I ALMOST punched myself in the face with shock at reading an article on the BBC website this morning, about what some scientists are up to in Stevenage.
Although not known as a hotbed of space exploration, a Stevenage company of boffins called EADS Astrium are working on a ‘gravity tractor’ spaceship which would exert gravity on asteroids heading for earth, changing their course and deflecting them to safety.
My first reaction was work must be really slow at EADS Astrium for them to waste time on this. In fact, there’s probably a rival team of scientists with a supercomputer somewhere working out exactly how bored you’d have to be before taking this type of pie in the sky nonsense on.
However that was superceded by my second reaction – that this would be absolutely super-fricking cool. A spaceship to deflect asteroids!
I wonder if the people in charge at EADS are geeks too? They must be, because that’s the only way this would get past the drawing board without the people behind it being laughed out of the building and the space industry.
Can you imagine the meeting?
‘Ok, and that should wrap it up – we’re looking at a steady growth in the satellite business and our international space station experiment is a go. Anything else?’
‘Welllll …. Dave had an idea, but it’s a bit wacky.’
Thankfully, real life has intruded into whatever planet the EADS management are on, and they admit that no prototype has been built and it would cost so much to make, that only a government or group of governments (rolling in more money that god) could afford it.
That also ignores the real problem – that their defence system doesn’t include a group of earnest but wacky and ethnically diverse mining experts and a kick ass rawk soundtrack, which as we all know is the only sure fire way to protect the earth from asteroids.
But still, fair play to them for having a go and if they do manage to get anywhere with this, can I be next through the door to their backers with my request to build a giant statue of me on the moon, made out of solid gold?