Professor Bong Wie has recently been granted a $100K Phase 1 study award from the NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) program of the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist. The proposal is entitled “Optimal Dispersion of Near-Earth Objects.” An innovative hypervelocity nuclear interceptor spacecraft (HNIS) concept for mitigating the most probable impact threat of near-Earth objects (NEOs) with a short warning time, to be examined in this study, employs a two-body space vehicle consisting of a fore body (leader) and an aft body (follower). The fore body spacecraft provides proper kinetic impact crater conditions for an aft body carrying nuclear explosives to make a robust and effective explosion below the surface of an asteroid body. This study will assess the technical feasibility of employing various nuclear explosions in the presence of realistic technological constraints as well as physical modeling uncertainties.
NASA has selected 30 proposals for funding under the NIAC program. The advanced concepts selected for study under NIAC were chosen based on their potential to transform our future space missions, enable new capabilities or significantly alter current approaches to launching, building and operating space systems.
More details of the NIAC Phase 1 program can be found from: