Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsEngineering · 6 months ago

Why can't we develop lasers that can disintegrate asteroids, comets, etc.?

One of the reasons I hear we haven't is that blowing up an asteroid will just make thousands of tiny pieces- but not if you just disintegrate it! All that would be left is a puff of smoke.

Is it possible to develop such a thing? Or is it just a matter of money, and maybe treaties?

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  • 5 months ago

    Not that we have anything strong enough to do that, but where are you going to put them? If on Earth, each blast would do very major damage to the atmosphere and to nearby life. If in orbit around Earth, be sure to add on a few nuclear power plants just to give it the juice it would need to fire. Then you have to worry about keeping it from falling back to Earth. If on the Moon, you will still need those nuclear power plants and you will have to worry about that corrosive dust that will get into any joint or seam and quickly make the devices unsafe. Maybe the best place would be at one of the LaGrangian points where there is no dust problem and gravity attractions are well balanced enough to make it easy to keep them there. You will still need those nuclear power plants. By they way, expect it to cost trillions of dollars.

  • D g
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    i can just imagine seeing you try to aim the lazer at a obect moving oh say 40000 miles per hour lol and HOLDING the target steady in the sight ..

    plus what power level would be needed to burn through IRON thats what most rock type objects might have..

    and as of this point in history we dont have marvin the martians DISINTIGRATING GUN

  • 6 months ago

    Laser light can go on to infinity

    But none we have are really strong enough

    You have been watching too much Star Wars

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  • 6 months ago

    The power that is required is too high. Good idea to think about.

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  • 6 months ago

    It is a matter of applying enough power. The biggest one in the world at the National Ignition Facility is as big as a football field, uses the power of a city ( 2.15 megajoules for a fraction of a second), and could not do even a thousandth of the required destruction.

    Dr. Edward Teller, inventor of the H-bomb, convinced Reagan to fund Star Wars anti missile satellites. They would have used a laser powered by an atomic blast's x-rays to kill ballistic missiles. And that is for small objects just a few thousand miles away. Unrealistic idea that never was built (we believe).

    There is an airborne super chemical laser in a 747 that can shoot at missiles a few hundred miles away. Not completely proved yet that it can work very well after 22 years in development.

    Probably too much to consider shooting a million miles at a mile wide rock.

    Source(s): https://www.llnl.gov/news/nif-sets-new-laser-energ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_YAL-1 Worked for a CO2 laser optics company designing mirrors and lenses. Biggest ones were 2 feet across, could destroy missiles in test chamber.
  • Clive
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Because lasers can't do that. It is not a matter of money or treaties, it's a matter of what lasers actually ARE and the enormous amount of power you would need What you're proposing is something that could pulverise an asteroid or comet to dust, and no such thing exists with current technology. Just a laser wouldn't do it. This is a long way off, if ever. Do you even know how a laser works?

    Source(s): My physics degree.
  • 6 months ago

    Typically such systems require substantial amounts of power. For space-based systems, this might require either some form of nuclear power, or power from a Space-Based Solar Power satellite.

  • 6 months ago

    rnaybe cause people havent discovered how to do it yet

    • Clive
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Maybe one day you might actually be able to answer a question.

  • 6 months ago

    Well... even if you convert Mt. Everest into a big pile of sand... it's still going to have the *mass* of Mt. Everest. And, instead of hitting in one spot on Earth, now it's going to have the shot-gun effect - and hit a much wider area. Not to mention, if you aim your laser too soon - it's own gravity will pull itself back together - and hit Earth anyway.

    What you want to do is find such an object far in advance of an impact - 20, 30, 40 years or more... then, change it's speed. Just a few inches per second difference in speed means it'll *miss* the rendezvous with Earth.

  • Frank
    Lv 5
    6 months ago

    Fine...you build one...where you gonna put it? How are you going to power it? How are you gonna know where this object is? How are you going to properly AIM this laser? Now...lets say this object is a mile or two big... and it is basically a big round snowball. You fire a laser at it...what happens? It is like a tiny needle going into a GRAPEFRUIT. How is that tiny little hole you make...going to vaporize the object...which in reality NOT THAT BIG compared to some of the monsters out there. Are you going to keep the laser STEADY so it can penetrate? I highly doubt it. It will move around and make SURFACE SCRATCHES at BEST. If it hits it at ALL....even then the laser beam DIVERGES.

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