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Space & Astronomy

Nukes could be used to deflect asteroids

By T.K. Randall
June 23, 2015 · Comment icon 14 comments

Could a well targeted nuke deflect an incoming asteroid ? Image Credit: NASA
NASA is looking in to the possibility of using nuclear weapons to defend Earth against asteroid impacts.
The world's deadliest weapons of mass destruction could one day be used to save the planet - that is at least according to a new deal between NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration, a branch of the government responsible for enhancing national security through nuclear science.

"It's a big step forward," said nuclear security senior official Kevin Greenaugh. "Whenever you have multiple agencies coming together for the common defense, that's news."

The partnership will help cement efforts to determine if nuclear weapons could prove to be an effective way to deal with an incoming asteroid - an idea reminiscent of the movie 'Armageddon'.
Scientists had previously proposed using a nuclear bomb to blow up an asteroid however the remaining fragments could together prove just as destructive as the original space rock.

A better solution therefore would be to use the nuke to deflect, rather than to destroy the object.

"It's more complex than most people realize," said Dr. Bruce Betts. "Ideally we won't have to use it, but we should talk about it and understand it before having to make the hard decisions."

Source: New York Times | Comments (14)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Yes, instead of 1 giant asteroid to worry about, we'll only have millions of little radioactive ones to worry about... Did you actually read the article? I'm guessing not otherwise you would have read this: Scientists had previously proposed using a nuclear bomb to blow up an asteroid however the remaining fragments could together prove just as destructive as the original space rock.A better solution therefore would be to use the nuke to deflect, rather than to destroy the object. (My emphasis).
Comment icon #6 Posted by Lilly 9 years ago
Yeah, incoming of a bunch of smaller objects (like a shotgun blast) wouldn't be a very good alternative.
Comment icon #7 Posted by stevemagegod 9 years ago
I like the idea but we all know rogue nations will be like your going to send a Nuke into Space? Ya **** that.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Hammerclaw 9 years ago
We've already sent nukes into space. http://youtu.be/_AJPpHnBJiY
Comment icon #9 Posted by Atuke 9 years ago
All we gotta do is call Harry Stamper and he has it covered!
Comment icon #10 Posted by promKing 9 years ago
Did you actually read the article? I'm guessing not otherwise you would have read this: (My emphasis). Still there would be a fallout. You would think that since space is a high-radiation environment, there is no reason to fear that fission products that stay in space would do anyone any harm. Unfortunately a significant fraction of fission products released anywhere in Earth's magnetosphere—not just within Earth's atmosphere—will slowly spiral in along magnetic field lines and eventually reach the ground. Very little gets away, because as long as anything is ionized it will be trapped in ... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
Isn't this idea like 40 years old? Maybe the government just now decided to work on it, since it's been discussed for decades. So...... All we need is like a space platform/station with like 100 nukes on it. With all of them pointing OUT, right? None would ever be aimed back down... never ever...
Comment icon #12 Posted by Lugal 9 years ago
Sounds like a great movie idea Collision Course: Nuke Vs Asteroid Sorry I'm not being serious its been a long day
Comment icon #13 Posted by Beefers 9 years ago
Did you actually read the article? I'm guessing not otherwise you would have read this: (My emphasis). I have actually. The comment was kinda tongue in cheek, but still, it is a risk if it goes wrong.
Comment icon #14 Posted by lilnat89 9 years ago
that could have a massive back fire on the whole earth and surroundings . and cause more distruction . they just like to keep us on our toes and worry us a little bit . what ever happens will happen


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