Detect and Destroy Corps

Any orbital space settlement has a permanent risk to be hit by a meteorite. This an important concern for any government of space settlements, and hence measures have to be taken to reduce both the probability to be hit and the effects of such events.

First measure would be to design interplanetary settlements such that they will be able to withstand hits by small meteorites. Secondly the government should establish an agency with the task of permanently monitoring all objects which might pose a threat to a space habit. We will call this agency the Detect and Destroy Corps or DDC.

Once a possible threat has been identified, the next question is what further measures should be taken. Time will be a crucial factor. If there is relatively much time, weeks or months, the best action would be moving the habit. Since space habitats are located in free space, they could be easily moved away from the line of attack. Given that the gravity of space habitats is negligible[1], the meteorite will not be attracted towards the settlement.

When time is short, moving the settlement might become problematic and much will depend on the mass of the meteorite. In extreme cases evacuation of the habitat might be the only available option. Consequently space governments should posses the means for executing such evacuation.

Fortunately larger meteorites are easier to detect and their numbers are smaller. Hence medium-sized meteorites are the greatest concern of the DDC. One fact that might help is that the distances between objects in space are large. A distance of 100 thousand kilometers is considered small.

Other possible actions the DDC should be able to take are deflection of a threat or to destroy a meteorite on collision course. Deflection of a meteorite will need significant preparations and hence time. For destroying a meteorite particle beam weapons might be deployed. These weapons use particle accelerators to produce high-energy particle beam. Since these particle travel at nearly the speed of light, they are crucial for countering an immediate collision.

One cannot rule out the possibility of terrorists or adversaries deflecting comets or asteroid, or targeting projectiles at a space habitat. Also in this case early warning system are important. Since in practical terms there is little difference between a natural threat and a human one, it is necessary to place the Detect and Destroy Corps under the command of the military. Actually the DDC will be the core of the armed forces of space settlements.

In order to maintain good foreign relations, it is important to emphasize that the DDC is primarily a defense force to protect space settlements against natural threats and those posed by rogue nations or non-state actors.

Notes

[1]  In order to produce a little bit of gravity an amount of mass several magnitudes larger than the mass of the settlement will be required. The artificial “gravity” generated by the rotation of the habitat will not affect its interactions with external objects.

 

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6 thoughts on “Detect and Destroy Corps”

  1. In Robert Reed’s Marrow books, the Great Ship (which is the size of Jupiter) has an astonishing array of lasers and chain guns on its leading edge designed solely for the purpose of shooting oncoming debris.

    1. I think it would be better to disperse those weapons over several location rather at one point. Concentration would make you vulnerable to a massive attack. If you disperse your weapons you wont lose all of them in a single attack.

  2. am hoping by the time we will be able to go to space, we will have grown over trying to kill each over where we face we pray to imaginary beings so that the only defence we need should be agianst meteors and other such debris from space.

    1. How powerful particle-beam weapons are, depends upon their design. The greater their power input, the greater their output. The kinetic energy of the beam depends on the velocity and mass of its particles (in this case you need the relativistic equations).

      If the particle-beam weapons are powerful enough, they would be able to destroy the larger meteorites. Though the question whether this would be necessary, as lagrer meteorites might be detected much sooner and hence allow other actions such as deflection of the meteorite or moving the space habitat.

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