Archive for February, 2013

Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us – Yeomans

February 24, 2013

Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us by Donald K. Yeomans. Here’s a popular-audience space science book that I wasn’t aware of, just published in October 2012 (copyright 2013), with a practical and direct title. 🙂 And as a result of the Chelyabinsk meteor, his book is number one in a specialized subcategory at Amazon: #1 in Books > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Astronomy & Space Science > Comets, Meteors & Asteroids

Youmans of course is an NASA expert of long-standing repute in these areas, so I’ve just ordered this for myself and in appreciation of his decades of effort to caution the world. Happily, it’s a slim 192 page book with only a U$16.37 impact to the wallet at Amazon. 12 of these pages are one of the best and most thorough indexes I’ve ever seen in terms of including subheadings within an entry.

This is the best of these recommended Earth-impact books for the public, with ten clear and succinct chapters.

Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us by Donald K. Yeomans.

Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids – Belton et al

February 24, 2013

My next suggestion for your local college library donation to help as reference material or textbooks for Chelyabinsk-inspired students is Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids by Belton et al. This 17-chapter technical book’s papers concentrate on the physics and engineering of how to prevent impacts, rather then on impact effects.

For instance, the papers I intend to read or reread first are: Chapter 2 – Earth impactors: orbital characteristics and warning times, Chesley & Spahr; Chapter 6 – About deflecting asteroids and comets, Holsapple; Chapter 9 – Mitigation technolgies and their requirements, Gritzner & Kahle;  and Chapter 13 – Optimal interception and deflection of Earth-approaching asteroids using low-thrust electric propulsion, Scheeres.

And this is where having an existing space construction infrastructure would come in, as Chris Lewicki, Chief Asteroid Miner at Planetary Resources, and David Gump, CEO at Deep Space Industries, have pointed out in numerous interviews. With multiple copies of various modules – hab, lab, propulsion, storage/shielding (water), etc – in use, and with the ability to rapidly print more modules from asteroid metals and lunar titanium, we will have more options for deflection. For example, fuel depots, using icesteroids and lunar-pole ice as storage sources, will give between one to two orders of magnitude more immediately available velocity change (fuel). But this would take a minimum of 20 to 40 years to create.

The amazon link to the 2011 paperback reissue of the 2004 Cambridge University Press hardback (436 pages, U$58 for the paperback, U$185 for the hardback):
Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids by Belton et al.

Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids – T. Gehrels

February 24, 2013

Now that the Chelyabinsk bolide has our attention briefly, here are the first four of seven posts about Earth impactor popular  science books or textbooks to suggest to your local college library. Give Chelyabinsk-inspired students some reference and study materials for their efforts to help the Earth avoid a hard rain someday.

Tom Gehrels and others edited and wrote Asteroids in 1979, followed with Asteroids II by Richard P. Binzel, Tom Gehrels and Mildred Shapely Matthews in 1989 as part of the excellent Arizona Space Series.

Noticing that earthpeople still weren’t seriously discussing the threat of earth-impactors, they came up with a catchier, more memorable title for their next related volume – Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids edited by T. Gehrels in 1995. 1300 pages, 4 pound/2kg hardback, University of Arizona Press, U$62 at Amazon, list price U$85. The best financial bargain of the textbooks in terms of technical papers per dollar.

This is the textbook/collection of papers that I’m recommending first and most highly. Summary: when the equivalent mass of a hundred million copies of this book hits this world as one object, ‘we in trouble!’ 🙂

‘Hazards’ contains 46 papers, divided by topic into 8 parts: (more…)

Chelyabinsk Bolide art by Don Davis

February 21, 2013

[Update March 2nd from Don – (On FaceBook) “For all my full dome friends: I have two planetarium sequences to license, the last shuttle launch and the most recent total eclipse. Feel free to PM me about this. I am also available for new fulldome sequences.” I asked him: “Don, you also said you could animate your ‘Chelyabinsk Bolide,’ right?” and he replied “Yes!”

Update March 10th, Nature.com – this meteor/meteorite/bolide/superbolide is now named the Chebarkul object: “dubbed Chebarkul after the small town and lake where some of the largest fragments have been found.”] Most still search for this with ‘russian meteor’ as their keywords.

Master astronomical artist and IAAA Member & Fellow Don Davis (Donald E. Davis) has used all of his considerable skills to illustrate the start of the Chelyabinsk bolide breakup. Don posted this to Facebook, and has given permission for non-commercial use of this stunning image/illustration/painting/digital painting if you credit him and link to his website at http://www.donaldedavis.com/. (This illustration isn’t posted there yet is now posted there with additional commentary by Don. Enjoy browsing through some of Don’s other art and writings, such as the K-T extinction asteroid impact from space and from sealevel)

Chelyabinsk bolide meteorite - Don Davis copyright Don Davis

Chelyabinsk Bolide image copyright Don Davis.  Don explains how he created this beautiful and terrifying image:

“My digital painting based on what info I have gathered of this event, seen from about 10 km altitude looking down on the city of Chelyabinsk. The maximum burst is just beginning, sending shock waves that will take over two minutes to reach the ground. The (more…)


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