Protecting Earth

  • Les Johnson
  • Gregory L. Matloff
  • C Bangs


Intense tempests of celestial origin have blown through the skies of Earth, obliterating landscapes and sending towering tsunamis through the oceans. Fallout from such events has extinguished vast numbers of living organisms; some of these have been altered by geological processes into fossils.


Black Hole Solar System Solar Collector Solar Sail Astronomical Unit 
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Further Reading

  1. To check on the recent state of Eta Carinae, consult Francis Reddy, “The Supernova Next Door,” Astronomy, 2007;35(6):33–37. The possible connection between gamma-ray bursts and black holes is discussed by Steve Nadis, “The Secret Lives of Black Holes,” Astronomy, 2007;35(11):29–33.Google Scholar
  2. Various astronomical data sets present the orbits and properties of asteroids and comets. One of these is Arthur N. Cox, ed., Allen’s Astrophysical Quantities, 4th ed. (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2000).Google Scholar
  3. To survey craters produced on Earth by past asteroid and comet impacts, see Francis Reddy, “Illustrated: Earth Impacts at a Glance,” Astronomy, 2008;36(1):60–61. The possible problem posed by Apophis’s return visit in 2029 is reviewed in Bill Cooke, “Fatal Attraction,” Astronomy, 2006; 34(5):46–51.Google Scholar
  4. Many astronomy texts discuss the interaction of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter. One is Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan, Astronomy Today, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1999).Google Scholar
  5. An excellent source to review many of the NEO-deflection concepts is T. Gehrels, ed., Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1994). The parasol concept was introduced in a paper by Gregory L. Matloff, “Applying International Space Station (ISS) and Solar-Sail Technology to the Exploration and Diversion of Small, Dark, Near Earth Objects (NEOs),” Acta Astronautica, 1999; 44:151–158. For current model calculations regarding the solar collector, see Gregory L. Matloff, “The Solar Collector and Near-Earth Object Deflection,” Acta Astronautica, Volume 62, Issues 4–5, February–March 2008, pp. 334–337.Google Scholar
  6. The gravity tractor is such a new concept that little has appeared as yet in refereed publications. A Web article discussing this concept is Russell Schweickart, Clark Chapman, Dan Durda, and Piet Hut, “Threat Mitigation; The Gravity Tractor,”
  7. NASA and other space agencies have begun planning human missions to NEOs. See, for example, Andre Bormanis, “Worlds Beyond,” The Planetary Report, 2007; 27(6):4–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MadisonUSA
  2. 2.BrooklynUSA

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