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Russia Proposes Blowing Up Earthbound Asteroid

The head of Russia's space agency proposed sending up a spacecraft to deflect Apophis, an asteroid that may have 1 in 37 chance of hitting Earth in 2029:

"People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people," Perminov said.

Scientists have long theorized about asteroid deflection strategies. Some have proposed sending a probe to circle around a dangerous asteroid to gradually change its trajectory. Others suggested sending a spacecraft to collide with the asteroid and alter its momentum, or hitting it with nuclear weapons.


NASA thinks that the chance of impact is only 1 in 250,000.

Link via Geekologie | Photo: Asteroid Gaspra, via NASA

Everyone knows the only way is to hire offshore drillers and train them as suicidal astronaut/nuke specialists so as to blow the rock apart, thereby deflecting the trajectory safely around the planet on both sides. Duh.
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Nuking it might be a really risky option. For a start, there's nothing to push against, so it's hard to change its course. If you succeed in smashing it, we just get hit with several deadly meteorites instead of one - breaking it won't change the trajectory of the fragments by much.

A better option might be for long slow thrust starting as soon as possible. Keep it in one bit and steer it into a near miss. If it already looks like it's going to miss, steer it a bit further just in case.
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I think it's worth trying to deflect this asteroid, whatever the odds are.
One day we might find an asteroid with greater odds of hitting us than this one, and on that day we might be glad that we took a bit of a practice swing beforehand, just to get our technique right.
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A whole 19 years away? By the time we finish this deflection device I'm sure we would have invented something by then that works three times better, and for half the price. So have they made drafts of the extent of the damage on the planet if it does hit?
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Hey armageddon's happening....finally!
But with a slight twist though...it's mother russia to teh rescue....

IN SOVIET RUSSIA ASTEROID BLOWS YOU UP!!
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