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Archive for the ‘defense’ category: Page 20

Feb 28, 2007

Lasers to detect and deflect asteroids

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, defense, existential risks, lifeboat, space

Graduate student (University of Alabama Huntsville) Blake Anderton wrote his master’s thesis on “Application of Mode-locked lasers to asteroid characterization and mitigation.” Undergraduate Gordon Aiken won a prize at a recent student conference for his poster and presentation “Space positioned LIDAR system for characterization and mitigation of Near Earth Objects.” And members of the group are building a laser system “that is the grandfather of the laser that will push the asteroids,” Fork said.

Anderton’s mode locked lasers could characterize asteroids up to 1 AU away (1.5 x 10 to the 11 meters). Arecibo and other radar observatories can only detect objects up to 0.1 AU away, so in theory a laser would represent a vast improvement over radar.

A one page powerpoint describes their asteroid detection and deflection approach About 12 of the 1AU detection volumes (around the sun in the asteroid belt) would be needed to cover the main areas for near earth asteroids.

40KW femtosecond lasers could deflect an asteroid the size of Apophis (320meters, would hit with 880 megaton force) given one year of illumination and an early start in the trajectory.

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Feb 23, 2007

Missile Defense Shield Expands to Europe

Posted by in categories: defense, geopolitics, military


The Ballistic Missile Early Warning Radar System (BMEWS) at Fylingdales, U.K.

The ongoing debate on the proposed missile defense shield in Europe is heating up. Poland and the Czech Republic are among the possible sites and the UK is now showing interest in supporting the missile shield. Fears over the destabilising effects of such a shield was confirmed by a Russian general who said that they would target the system.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, said America would trigger an “inevitable arms race” if it deployed interceptors in Europe to knock ballistic missiles out of the sky. A senior Russian general rumbled that Russian missiles would target any interceptors in eastern Europe. Poland’s prime minister told his people that Russia was trying to “scare” them. The Czech foreign minister (a prince with a splendid moustache) complained of Russian “blackmail”.

“The aim is to break ground on a European site in 2008, and for its interceptors to become operational in 2012. This week the Polish and Czech prime ministers said they were keen on hosting the missile-defence sites. That is a change: talks with the Poles have dragged on for years, thanks to elaborate Polish demands for things such as extra missile defences for their own country. Yet both Mr Blair and his Polish rivals face objections from three sources: from Russia, from many of their own voters and from fellow European leaders.”

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Feb 9, 2007

‘Doomsday’ vault design unveiled

Posted by in category: defense


The final design for a “doomsday” vault that will house seeds from all known varieties of food crops has been unveiled by the Norwegian government.

“The Svalbard International Seed Vault will be built into a mountainside on a remote island near the North Pole. The vault aims to safeguard the world’s agriculture from future catastrophes, such as nuclear war, asteroid strikes and climate change.”

Source: BBC

“There are, for instance, well over 100,000 distinct varieties of rice, compared to the 400 or so breeds of dog out there,” Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, told LiveScience. “These represent all the options that crops have for developing in the future, the raw material for plant evolution.”

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Feb 6, 2007

US Missile Defense System Aces Test

Posted by in category: defense

From CNN:

KEKAHA, Hawaii (CNN) — The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency shot down a dummy target missile over the southern Pacific Ocean during a test of the U.S. missile defense shield early Saturday, according to an agency spokeswoman.

First, a dummy ballistic missile was fired from a U.S. mobile launch platform in the Pacific Ocean in a simulated attack.

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