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Planetary threat internet defense with celestial mass detector

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Necessary for Earth's planetary defense schemes against impacts from large asteroids/comets and/or other massive celestial bodies is the early detection of those threats thus allowing humanity enough time to mount counter measures, which, depending on their mass as well as this civilization's available technology, may need years, decades, or much longer in its implementation.

Currently development of effective schemes for early detection of threats may be in progress, like cataloguing/mapping of asteroids near Earth using some instruments for far observation like telescopes.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of minor asteroids in near Earth orbit according to an authoritative publication too small to be detected thru current technology but large enough to demolish a city completely.

Catastrophic destruction of one progressive city in modern times, if not just any city, possibly could have very serious devastating effect on global economy as well as ordinary modern living.

Not to mention of course, the millions of human lives that may be lost, many of which could be among the best that humanity may produce.

Anyway whatever the present development status for detection, currently also, or spaced apart within very short period of each other in modern times, small but very serious threats had escaped notice and had struck at least twice, though curiously so far, in only one country or Russia, and luckily in areas with few significant lifeforms or else minimal damages to property.

Impact event at Tunguska , Siberia (approx. location)

Impact event at Tunguska , Siberia (approx. location)

Those junior agents of doom could have destructive power regarded in the scale of classification for nuclear bombs, that for at least one of them was estimated equivalent to 20 ton nuclear bomb (discounting radiation).

Repeat performances of these celestial mass killers spaced over a period of time on a particular area as happened in Russia may have little odds of happening, somewhat like lightning striking the same place twice; although it frequently does happen in the case of simultaneous or double strikes at the same time.

Of the total number of heavenly whacks in the past that left craters large enough to remain recognizable as craters now, around 30% or more had left double craters spaced some few kilometers/miles apart. This may be caused by, and seem to represent the percentage of, asteroids that orbit as pairs bound gravitationally to each other.

Celestial bodies that may cause craters still recognizable now were sized at 1 mile or more in diameter before impact. Presumably much greater number of craters from much smaller bodies have periodically pockmarked Earth in the past that soon eroded to unrecognizable pockmarks or to nothing.

Considered with planetary defense, instruments for observing the heavens like telescopes, whether optical or not including everything related to its operation is critical component of the whole operation.

On the other hand, telescopes have limited apertures for observation with considerably wide blind spot in space that may not immediately be addressed making the defense inherently quite weak.

For effective defense of Earth, current capabilities may need additional features like systems for early warning, or detection schemes that allow rapid response to rapidly developing threats.

A possible threat has threat parameters that have to be known to make it threatening, like direction of motion, speed, etc. If at all possible assessments of determinants/factors regarding threat parameters may be automated allowing for possible automatic rapid responses.

The justifiability of actual automated assessment on threat parameters for threats far out in space from Earth may depend on location of instruments for threat detection or at least detecting parts of those instruments.

Planetary defense systems thus may have subdivisions classifiable to two major types - those with important components that are all located on Earth, and those that have important components located outside, as in components orbitting the planet.

Rapid response thru orbiting threat indicators

With threat detection instruments or significant components, the most comprehensive and best detection capability possible could be thru mass detectors that allow in theory moving objects to be known in the whole volume of space around its sensing element or sensor, from the sensor outwards to some effective range or distance.

The sensor may be some kind of observable mass (at least for sensing celestial masses) within the instrument that can be influenced by the mass of external objects, the observed effects of which discloses presence of the object.

The observed effect may depend on the mass of all possible external objects whose influence or gravity may significantly affect the sensor of the instrument, thru what is often called in space settings for celestial objects as "Sphere of Influence" (or SOI).

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Instruments that function as mass detector have been used or devised to detect matter in its various states of different sizes, although a search of the internet now may often give results of mass detectors that detect only mass as small as molecules or atoms, most often ions that may be detected through electromagnetic means.

Instruments that function as mass detector have been used or devised to detect matter in its various states of different sizes, although a search of the internet now may often give results of mass detectors that detect only mass as small as molecules or atoms, most often ions that may be detected through electromagnetic means.

A little bit farther back in time though when hard copy publications were still the most popular references, in a certain science magazine that this writer now forgot (probably Science Digest) is a description of mass detector near a military facility that required the installation of a similar instrument somewhere in Earth's other side to offset results caused by military tank movements nearby.

Considering the visibility point common to them both, the field of expected coverage possible for the instruments may be quite far off in space.

For sensors located in space, far from artificial objects that may unexpectedly manifest, detecting masses external to a detecting mechanism can be much easier.

To deduce presence of unknown celestial objects with unknown effects on sensors situated at this kind of location, the effects of all known bodies in space that could affect the sensor significantly are taken to consideration or disregarded. In Earth's celestial vicinity far above artificial satellites traffic, there may only be very few bodies at any time that need be accounted.

Sufficiently small orbiting satellites that may temporarily deviate in its orbital path due to influence from the SOI of a new mass within its area can thus serve as sensors for a planetary threat detector to indicate sensed threat.

Considerable nonfunctional satellites/junks now orbit Earth as useless garbage that may easily be modified a litte bit and swept out to farther orbits to have further additional usefulness as sensor for planetary threats detection.

(Threats capable of inflicting significant damage may need to be detected much farther than the normal orbits of artificial satellites.)

Threat sensor indicator considerations/utilization

For simplicity a sensor (except maybe for sensors in quite far locations) need not contain elaborate paraphernalia as in designed for locating the threat, at the most just navigational devices that allow it to check its own position against some known references and communicate periodically with designated ground stations.

Actually for really, really very simple sensory function no devices need be installed on the satellite other than maybe just some perpetual beeper or some other communications thing that can be checked for identification purposes. Positional checks on the sensor relative to Earth or to other sensors and periodicity of the checks may be done thru ground stations.

In effect the orbitting sensors function as point plotter so that thru it, along with other satellites in orbit similarly modified, movement characterestics of a moving threat may automatically be determined.

Sensors stationed in very far orbits

Orbiting sensors may either be geostationary or could have periodic revolutions around Earth, depending on practicality associated with orbital radius. At distances quite far from Earth, considerable number of satellites circling the planet strung out as group may be needed for effective coverage over the wider circumference.

Assuming sensors at orbital radius similar as the moon's, maybe a little bit less or else greater, a string of them may be setup to cover say a circumference arc equal to around 1 day of orbital movement for each one using 30 satellites, a small number compared to the thousands of useless junks orbiting Earth.

Sensors at extremely far orbits (say much farther than the moon) may be limited by economics and have insufficient coverage, though may be regarded as useful checks equivalent to random monitoring of Earth's remote environment.

Internet utilization for planetary threat defense

A methodology that may greatly improve on the utility of planetary defense components (including telescopes, despite coverage limitations) could have similarity to what was used for extraterrestrial civilization detection in the SETI@Home program (suspended in March 2021).

The SETI@Home system uses the computer program "BOINC", a sophisticated tool for global internet cooperation in various scientific fields and endeavors beneficial to humanity, that lets computer owners with internet access donate the idle time of their computer to scientific projects that need extra-large computer resources for science related purposes.


Thru the internet, the massive quantities of microwave signals from space gathered by a large radio telescope are parsed or subdivided and downloaded to different members of the SETI@home program so their home computer as background task may process for any indication of possible extraterrestrial technologically capable civilization.

Some notable projects/groups besides SETI@home for which for which BOINC was used or is being used satisfactorly were those of...
1. Rosetta@home
3. Worldwide Community projects involving
...a- diseases like Cancer, Covid 19, etc ....b- human genome study

Similarly for planet defense, ground stations on Earth may parse positional indicators on orbiting sensors to participating home computers so that thru it path of moving threat may be plotted and future impact predicted.

Sensors for celestial threats to planet Earth may also be located if practical on ground facilities at Earth itself, and the massive data gathered for analysis and/or action may also in similar manner thru the internet be parsed to members of the program.

Earth stationed threat sensor monitors

Possibly some threats, quite small and relatively insignificant but still dangerous enough, now and then could pass unnoticed or be ignored thru the cordon of orbiting sensors in outer space.

As of now radar used at some installations on Earth has sufficient sensitivity for detecting incoming objects from space in the planet's vicinity like the "FGAN Tracking and Imaging Radar (TIRA)".


TIRA is principally used for monitoring artificial objects orbiting Earth like satellites including miscellaneous debris that may result from launches to space.

For detecting far objects, radar systems have similarity to that of bats that use echolocation using sound emitted by the flying mammal to detect sound waves echoed from prey/objects in front of it.

Radar systems have sensor component to detect far objects thru radio waves reflected from frontal targets emitted by component located in a central position of the sensor.

Possible other methods or systems for detecting far objects, especially in space from Earth was searched in the internet using the following key phrases...
1. mass in space detection from Earth
2. long distance mass detection

Most pertinent results returned by the searches involve radar. An inactive query at a forum in no.2 above involves laser.

Detecting, Tracking and Imaging Space Debris

"Double Whammy" under "Astronomy"
(report in 'Discover' offline magazine for Apr.1992)

Other readings/links

(clik above link to read articles/sites below)

1. Asteroid impact prediction - Wikipedia
2. SENTRY: Earth impact monitoring - NASA
3. Asteroid discovered only two hours before impact.
4. NASA system predicts impact of small asteroid (Mar/11/2022)
5. Asteroid impact - The Global Challenges Foundation
6. Notable asteroid impacts in Earth's history - The Planetary...
7. Biggest asteroid impacts in Earth's history - WorldAtlas

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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