New hope for deflecting catastrophic asteroid strikes on earth

Scientists have now come up with ways to deflect catastrophic asteroids strikes on Earth and prevent human race from getting wiped out.

A huge asteroid’s close approach to Earth on Wednesday reinforces the fact that we live in a cosmic shooting gallery, and we can’t just sit around waiting to get hit again, experts say.

“We have the capability — physically, technically — to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts,” CBS News quoted former astronaut Rusty Schweickart, chairman of the B612 Foundation, a group dedicated to predicting and preventing catastrophic asteroid strikes, as saying.

“We are now able to very slightly and subtly reshape the solar system in order to enhance human survival.”

The researchers have pointed out several techniques that would aid in deflecting killer asteroids away from earth like the gravity tractor, blowing the asteroid with a nuclear weapon (but it would likely be a weapon of last resort), ‘mirror bee’ concept or passing the intelligent life test.

Under the gravity tractor method, if the researchers spot a potentially dangerous space rock in plenty of time, the best option may be to send a robotic probe out to rendezvous and ride along with it.

The spacecraft’s modest gravity would exert a tug on the asteroid as the two cruise through space together. Over months or years, this “gravity tractor” method would pull the asteroid into a different, more benign orbit.

In ‘passing the intelligent life test’, the biggest key to deflecting dangerous asteroids, researchers say, is detecting them with plenty of lead time to take appropriate action.

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NASA scientists have said that that they would like to have a least a decade of notice.

“If there is a community of intelligent life out in the universe … those intelligent beings will have already conquered this challenge,” Schweickart said.

“Our entrance exam to that community of intelligent life is to pass this test,” he added.

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