Russian Scientists Plan Nuclear Asteroid Cleanup, Just in Case

By Gary Cutlack on at

Russian scientists have decided that the threat of being wiped out by an asteroid strike is real enough to start taking affirmative action, with a research team suggesting we start nuking the things before they can smash into a variety of famous US landmarks.

The odd thing is... they suggest nuking the asteroids when they're heading away from us, to avoid possibly making the situation worse by causing earth to be smashed by radioactive asteroids. The team, led by academics from Tomsk State University, say we should begin cleaning up our local bits of space by targeting any asteroids on troublesome orbits once they pass our planet -- ensuring they can't come back on a slightly altered flight pattern and wipe us out in the future.

Tomk State's Tatyana Galushina explained: "With the aid of the SKIF Cyberia supercomputer we modeled an asteroid's nuclear explosion in a way so that its highly radioactive debris does not fall to Earth. For this reason, we suggest to eliminate such an asteroid not as it is approaching the Earth, but at the moment when it is moving away from us. This will be much safer and more effective."

The computer model suggests that a 200m asteroid would be pulped into dust, liquid and smaller, less world-ending 10m lumps by a one megaton nuclear blast. We just need someone crazy enough to take it up there. [R&I via The Register]

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