Singularities, collisions and threatening bodies
Celestial bodies collide much more frequently than was thought in the past. The impact craters on the surface of planets and satellites, the long bright trails left by fireballs in the Earth’s atmosphere, and on a broader scale the slow merging of galaxies, reveal phenomena that continuously shape the structure of the Universe. Yet a collision, from a strictly mathematical point of view, has a deeper meaning involving peculiar entities such as zero and infinity. The whole matter has recently become of great interest because of the threat posed by the NEO population — celestial bodies potentially on collision trajectories with the Earth. The good news is that for the first time in the history of mankind, space-based mitigation strategies for avoiding a catastrophic impact on our planet can be implemented. The story begins with a complicated interplay of fascinating terms: singularity, collisions and infinity.
KeywordsCelestial Body Impact Crater Solar Radiation Pressure Close Encounter Uncertainty Region
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