Cosmic Bombardment IV: Averting catastrophe in the here-and-now

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At the present time, it is at least arguable that large-scale cosmic bombardment has been a major driver of the evolution of the terrestrialbiosphere. The fundamental motivation of the present paper is the (high) likelihood that the advent and rise of the human species hasn`t coincided with the cessation of soft and hard collisions in the Asteroid Belt or in the Oort Cloud, and that we will either stop the cosmic bombardment or it will eventually stop us. In the foregoing, briefly reviewed the prospects for active planetary defenses against cosmic bombardment in the very near-term, employing only technologies which ... continued below

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21 p.

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Wood, L.; Hyde, R.; Ishikawa, M. & Ledebuhr, A. September 23, 1994.

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At the present time, it is at least arguable that large-scale cosmic bombardment has been a major driver of the evolution of the terrestrialbiosphere. The fundamental motivation of the present paper is the (high) likelihood that the advent and rise of the human species hasn`t coincided with the cessation of soft and hard collisions in the Asteroid Belt or in the Oort Cloud, and that we will either stop the cosmic bombardment or it will eventually stop us. In the foregoing, briefly reviewed the prospects for active planetary defenses against cosmic bombardment in the very near-term, employing only technologies which exist now and could be brought-to-bear in a defensive system on a one-decade time-scale. We sketch various means and mechanisms from a physicist`s viewpoint by which such defensive systems might detect threat objects, launch interdiction machinery toward them and operate such machinery in their vicinity to alternately deflect, disperse or vaporize objects in the 0.1-10 km-diameter range, the ones whose size and population constitute the greatest threats to our biosphere. We conclude that active defenses of all types are readily feasible against 0.1 kmdiameter incoming cosmic bomblets and that even complete vaporization-class defenses are feasible against 1 km-diameter class objects of all compositions. When facing Great Extinctors of up to 10 km diameter, the feasible defensive methods depend upon the object`s size and composition. Dispersion defenses are feasible against all threat-classes, as are deflection approaches for bomblets up to {approximately} 10 km diameter; vaporization-level protection is, however, available only against dirty snowballs` of the {approximately} 1--2 km diameter class. Great Extinctors of sizes significantly greater than 10 km diameter challenge contemporary human technology ever more severely; fortunately, they appear to be rare on the several Aeon time-scales over which Sol will shift its spectral class.

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21 p.

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OSTI as DE95010750

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  • International conference on problems of the earth protection from collisions with dangerous near-earth objects (SPE-94), Chelyabinsk (Russian Federation), 26-30 Sep 1994

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  • Other: DE95010750
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC--118395
  • Report No.: CONF-9409254--2
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 93763
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc792059

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  • September 23, 1994

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  • Dec. 19, 2015, 7:14 p.m.

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  • Feb. 16, 2016, 6:11 p.m.

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Wood, L.; Hyde, R.; Ishikawa, M. & Ledebuhr, A. Cosmic Bombardment IV: Averting catastrophe in the here-and-now, article, September 23, 1994; California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc792059/: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.