UCSB Professor Philip Lubin and CalPoly Professor Gary B. Hughes unveiled their proposal for a system that could eliminate the threat of an asteroid the size of the 2012 DA14, which is set to fly-by Earth on February 15. The 2012 DA14 is half as large as a football field and with the energy to equal a large hydrogen bomb. The proposed system could destroy asteroids 10 times larger than the one known as 2012 DA14 in about a year, with evaporation starting at a distance as far away as the Sun.
The scientists conceived DE-STAR, or Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids an exploRation, as a realistic means of mitigating potential threats posed to the Earth by asteroids and comets.
Three UCSB undergraduate students are assisting Lubin and Hughes with the DE-STAR project: Johanna Bible and Jesse Bublitz, both from the College of Creative Studies, and chemistry major Joshua Arriola.