According to NASA [1], by February 2015, there were 12,202 known Near Earth Objects (NEOs – asteroids and comets). This figure represents just a small fraction of more than 1,000,000 NEOs calculated to exist. These NEOs represent a major danger to our planet, as they are capable of destroying large cities, and in some cases even an entire continent, or in worst case can wipe out most life on Earth, including humanity.

Although agencies such as NASA and ESA are mapping the skies, politics and technological impediments prevent them from developing an adequate deflection or disruption program in the foreseeable future.

Even NASA chief Charles Bolden had to tell the senate, that if an asteroid is detected with impact within 3 weeks, the best he can suggest is: Bend over and Pray (Video, 2 min).

 

So currently the Earth is without protection from one of the greatest threats to humanity…

Phase1-3

We need to take action!

In 2014, Professor of Aerospace Engineering of Iowa State University and Director of Asteroid Deflection Research Center (ADRC), Dr. Bong Wie (and his team of researchers) [3] developed the HAIV concept.

The HAIV concept is a kinetic and explosive impactor which can be delivered by a space rocket to intercept an impending asteroid collision. It is meant to be used only as an emergency solution, when the warning time span is shorter than one year and no other mitigation methods are therefore viable. EADP funds, promotes and implements a global safety net of HAIVs for asteroid and comet defence of Earth and all its inhabitants.

The ever-increasing interconnectivity of the world has made crowdfunding a meaningful source for financing non-profit projects and unite people in a cause that is important for them and which they believe in. In 2013 $5 billion were globally crowdfunded from which about 30% went to social causes [4], and more than $75 million have been seen gained for a single project over a year [5].

By crowdfunding the construction of HAIVs based on current state-of-the-art research and proven spacecraft technology, the EADP will implement an efficient asteroid and comet defence as soon as possible, thus minimizing the risk for Earth to be under threat from suddenly detected dangers without a chance for interception.

Scientific and philanthropic build-up (Feb 2011 to Dec 2014).

• Research, development and refinement of the HAIV concept, as well as investigation of alternatives.

Current Pre-phase (Dec 2014 to May 2015 – total cost $500K):

• Initially privately sponsored organization, primarily based on non-profit organization Task Force Humanity.

• Crowdfunding pilot campaign on Indiegogo in May for $100K-500K, but aiming for more.

The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign will provide the following:

• Technical Design Study (TDS), $200K-$500K: Detailing the HAIV construction timeline and costs.

• Attention drawn to the asteroid and comet defence issue, especially regarding short warning time scenarios, hopefully provoking other non-profit organizations, government agencies and insurance companies to act, alone or in cooperation with EADP.

• A community capable of doing lobbyism for nation state and international alliance financed asteroid defence.

• Any excess funds will go to start HAIV construction Phase 1, accelerating the implementation of an active defence.

The Technical Design Study will be done by an experienced aerospace engineering partner, probably Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), an English company with a more than 25 year successful history of quickly building small efficient satellites at a fraction of the cost of other providers.

As such the first HAIV will not be a billion dollars marvel of state-of-the-art technology, but rather a work-horse spacecraft based on proven satellite components and certified by the relevant agencies; as good and reliable as can be had for relatively small money, but also infinitely better than nothing and safe to store and launch.

The Technical Design Study provides us with important insights in precisely how the HAIVs must be constructed to provide the best balance between defence efficiency and affordable cost.

1st Phase (18-24 month timeline – total cost $25M):

• Crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for $1-10 million as a goal, but with an aim of up to $25M.
• Remaining funds up to $25M are found with sponsors and philanthropists after Kickstarter.

A small 100 kg HAIV able to carry a 10-30 kt NED that can pulverize up to 50m-diameter asteroids (95% estimated asteroid population) and disrupt even bigger asteroids. Untested, but ready on standby for delivery to government for mounting of NED and launch by third party such as SpaceX:

• Detailed design study for small HAIV: $2M.
• Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
• Acquisition, purchase or construction of specific parts such as guidance equipment, steering thrusters, main computer, etc.: $7M.
• Critical Design Review (CDR) to ensure that the design implementation has met the requirements. Certifications and approvals gained.
• Successful tests of subsystems, such as the separation of leader and follower craft, test of fuel system and thrusters at ground level, etc. $15M.

2nd Phase (12 month timeline – total cost $50M):

• Raise $50 million through sponsorship and crowdfunding

• Develop and build second 100kg HAIV for 50m-diameter asteroid defence
• Test second HAIV without NED, with a so-called ‘free ride’ from NASA
• Improve first HAIV (still on standby for emergency) based on the experiences

3rd Phase (12-18 month timeline – total cost $100M):

• Raise $100 mil. dollars through crowdfunding and sponsorship

• Develop and build a pair of medium-size, ready-to-launch, HAIV system capable of singularly protecting against • Test a single medium-size HAIV (with NED, if international law system can be made to allow it)
• Improve
At this point the EADP will have funded and spent some $175M, but also provided the basis for a system that will sooner or later save millions of lives and could potentially save humanity from extinction.

The work done will at all times be documented and made publicly available for free, allowing all states, non-profit organizations and corporations to start developing and producing HAIVs should they want it – still only states will truly be able to use them however, since they are still the only ones controlling the necessary NEDs.

The safety of Earth is EADP’s highest priority, and depending on the funds we can gain the first HAIV that is constructed will maybe not be tested in space (although its components and functions will be thoroughly tested on the ground) to ensure humanity has at least one HAIV ready as soon as possible, if an impact emergency suddenly threatens – then we rather accept there is a small chance the HAIV doesn’t work as intended (which is indeed a very small chance; everything SSTL have built and launched to data has worked fine), than having our only HAIV on a test when catastrophe suddenly threatens Earth.

The HAIVs developed by EADP could also be used in a slightly modified version with the NED and Leader craft exchanged for a single solid core, for kinetic impactor missions, in the case of long warning time threat interception where the asteroid or comet have amble time to be nudged off its course towards Earth. The kinetic impact HAIV version will however normally not be enough when warning times are less than a few years; here a classic HAIV mission with NED will still be necessary.

 

[1] NASA – Near Earth Object Program

[2] HARRIS – Political Science

[3] Introduction to Prof. Bong Wie

[4] Thorpe, D. (2014) Crowdfunding For Good Now A Growing Global Movement. Forbes online-magazine.

[5] Star Citizen funding results