If it all goes according to plan, Russian missiles will blow up asteroids that threaten our planet in the future in order to save us from devastating impacts. Perhaps that day is coming, but it’s nowhere near.
- ICBMs could be used to blast off asteroids between 100 to 164 feet across
- Their range is of 3,400 miles and would need modifications to target space rocks
- Russian scientists plan a first test in 2036 on asteroid Apophis
- Apophis will not hit Earth, and will only be a subject of testing
Sabit Saitgarayev from the Kakeyev Rocket Design Bureau stated that they’re working on a way to tweak the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to target near-Earth objects (NEOs). That will be especially useful in the case of asteroids of sizes between 100 and 164 feet across (30 to 50 meters) who will pass “dangerously close” to our planet. It’s a potential solution that will save Earth from hazardous situations.
However, the project is still in its infancy, and one could see how all this could go wrong.
Regardless, it might be the best solution for emergency situations. Some scientists stated that a nuclear missiles would be the fix for dangerous space rocks. Others, on the other hand, claim that kinetic impacts or gravitational tugs would be a better way to nudge asteroids off course. That takes time though. And in spite of rigorous observation, we only know 90% of all space rocks out there that might approach Earth.
There might not be enough time to push one off course if it will be head toward our planet. That is why Russian scientists are working on a way that could be used in emergency situations. Sometimes, we might be getting a few days of a warning that something large and dangerous is heading our way. Blasting off to smithereens might not only be the best course of action, but the only one.
The scientists mean to tweak the system that handles ICBMs for that purpose. They are guided ballistics that are primarily designed to deliver nuclear bombs or other weapons. Their minimum range is of about 3,400 miles, so it would require a few modifications before it will be ready. However, a test is already being planned for 2036 when asteroid 99942 Apophis will pass close to our planet.
Apophis is a 160 feet across, first discovered in 2004 and will pass dangerously close to Earth in twenty years. Initially, NASA offered it a 2.6% chance of colliding with our planet, but had since ruled out that possibility. It will not hit Earth, but it might be blown up by Russians scientists either way as part of testing. However, it will take years of research and modifications, not to mention around 7 million dollars’ worth of investments and the approval of the Ministry of Defense.
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