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Scientists Plan To Save Earth From Destructive Meteorite Strikes With Laser

First Posted: May 13, 2016 04:42 AM EDT
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Humanity can be saved from meteorite strikes in the future with a new system that a team of Californian scientists are currently testing. According to reports, researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will use high energy lasers to observe if they can successfully destroy rocks from outer space by vaporizing them.

The researchers from LLNL will be testing their laser zapping skills on meteorites that have already hit Earth and were recovered from Antarctica, to see the efficiency of the technique. The use of the laser technique will also allow the scientists to observe the resistance quotient of meteorites. Subsequently, a more effective technique can be figured out to divert or destroy bigger meteorites heading towards Earth, an event that can happen in the future.

"It's not a matter of if, but when, our challenge is to figure out how to avert disaster before it happens," said researcher Megan Bruck Syal. "Each comet and asteroid has its own unique character, which presents a challenge for predicting how an individual target would respond to a deflection attempt. We're doing everything we can to know more about how asteroid materials respond under extreme conditions."

Bruck Syal is part of the planetary defense team in the US government. The team's job includes coming up with plans to deal with meteorites or other catastrophes that could lead to apocalyptic situations or mass scale destruction of life on our planet. Representatives from Sandia and Los Alamos national labs, NASA and academicians are also part of the team.

A comet or asteroid destroying life on Earth is a common topic in science fiction, and though it is not taken seriously in everyday life, a meteorite strike has occurred in the past and there is no guarantee that it can't happen in the future. According to reports, the prevalent thinking is that a meteorite can be deflected or destroyed by firing at it at high velocity or using nuclear weapons. However, both the methods have marked disadvantages. Projectile attack may not be effective as meteorites are simply loose collection of rocks. Nuking can break up the meteorites; however the small pieces can fall down on the earth and cause smaller impacts at lots of places, also the broken pieces will be radioactive. 

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