Archive for October, 2012


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AstroNews

In the event that a giant asteroid is headed toward Earth, you’d better hope that it’s blindingly white. A pale asteroid would reflect sunlight — and over time, this bouncing of photons off its surface could create enough of a force to push the asteroid off its course.

How might one encourage such a deflection? The answer, according to an MIT graduate student: with a volley or two of space-launched paintballs.

Sung Wook Paek, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, says if timed just right, pellets full of paint powder, launched in two rounds from a spacecraft at relatively close distance, would cover the front and back of an asteroid, more than doubling its reflectivity, or albedo. The initial force from the pellets would bump an asteroid off course; over time, the sun’s photons would deflect the asteroid even more.

Full Story: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/deflecting-an-asteroid-with-paintballs-1026.html

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Google Earth for space. Solar Walk, available in the iTunes store, lets you explore earth from space, complete with local satellites orbiting our home. No need to book a $20 million ticket when you can visit from the comfort of your iPad.

 

Hubble‘s a familiar favorite…

 

Tired of our home planet? Tap on Saturn and zoom over to check out the rings.

 

Want to preview the app before forking over $4.99? Here’s a demo.