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A few days ago I posted, An Earth grazing asteroid is an opportunity for a high orbit space station. It discussed a method for lifting huge amounts of material into high Earth orbit and beyond. The basic idea is simple enough and the technique is probably achievable. Use the kinetic energy of an Earth-grazing asteroid to lift objects presently here on Earth by using a long line dropped through the atmosphere from the asteroid and attaching it to a line lifted to the connecting point. There could be a moment that the asteroid line’s dropped hook would be nearly stationary and at that moment it could be attached to a line lifted to the contact point from a prepared load on the surface. The line would be very strong and stretchable, because the load would go from stationary to the speed of the asteroid in less than a minute. There are more details available by clicking the link above.

Earth grazing meteor flies over Chelyabinsk, Russia

Earth grazing meteor flies over Chelyabinsk, Russia

Today an asteroid grazed the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia. Unfortunately this asteroid caused considerable damage on the ground and many human injuries, but fortunately at this moment no reported deaths. Had this asteroid been spotted a month ago, and a properly prepared rocket on the ground or a prepared interceptor already in orbit sent to intercept it, it would have been perfect for launching material into deep space. Had this asteroid been guided to graze the atmosphere a little higher it wouldn’t have caused any problems, and if at that altitude it had dropped a line to Earth it could have pulled into interplanetary space a quantity of matter limited only by the strength of the line attached between it and the payload to be lifted.

This was a perfect opportunity missed because we were not prepared for the asteroid passing so very close by us. The expense of making these preparations are tiny compared to the usual costs of launching large satellites.

Link to videos of the Chelyabinsk meteor.