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Could a nuke save us from an asteroid ?

Posted on Thursday, 15 March, 2012 | Comment icon 41 comments | News tip by: Hilander

Image credit: ESA

In the event of an impending collision, would a nuclear bomb be enough to stop a killer asteroid ?

Scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have been running computer simulations to determine if a nuke could stop an asteroid like in movies such as Armageddon. "Ultimately this 1-megaton blast will disrupt all of the rocks in the rockpile of this asteroid, and if this were an Earth-crossing asteroid, would fully mitigate the hazard represented by the initial asteroid itself," said scientists Bob Weaver. In the event of an asteroid threat however, a nuclear weapon would probably be a last resort if all other possible options had failed.

"Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a United States Department of Energy facility in New Mexico, used a supercomputer to model nukes' anti-asteroid effectiveness."

  View: Full article |  Source: CBS News

  Discuss: View comments (41)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #32 Posted by bouncer on 21 March, 2012, 10:51
Ok so now I found a link that seems to say, YES, a nuke could do it, and scroll down for the vid. (I guess shockwaves do behave in a similar fashion in space?)
Comment icon #33 Posted by DieChecker on 22 March, 2012, 1:38
I was told size does not matter...... That is a result of the people you hang out with. With all the cutbacks in the space program? We don't have space shuttles anymore so how are they going to get to the asteroid to set up the bomb? As depicted in Armageddon, it will probably be necessary to place the device below the surface of the asteroid. I hope that is sarcasm and that you don't think space shuttle could actually "fly" over and around the Moon and then land on an asteroid. Hiroshima was blown up over the town, not on the ground. The reason for that is that strong explosions above ground ... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by questionmark on 22 March, 2012, 13:49
That is a result of the people you hang out with. I hope that is sarcasm and that you don't think space shuttle could actually "fly" over and around the Moon and then land on an asteroid. Drilling a hole would certainly work very well. In the US Army, I did a lot of explosives including cratering charges. These are 40 pounds of explosive, that would make about a 1 or 2 foot deep hole, about 10 feet across if detonated on the surface. But if you place it 8 to 12 feet down, you get a hole 60 feet across and 30 feet deep. When detonated with no where to go, the effect of the explosion is way magn... [More]
Comment icon #35 Posted by DieChecker on 23 March, 2012, 3:43
Or not, because there are more things, especially if we talk about paths through gravitation, that you upset than its direction. If it is as close as that, to be affected by Earth's Gravity, then there is not too much that would work anyway. Maybe nothing at that point.
Comment icon #36 Posted by 27vet on 23 March, 2012, 6:31
Basically, most of the world's governments are in a shambles including the superpowers and wouldn't be able to put such a plan in action anyway, so we are doomed if such an event were to take place in the near future.
Comment icon #37 Posted by JayMark on 27 March, 2012, 20:35
(I guess shockwaves do behave in a similar fashion in space?) I don't think so. As far as I've read, shockwaves do happen in space but won't behave in the same way as they would do inside a medium such as a gas, solid, liquid or plasma. But depending on how you see it, it could be very well similar. Just not exactly in the same way.
Comment icon #38 Posted by Spid3rCyd3 on 29 March, 2012, 13:37
Over population? My view is that natural disasters/diseases seem to regulate things like that. Imagine if the bird-flu virus really takes off in mankind! Various flu's have killed millions! The 1918 flu pandemic for example! The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920 spreading to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. Between 50 and 100 million died, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. Even using the lower estimate of 50 million people, 3% of the world's population (which was 1.86 billion at the time[9]) died of the disease. Some 500 million, or 27%, were i... [More]
Comment icon #39 Posted by Tx-Faithful on 29 April, 2012, 15:52
calm down people Servo-tech industries have already invented the astronomic bomb which eats away the asteroid with tiny nanobytes composed of kryptonite so no fears, but we can also always day dream while Armageddon barrels towards us its very effective an you die a believer
Comment icon #40 Posted by spud the mackem on 29 April, 2012, 16:03
Ok so now I found a link that seems to say, YES, a nuke could do it, and scroll down for the vid. (I guess shockwaves do behave in a similar fashion in space?) Can you have shockwaves in a vacuum ?
Comment icon #41 Posted by spud the mackem on 29 April, 2012, 16:11
Bounce something off it like you would a "pool" ball to divert it into the pocket..Am I a genius or what, ha "or what" is the answer

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