In the Future, Lasers Will Battle Asteroids

At Seiffert Industrial, as you are all aware, we take the development of laser technology very seriously and it brings smiles to our faces when a news story hits the web detailing an exciting development. This one may save us from mass extinction.

Although bleak, many are obsessed with the end of the world and come up with numerous doomsday scenarios. Sometimes this is for entertainment purposes. Other times, it is for informative purposes, so we can come up with possible preventative measures in the event of a doomsday scenario.

laser asteroid defense systemOne popular doomsday scenario is an asteroid colliding into Earth. Yes, asteroids – those cosmic rabid snowballs! Asteroids are a concern for many scientists and world leaders, especially after the Chelyabinsk meteor back in 2013. The explosion caused by this was 20-30 times more energy than was released from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

If that asteroid were any bigger, the damage would have been tenfold – utterly disastrous. That is why it’s very important for us to develop technology that could redirect an asteroid from colliding into Earth. Some believe lasers to be the centerpiece in such a defense system.

Recently, researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) have proposed a space-based laser system. In the article, “Lasers Key to UAH Team’s Asteroid Defense System,” reports, “The UAH system could be delivered to space to meet a detected threatening object on relatively short notice using a system requiring one “mother” spacecraft relatively near the asteroid and a configuration of multiple microspacecraft more closely orbiting the asteroid.”

Pretty cool, right? The defense system incorporates various crafts – a central hub stalking the asteroid and other crafts in the vicinity. By laser linking the reflecting crafts, a large amount of focused power can be generated, waves of optical pules can then be shot at the asteroid. Using computers, scientists can detect the weakest spots of the asteroid. This can push the asteroid in a certain direction, obviously away from Earth. With enough power, scientists can choose where to sling the asteroid.

Considering that we have the technology to build the system and the algorithm, thanks to a UAH grad student, that allows us to place the crafts in the right positions around the asteroid, we are that much closer to having a fully functional laser defense system. All we need is the right amount of power and innovative minds. In the future, we may be able to rest easy knowing that no asteroid is Earth threatening!


*Image courtesy of nattapon wongwean