Recently a meteor crashed in Russia, injuring close a thousand people. What if we could prevent such an event from happening again? That’s what a few California scientists are hoping to accomplish with their solar powered concept, the “Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids and Exploration” or DE-Star.
So what would De-Star be and do exactly? The idea is that it would function as an orbiting system that could channel solar power into a phased array of laser beams, could then be used to blast meteors and space rocks, or even perhaps as a defense against hostile alien forces.
The beam could work a few different ways: it could be used to destroy, evaporate or even push such objects into a new direction. It could also prove useful for assessing an asteroid’s composition, aiding in future tasks like mining in space.
Sounds pretty far fetched, right? According to the scientists behind it, Gary B. Hughes from California Polytechnic State University, it is actually possible with current technology.
“This system is not some far-out idea from Star Trek,” Hughes said. “All the components of this system pretty much exist today. Maybe not quite at the scale that we’d need — scaling up would be the challenge — but the basic elements are all there and ready to go. We just need to put them into a larger system to be effective, and once the system is there, it can do so many things.”
Besides blasting away asteroids and meteors, the system could also be used for aiding in planetary exploration. The idea for space exploration with this technology is that it could be used to increase the speed of interplanetary travel with a large enough version of De-Star in place. The tech behind it could supposedly power advanced ion drive system for deep space travel and so forth. Of course at this point thing start to get a bit more “Star Trek” compared to what’s technologically possible today.
Bottom-line, the technology behind De-Star could be used to protect our planet and perhaps, someday, even help us advance our presence into other planets beyond our solar system.
Want to know more about what this technology could someday bring? Check out the original article at EarthSky.org.
What do you think of this technology, is it possible and practical enough, or nothing more than a distant pipe-dream?