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Comments on Gravity Tractor Research By British Scientists
It would take some planning and advance tracking, but a gravity tractor might actually work. (Read the complete story)

"Can I ask why you wouldn't just turn the spaceship around, and push the thing off course? I think it's great to think about these things and come up with cool ideas, but this one doesn't seem too practical..."
( 9/4/2009 9:39:52 AM)
"It depends on the consistency of the asteroid. Some asteroids run on the light side - they're porous, a bunch of small masses barely fused, or a clump of gravel bound by their own meager gravity. A pushing rocket may blow right through it. The gravity tug would be a good choice for that type of situation. "
(Joe the Rat 9/4/2009 10:15:59 AM)
"Pushing is also very hard to do effectively as the asteroid is spinning. You want to push consistantly in one direction which you you can't do if you're attached to a spinning opject. The GT allows the object to spin and a constant force along the velocity vector to be applied over a long period. Also, power issues could arrise from eclipse periods on the surface etc. And it's no mean feat to land and anchor a spacecraft to an asteroid with a very low gravity field..."
(Craig B 1/7/2010 6:45:06 AM)
"Pushing celestial bodies has a long descriptive history in sf. Take a look at this description of planetary propulsion blast technology in Edmond Hamilton's 1934 classic 'Thundering Worlds'."
(Bill Christensen 1/7/2010 9:42:26 AM)
"Also, Robert Heinlein gives a long description of first stopping an asteroid from spinning and then slotting it into a specified orbit in his 1940 novella 'Misfit'."
(Bill Christensen 1/7/2010 9:46:15 AM)

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