The Use of Nuclear Explosives To Disrupt or Divert Asteroids

The Use of Nuclear Explosives To Disrupt or Divert Asteroids

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Google Tech Talks
March 23, 2007

ABSTRACT


Nuclear explosives are a mature technology with well-characterized effects. Proposed utilizations include a near asteroid burst to ablate surface material and nudge the body to a safer orbit, or a direct sub-surface burst to fragment the body. For this latter method, previous estimates suggest that for times as short as 1000 days, over 99.999% of the material is diverted, and no longer impacts the Earth, a huge mitigation factor. To better understand these possibilities, we have used a multidimensional radiation/hydrodynamics code to simulate sub-surface and above surface bursts on an inhomogeneous, 1 km diameter body with an average density of 2 g/cc....