Video: Visualizing the Los Alamos Asteroid Killer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


How do you mitigate an meteor? Our Video Sunday feature continues with this feature describing how LANL scientists used a Cray supercomputer to model effects of nuclear energy source on an Earth-threatening asteriod.

The newest supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Cielo, is currently working on classified nuclear weapons physics problems. However, it is sometimes used to do fascinating unclassified science when a computer model is so large that it can’t be run on a smaller platform. One of the unclassified models that ran recently on Cielo — a 1.35 petaflop/s machine built by Cray — was a model by Robert Weaver of Theoretical Design Applications Physics that looked at how 1 megaton nuclear energy source might effect the granular asteriod Itokawa as a way to prevent a potential asteriod impact with Earth.

The video was originally shown at SC11 in Seattle.


Just for fun, you might remember this scene from the Sci-Fi movie Armageddon. Yeah, they’re actually working on that. Now, what could be cooler than HPC?