Re: Deep Impact

Michael Lorrey (
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 12:15:06 -0500

Anton Sherwood wrote:

> > Michael Lorrey <> writes:
> > > ... since its alread in near earth orbit, simply put a
> > > small mass driver or plasma thruster and some solar panels on it. Use a
> > > portion of its own mass as reaction mass, with solar power for driver
> > > energy.
> Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > This will take a while, but would be very nice for a Toutatis-type
> > asteroid in an orbit close to the Earth's. The problem is the quick
> > ones (like new comets) that might sweep through the Earth-moon system
> > once in a while, we have less time to do something about them after
> > discovery than the Toutatis NEOs and they have a much larger velocity
> > vector. More heroic measures may be needed, since we need a much
> > larger isp.
> Here's a wacky idea:
> Suppose we've already got a couple of dozen asteroids captured, orbiting
> Earth somewhere outside geosynch. If the motors that put them there
> haven't been dismantled, could one of these rocks be shifted into the
> path of a killer comet, to deflect it and/or break it up?

Comets have random jettings of gas, which causes their courses to be rather
erratic. A large lumbering asteroid being driven by a small mass driver would
not have the capability. However, if we captured some comets, and kept the
comets sheilded in earth orbit, then we could use the comets mass (the ices
being much more volatile than rock) for much more rapid maneuvering.

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?