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Cryo Chamber

To kill an Asteroid

The idea of blowing up an asteroid makes for good movie scripts, but is not the way to do it in the real universe. Many of the fragments would remain on a collision course and like the blast from a shotgun; the fragments can do up to ten times as much damage as the original, intact object.


The slam-bang Don Quijote mission would help scientists figure out how to deflect or destroy any asteroid in the future that might be found to be on a collision course with Earth. The project uses the Spanish spelling of Don Quixote, the protagonist in Cervantes’ novel who has chivalrous ideas that tend toward the impractical.

[ Try The Earth Impact Effects Program ]

read more…The mission would involve two spacecraft — Sancho and Hidalgo — launched on different trajectories toward one asteroid about 550 yards (500 meters) in diameter. A rock that size would cause serious damage across a widespread area and absolute destruction at the local level.

The name of the mission “does not come from the lunatic ideas of Don Quijote, but for the famous scene where Don Quijote fights against a windmill while Sancho observes it from the distance,” explained Jose Gonzalez, head of mission analysis at DEIMOS Space, a Spanish company that has led the Quijote planning. “In this case, Don Quijote is fighting an asteroid.”

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