Assuming you’d like the human species to survive and that you understand the threat posed by large space rocks which might hit the Earth, you might ask how we can actually avoid asteroid obliteration after a collision is projected. Here are ten ideas:
1. Luck: Be lucky. Since space is large and fairly empty, avoid getting hit by space rocks which could obliterate humanity by luck. This has been our human strategy so far, and it has worked, although it perhaps did not work for most dinosaurs. Can we rely upon luck to hold for the next billion years, the expected lifespan of our planet? This is worth studying.
2. Divert the Asteroid: Diverting an asteroid requires enough force to change its trajectory. It can be done using kinetic impactors, gravity tractors, massive solar sails or other advanced technologies. Planets and satellites can be used to change the asteroid’s trajectory by harnessing the gravitational forces. Nudging an asteroid using the gravity of other celestial bodies may change its trajectory. However, this requires a lot of planning and an accurate understanding of the asteroid’s trajectory.
3. Pulverize the Asteroid with Nukes: Nuclear detonations might be used to slow down or destroy an asteroid. However, this must be done very carefully as the debris could fall on earth causing more wide-spread destruction from debris, now radioactive, as compared to the original unexploded asteroid.
4. Pulverize the Asteroid with Lasers: Lasers might be used to either alter the incoming asteroid’s course, or to pulverize it, but cutting it repeatedly in half until all parts were of a size that would simply burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
5. Anti-Matter Bomb: Convert the matter to energy with an anti-matter chain reaction that consumes the entire mass. Caveat: We do not have this technology yet in 2023, but something like this might be developed as we are currently entering an AI revolution and many rapid advancements may occur.
6. Mine it Away: With self-replicating mining bots, asteroid mining technology in its heyday might be harnessed to devour any incoming asteroid. We might mine all of the mass of a large incoming space rock so there was nothing left to hit the Earth by the time it got to us. Same caveat as #5.
7. Rock Eating Bacteria: Develop rock eating bacteria which would consume the asteroid before it arrived, turning it into a light show with zero mass. Same caveat as #5.
8. Catch it In A Giant Net: Using carbon fiber cables to build a super strong net, catch the asteroid in a massive collection of solar sails, slowing it to a stop. Same caveat as #5.
9. Wormhole it: Create a wormhole portal that re-directs the asteroid into the sun. Same caveat as #5.
10. Move the Earth: A big enough asteroid might be impossible to divert, but with some future technology, we may one day be able to safely, rapidly and reliably move the planet out of the way of any incoming asteroid and then return it to the previous orbit when the threat is passed. Same caveat as #5.
How to Prepare for an Asteroid
Here are ten things we can do to get ready and to increase our survival odds, in the meantime:
1. Early detection and tracking: Invest in advanced telescopes and satellite systems to detect and track approaching asteroids as early as possible.
2 Establish international cooperation: Collaborate with other countries and space agencies to pool resources, knowledge, and efforts to develop a global defense system against asteroids.
3. Enhance communication systems: Improve communication infrastructure to ensure efficient dissemination of information about approaching asteroids and potential dangers.
4. Build space defense: Building missiles or other weapons that are designed specifically to divert or destroy asteroids is another option. The missiles should be powerful enough to destroy or deflect sizable asteroids.
5. Emergency evacuation and shelter plans: Develop comprehensive emergency evacuation plans and build shelters or safe zones capable of protecting people from the aftermath of an asteroid impact.
6. Public awareness campaigns: Conduct public awareness campaigns to educate people about the risks associated with asteroids and the importance of preparedness.
8. Disaster response training: Train emergency response teams and organizations to effectively handle evacuations, rescue operations, and post-impact recovery efforts.
9. Enhance international space law: Strengthen international laws and regulations regarding the detection, tracking, and mitigation of asteroids to ensure a coordinated global response.
10. Invest in Space Colonization: Investing in space colonization is critical in the event of an asteroid impact. Colonies in space provide a place for humans to retreat to in the face of such an event. Starting with a sustainable moon base and then moving on to establish a sustainable colony on Mars are logical next steps.