid, so that he is thrown out of its orbit and flies past the earth


“This is similar to billiards,” says Shepherd. “When a ball meets the other, this change its path.” How these changes could just look Schäfer studied with so-called pendulum tests.

With 30,000 kilometers per hour on the block

At one end of the spacegun is as big as a pinhead loaded with an aluminum ball. On the other hand hangs a concrete block, about 20 centimeters wide, deep and high. He has a density similar to an asteroid. Porous but stable. AAC experts say so. Then shot with black powder. With approximately 30,000 kilometers per hour on the block.

slow motion cameras record the shot, sensors measure how much the block has moved. The scientists expect then into reality and to ask the question: If the force to throw a menacing asteroid from its path


What is studied in Freiburg, in theory, should be used to develop the reality. Alan Harris, who heads the project “NEOShield” at the German Centre for Aerospace, believes it is realistic that a probe is fired as big as a small truck on a 100 meter to 300 meter test asteroids to those from the to bowl track.

memory of asteroid impact in Bavaria

“We already have one or the other asteroids in the view that we could shoot,” says Harris. Which they are, remain secret. “There are of course caliber that is not racing towards the earth, but at a safe distance fly past her.”

What happens when an asteroid not flies past the earth, shows a glimpse of the past. For example, the impact of an asteroid in the Nordlinger Ries in Bavaria in front of about 14.6 million years ago. The crater has a diameter of up to 24 kilometers. Also, the Barringer Crater in Arizona (USA) with a diameter of 1200 meters was caused by an asteroid. He was probably just 50 feet tall. 1908 in Siberia, the explosion of an asteroid millions of trees uprooted.

2015 is the project funded by the EU to end. Then scientists Harris and his team will make a recommendation, which asteroid is to serve as a test object. Then the shooting starts. And with real satellites and not with aluminum beads.

© Axel Springer SE 2014. All rights reserved

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