The End of the World, From a Big Rock...
School: Santa Fe High
Area of Science: cosmology
Asteroids are a huge problem that have daunted human life since their discovery. It sparked a lot of "what ifs" that drove us to think of ways for protecting ourselves. Even one of the theories that brought the dinosaurs to extinction, could easily end us as well. The major problem is that no one knows when and where an asteroid could be hurtling towards the Earth. An even bigger problem is how do we keep it away. Our goal is to see just how many asteroids are out there and if they pose a danger to our planet. Asteroids constantly fly by our planet, but what if one of them couldn't overcome the escape velocity of the Earth? The asteroid is blasted into motion, since there is no friction in space, it will never slow down as long as there is nothing in its way. It flies close enough to Earth that it cannot escape its gravity. Then it crashes.
Figuring out the velocity of the oncoming asteroid, we can send a huge object with equal force to divert it. We will find out how fast the asteroids come and what angle at our atmosphere they are flying at. Only things that can divert its trajectory, if we blew it up, shrapnel of the asteroid will rain all over the Earth. While not causing world wide extinction, it would cause quite a lot of damage to us.
We have information on how many asteroids there are and if they could devastate us or not. We are about to have our first meeting with our mentor to discuss how we can model our project and what formulas we need to have. We are about to construct our first simulation using Java Python.
We expect to be able to simulate how asteroids pass our planet and how if they did not have enough escape velocity, would crash into us. Then we would have something divert it without causing more trouble on us.
Sponsoring Teacher: Anita Nugent
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