Seems Western Michigan University was going to cut down some trees. Students duly went outside and barked. Anything to avoid studying—which is racist, sexist and other kinds of evil anyway. They held signs like “Cut a Tree, Cut a Life.” One doesn’t have to wonder what would happen on campus if somebody held a similar sign denouncing non-males killing their offspring in hopes of finding better deals for themselves. You do have to feel sorry for the professors who were made to follow the protestors around with pooper scoopers, though.
This is only one of thousands of such stories. We’re already far past the point of proving the need to destroying the Western University System as it now exists. The only question that remains is how.
Some of us have been advocating dropping large rocks from space onto the most cancerous institutions. Shouldn’t take more than a dozen flattenings or so before the others get the idea. It works.
It’s easy to be glib about these rocks. Yet sooner or later it comes down to the hard labor of making actual plans. Let’s start.
We have the happy and fascinating paper Estimation of Destructive Power of Meteorites and Meteors by George Kilimi and Joel Greenstein to help us. Here is the abstract:
This paper aims to give a simple approach to explain and estimate quantitatively the effects of the NEO(s) impacts on Earth and evaluate their destructive power using physics and mathematical models and methods. Based on historical evidence of the meteorite/meteor impact on Earth (crater of impact, signs of destruction of plants, forests, or other destructive characteristics, i.e. the “fingerprints” of the meteor/meteorite) we estimate the power of the explosion that is related to the impact on ground of a meteorite or the burst in air of a meteor as well as the damages and casualties of affected population.
Anybody with training in physics or math will be able to follow along.
We’re obviously dealing with meteors, since it’s expensive to cart rocks into space (only to re-drop them). There’s tons (literally) of free ones up there ripe for plucking. There are of two major species, rock and iron. Rock is about a third less dense, pound for pound, than iron (meaning we could get away with smaller iron meteors). As rock tends to calve upon reentry, they would spray debris at locations other than where they are targeted, it’s best to use iron.
Next to mass (and assuming an average density for iron), the two most important attributes are velocity and impact angle. These drive most of the destruction calculations.
Speed is important. Our authors estimate Near Earth Objects (from which we will draw our supply) whiz about at around 11,000 to 70,000 m/s. The bigger objects are usually slower, which is to our advantage, since we have to find a way to sidle up to these brutes before directing them where we want them.
This sidiling and targeting will be the largest engineering challenge; unfortunately our authors say nothing about it. As the cliché has it, more research is needed. Luckily, we’ll soon have available a ready supply of uber-competent white male scientists and engineers who have lots of time on their hands.
These gentleman will also have to tackle the “shape” and density problems. We want objects uniformly dense so that the chance of breakup is minimal. Some kind of low-frequency radar could work here. It’s not clear how influential shape is: the authors say nothing about it. Oddly shaped objects might “tumble” and go off course. Perhaps spin could be induced, and much like with a rifle bullet, the conservation of angular momentum will be our friend.
There are all sorts of interesting details to be relished in the paper. The difference in pressure blast and Mach waves and their relationship with impact angle, reflected shock, quantifying instantaneous air bursts and inefficiencies introduced by poor impact angle, which might be a great option because of crater avoidance, and of course the fun of figuring equivalent explosive charge.
For instance, the Tunguska meteor donated the rough equivalent of 31 megatons of TNT—which flattened some 25 km of forest around the blast. Of course, those where piddling trees, not reinforced concrete buildings, and the meteor never made it to the ground. That makes the author’s estimate of a “casualty area” of about 22 km too high, I think, to use for modern university cities. Their Table 3 on “Foreseen effect of blast wave” should be studied by all fans of Reality and Classical Christian Civilization.
Some have theorized that this event may have been the biblical destruction of the ancient city of Sodom as the Tall el-Hammam site has long been a strong candidate for the ancient ‘Sin City’, though no definitive conclusion has been reached as of yet.