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08 September 2008

Armageddon, starring Bruce Willis

Russian authorities have warned that the incoming asteroid 99942 Apophis looms as the largest threat to civilization since Bruce and the Chin blew up a Texas sized asteroid with a green nuke. Apophis is scheduled to pass within a tenth of the distance between the Earth and the Moon in 2029 and possibly even collide with the Earth on its next visit in 2036. The Russians imply that an international body administered through the UN similar to WHO and other groups would be acceptable to them.

With every spacefaring nation racing to set up outposts on the Moon, Apophis in my opinion represents a huge opportunity. The asteroid passes inside cis-lunar space twice within the next thirty years. Everyone on the Moon and in orbit is going the need cheap access to what the asteroid contains. Specifically: volatiles. According to researchers at MIT, Apophis is an LL chondrite. That makes it an ordinary chondrite with a very low iron level. Apophis would be a good source of metals and volatiles for any space outpost.

Consider the size of Apophis and this is a windfall. It’s already in orbit. No need to boost from Earth’s surface. If I was finished with school, I’d be doing the cost-benefit analysis on moving Apophis to L-4 of L-5.

Although it’s an older post, this article by SpaceWorks Engineering, a local Atlanta company, outlines the composition of Apophis.