Asteroid-blasting Laser Beams?

Military and aerospace (mil/aero) organizations are investing research, development, test & evaluation (RDT&E) efforts into planetary defense measures and technologies to protect us from rogue near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) that have the potential to end life as we know it.

Currently, our only active defense is observation (not much of a defense), but some mil/aero prime contractors are working on the U.S. Air Force Space Fence, a multi-billion-dollar project.

Some researchers of note are working on solutions that take a proactive role in removing space-borne killers from our path with solar-powered lasers.

Scientists from U.C. Santa Barbara and California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) State University are currently hard at work on the Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids and Exploration, or DE-STAR, program. The focus of the program is a system designed to use the sun’s solar energy to power an array of phased laser beams that could destroy or steer off course (away from Earth or even into the sun) any NEAs that pose a threat to Earth.

“This system is not some far-out idea from Star Trek,” Gary B. Hughes, a researcher and professor from Cal Poly, insists. “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.”

Alternate uses for the system include as a portable power source for space travel. Instead of sometimes inefficient chemical propellants, the DE-STAR laser array might propel a 10-ton spacecraft at rates near the speed of light!

This geek applauds out-of-the-box thinking, and is excited about the prospect of cutting-edge aerospace solutions to current conundrums.

Post Author

Posted June 28th, 2013, by

Post Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Post Comments

No Comments

About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

@JLVanDo tweets

Follow JLVanDo

Comments

Add Your Comment

Archives

October 2014
  • Great Balls of Fire
  • Up in Flames
  • India Makes Aerospace History
  • Aerospace Advances in India
  • MOM to Mars
  • September 2014
  • Made in Space
  • Space Trucker
  • Testing, Testing, ISS
  • Additive Manufacturing at NASA
  • Crafting Complex Aerospace Components  
  • August 2014
  • Understanding the Satellite Situation
  • Inquiry into an Aerospace Anomaly
  • Billion-dollar Project Botched?
  • Incorrect Orbit: An Anomaly OR You’re Out of Orbit!
  • The Rapidly Reusable Dragon
  • July 2014
  • Year of the Dragon
  • Aviation Business is Booming
  • F-35 Fire Grounds Fleet
  • The Ever-elusive F-35 JSF
  • Farnborough Airshow Firsts
  • June 2014
  • Components on Command
  • On-demand part printing part 2
  • 3D at Zero-G on the International Space Station
  • Prints in space
  • On-demand part printing
  • May 2014
  • Digital design and development
  • All the aviation buzzwords
  • The lap of Learjet luxury
  • Bizjet boom
  • Competition, profits, and certifications… oh my!
  • April 2014
  • Military aircraft market erosion & the F-35
  • Aerospace Outpaces Military
  • Defense Budget Smoke and Mirrors: Aboulafia at IESF
  • Adjustments to the Army
  • Select a Space Suit
  • March 2014
  • Future defense spending
  • U.S. mil/aero investments in FY 2015
  • Defense budgets update
  • Boeing freighter with Seahawks livery
  • An aerospace giant and the Seattle Seahawks
  • February 2014
  • Pre-WWII Levels
  • U.S. defense cuts
  • Canadian candidates
  • Making the Cut Part 2
  • Martian Mission
  • January 2014
  • Boeing Supports Seahawks in Super Bowl
  • Making the Cut
  • Cold Space Environment Claims Jade Rabbit
  • Jade Rabbit
  • Aerospace advancements in China
  • December 2013
  • Increased mil/aero investment
  • Worldwide unmanned innovation
  • Eyes on the East
  • UAS Go Global
  • Looking back at 2013
  • November 2013
  • Unmanned unleashed
  • Airways in the Middle East
  • Deals in Dubai
  • Billions and billions
  • Military mood vs. commercial celebration
  • October 2013
  • Minotaur Project
  • Follow the Leader
  • Well-deserved Recognition
  • Popular Mechanics Breakthroughs
  • Atrophy for Science
  • September 2013
  • Satellite Services on the Rise
  • Space Market Takes Off
  • Forecasting Mil/Aero’s Future
  • Streamlining for Savings
  • NASA Seeks Best & Brightest
  • August 2013
  • Crash Test Helicopter
  • Opportunities in aerospace
  • How U.S. tax dollars should be spent!
  • Planetary science support
  • Aerospace: alive & well
  • July 2013
  • A View from Above
  • Magnificence and Minutia: Home, from a Distance
  • Howdy, Partner
  • Moon Money
  • Lonely Lunar Landscape
  • June 2013
  • Asteroid-blasting Laser Beams?
  • The End of the World as We Know it
  • Mil/aero Goes Green
  • Cradle-to-Grave Analysis
  • Aerospace: alive and kicking
  • May 2013
  • 4112
  • Lofty Goals Part One
  • Coming Soon to a TV Near You
  • One in a Million
  • One-way Ticket to Mars
  • April 2013
  • To Infinity and Beyond
  • Warp Factor 10, Mr. Sulu
  • Bombardier Steps Up to the Big Boys
  • Suborbital Solicitations
  • Wanted: Suborbital Flight Technology Payloads & Capabilities
  • March 2013
  • Gas Guzzlers Galore
  • Jetliner Boom
  • Aircraft Market Segments in an Age of Extremes
  • Insights from IESF: Military & Aerospace 2013
  • IESF: Military & Aerospace 2013
  • February 2013
  • Innovation Speed Bumps
  • Scrutinizing Certifications
  • Sometimes Smaller is Better
  • Pinpointing a Problem
  • Burn Baby Burn
  • January 2013
  • Does this Feel Hot to You?
  • One, Two, Three, Not It
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Murphy’s Law
  • Fire in the Sky
  • December 2012
  • Zapped
  • Up, Up, and Away
  • Impact is Imminent
  • Lunar Lessons
  • Crash Course
  • November 2012
  • Flying Spy Robots
  • U.S. Drone Under Fire Near Iran
  • Look Ma No Hands
  • Finally Home
  • NASA Space Shuttles’ Final Endeavor
  • October 2012
  • Tight Squeeze
  • Endeavour
  • Space Shuttle Endeavour – the Phoenix
  • Speaking of sequestration
  • Where’s My Money!
  • September 2012
  • Making history: 43 attempts, 6 successes
  • Entry Decent and Landing to the Letter
  • Tweets from Mars?
  • Nail-biter is an Understatement
  • 7 Minutes of Terror
  • August 2012
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Liftoff
  • An amazing, international undertaking
  • Curiouser and curioser
  • Celebrating an aerospace legend
  • One giant step for mankind
  • July 2012
  • UAVs Evolved
  • Unmanned to the moon
  • Happy Moon Landing
  • Fear the Furby
  • Threatening national security
  • Unmanned integration
  • June 2012
  • Target Practice Drones
  • A Look Back at UAVs
  • Tesla’s Take on Unmanned Vehicles
  • Influencing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs
  • May 2012
  • Houston, we have liftoff
  • Vive la competition
  • Boeing is handed a head start
  • You snooze you lose
  • Seizing advantage during delays
  • April 2012
  • Packages and Passengers
  • Boeing tenacity finds its bounty
  • Birth of a giant, and a giant rivalry
  • International mail and wood veneer
  • Boeing Nearly Goes Bust: A Lesson in Ingenuity
  • March 2012
  • The Birth of Boeing
  • Birth of a Behemoth, the Airbus A380
  • Airbus Evolution
  • How do they do it?
  • Airbus vs. Boeing: The Battle Rages on as Both Sides Claim Victory…Again.
  • February 2012
  • Simulate to Innovate
  • Bell Helicopter: On Time, Every Time in 2011
  • Efficiency is essential
  • The Singularity
  • January 2012
  • Double duty
  • Truly interoperable
  • Dauntingly disparate
  • Challenging conglomerate
  • December 2011
  • Mentor Graphics Capital gives PKC Group the Edge
  • Capitalize on Military Modernization with EDA tools
  • Power problem: What now?
  • Power problem: How’d we get here?
  • Difficult decisions in deployment
  • November 2011
  • Design, test, and verification for space
  • EDA benefits electric braking systems
  • Electric vs. hydraulic braking benefits
  • EDA helps brakes go electric, continued
  • EDA helps brakes go electric
  • October 2011
  • Mil/aero market health wrap up
  • Drone on: strong UAV spending
  • Unmanned vehicle investment takes off
  • Aerospace: A market divided
  • Mil/aero market ups and downs
  • September 2011
  • Deep Space Exploration: It’s Alive!
  • Raytheon’s Shin: IESF mil/aero insights, part 3
  • Raytheon’s Shin: IESF mil/aero insights, part 2
  • Raytheon’s Shin: IESF mil/aero insights, part 1
  • In the Know at IESF
  • August 2011
  • STEM Support Blossoming
  • STEM rally
  • Get what you don’t pay for…
  • Excited about IESF
  • Coming Attractions: Military and Aerospace IESF (Part 1)
  • July 2011
  • Free is a favorite
  • Are Engineers An Endangered Species?
  • Aerospace: An Economic Workhorse
  • Future-proofing the mil/aero market
  • Boeing and Microsoft Pledge $50 Million to New Scholarship Fund
  • June 2011
  • Astronaut Aspirations
  • Musk: the man behind SpaceX
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Engineer vs. Information Technology, Part II: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!
  • Engineer vs. Information Technology, Part I: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!
  • May 2011
  • Mil/Aero Industry Health: A Matter of National Concern
  • Washington State Moves to Bolster Aerospace Market – Aerospace Industry Investment, Part III
  • Washington Ponies up Cash for Aerospace Training — Aerospace Industry Investment, Part II
  • Washington Losing Aerospace Business and Clout? — Aerospace Industry Investment, Part I
  • Fiery Death from the Heavens?
  • April 2011
  • Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Going Green
  • As if my Job Isn’t Hard Enough!
  • Holy Outsourcing Batman!
  • Billion-dollar Contract to Russia: So Long, Space Shuttle
  • Space Race at a Snail’s Pace?
  • March 2011
  • The Private Space Race
  • Things that make you go Vroom: Virgin Galactic
  • NASA Budget Rollbacks
  • Bang, zoom, straight to the Moon!
  • Classes on the Cheap
  • February 2011
  • Got DO-254?
  • Shared Airspace: Nightmare at 20k Feet?
  • All Aboard! EDA Companies Adopt New UVM from Accellera’s VIP/TSC to verify IC Designs (I love Acronyms)
  • Look Ma, No Tail
  • Take-off and Landing on the Toilet, Really?
  • January 2011
  • 2nd Generation Intel Core, Visually Stunning
  • Radiation Mitigation
  • Take Me to the Moon….in 19 Years?
  • May I Introduce, Intel
  • December 2010
  • Is social media driving the U.S. Army’s substantial iPad acquisition?
  • iVolution: Apples and Androids Drafted Into the Army?
  • New Trend: Disposable Computing?
  • These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For…..Yet.
  • Make Way for the Spaceway!
  • November 2010
  • Spaceships Once Again Spotted in New Mexico
  • Move over Battlestar Galactica
  • Update: Made in China
  • Selling RATS to the Military?
  • Open Source Android Empowers the Military to Evolve
  • October 2010
  • Made in China, Part 4
  • Made in China, Part 3
  • Made in China, Part 2
  • Made in China
  • Where Should I Park This Thing?
  • September 2010
  • Are You Kidding Me? Make Another One?
  • Flash Gordon Eat Your Heart Out – Is the Ray-gun a Reality?
  • Doing More with Less, Multitasking Engineers.
  • Nothing Wrong with a Little Competition, Part 2
  • Nothing Wrong with a Little Competition, Part 1
  • Geeks and Engineers Funding and Forging the Private Space Industry
  • August 2010
  • Space Shuttle Coming to a Museum Near You…Maybe.
  • Need for SWaP Solutions
  • Lockheed Martin’s F-35: Stimulating the Northwest Economy
  • The Boeing 787, Dream or Nightmare?
  • July 2010
  • Stifling Space Travel?
  • Ultra-fast Power Switching Coming Soon to a Plane Near You
  • Antenna Advancement?
  • More Cores in Store
  • June 2010
  • Multicore COTS for Mil/Aero
  • No Substitute for Face to Face
  • Graphics for Grants, or Graphics for Granted?
  • Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger
  • Information at the Speed of Light
  • May 2010
  • Memorial Day
  • The Tables Have Turned
  • New Technologies Rocket from ESC to Outer Space
  • Shifts in the Industry
  • CEOs, engineers, and theoretical physicists…oh my!
  • April 2010
  • ESC 2010
  • True or false? Top Boeing Everett myths
  • World’s biggest building devoted to aviation
  • Electric aviation innovation
  • Electronics Renaissance Man