Asteroids could be deflected with spray paint
Washington: A Texas A `n` M University aerospace and physics professor is planning to deflect a killer asteroid by using paint.
The science behind the plan is so absolutely rock solid that even NASA is getting involved and wants to know much more.
Dave Hyland, professor of physics and astronomy and also a faculty member in the aerospace engineering department at Texas A `n` M and a researcher with more than 30 years of awards and notable grants, said one possible way to avert an asteroid collision with Earth is by using a process called "tribocharging powder dispensing" - as in high pressured - and spreading a thin layer of paint on an approaching asteroid, such as the one named DA14 that came within 17,000 miles on Feb. 15.
What happens is that the paint changes the amount by which the asteroid reflects sunlight, Hyland theorizes, producing a change in what is called the Yarkovski effect (which was discovered by a Russian engineer in 1902).
The force arises because on a spinning asteroid, the dusk side is warmer than the dawn side and emits more thermal photons, each photon carrying a small momentum. The unequal heating of the asteroid results in a net force strong enough to cause the asteroid to shift from its current orbit, Hyland further theorizes.
The kind of paint used is not the kind found at your local hardware store, Hyland explained.
He noted that it could not be a water-based or oil-based paint because it would probably explode within seconds of it entering space.
"But a powdered form of paint could be used to dust on the asteroid and the sun would then do the rest. It cures the paint to give a smooth coating, and would change the unequal heating of the asteroid so that it would be forced off its current path and placed on either a higher or lower orbit, thus missing Earth," he said.
"I have to admit the concept does sound strange, but the odds are very high that such a plan would be successful and would be relatively inexpensive. The science behind the theory is sound. We need to test it in space," he added.
As for getting the paint on the asteroid, a practical way to do this was discovered by a former student of Hyland`s, Shen Ge, who has since started a new space company.
The "tribocharging powder dispenser" would spray a mixture of inert gas and charged dry-paint powder at the asteroid that would attract the powder to its surface through electrostatics. Then solar wind and UV radiation would cure the powder, giving a smooth, thin coat on the surface.
Getting the paint in the asteroid`s path in a timely manner will certainly be a challenge, Hyland observes.
"The tribocharged powder process is a widely used method of painting many products. It remains only to adapt the technology to space conditions," he said.
NASA has approached Hyland for developing such a project to test the theory.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- When Subramanian Swamy shocked people at a wedding!
- Mumbaikars join hands to save Pakistani teen with rare illness
- PM Modi speaks at Golden Jubilee celebrations of poet Dinkar’s works
- Mumbai: Diamond export company denies job to Muslim youth
- Vadodara: Policemen seen dancing with bar girls
- Coal scam: Naveen Jindal, Madhu Koda and others get bail
- Mirage 2000 fighter jet landing was part of capability demonstration: IAF
- DNA: IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane lands successfully on Yamuna expressway
- One year of Modi govt: Arun Jaitley addresses press conference
- DNA: Osama documents show 'Indian brother in Madinah' financed al Qaeda
- ISIS executes Syrian fighter using anti-tank rocket launcher
- Zee Media Exclusive: Kangana, Madhavan talk about their film 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns'
- Woman robbed at gunpoint inside Hyderabad ATM
- Zee Media Exclusive interview with Congress leader Kamal Nath
- Columbia student takes rape-protest mattress to graduation
- Check Jharkhand Board jac.nic.in: Class 12th Art Results 2015 declared
- Fawad Khan doesn’t want intimate scenes with Sonam Kapoor?
- We hire only non-Muslim candidates, diamond export firm tells Muslim youth
- Is MSG in 'Maggi' noodles harmful for you?
- Mumbai firm booked for denying Muslim MBA graduate job on religious grounds, probe ordered
- Jayalalithaa makes public appearance, meets Governor: As it happened
- New IPL rules could see Chennai Super Kings lose MS Dhoni
- `Piku` hits jackpot, does Rs 100 crore business worldwide
- Anurag Kashyap to bid goodbye to India, settle in 'cinema-friendly' France!
- IPL 2015, Qualifier 2, Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore: Preview
- Geelani's passport application incomplete, cannot be processed: MEA
- CBSE Class X Results 2015 to be announced today?
- Lalu Yadav invites Jitan Ram Manjhi for joint fight against BJP, JD(U) upset
- Littering, defacement to be made punishable offence
- CBSE Class 10 Results 2015 may not be announced today