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Apocalypse Not Now: Nuclear Warheads Could Save Earth From Asteroids

© NASA/Don DavisThe asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.
The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. - Sputnik International
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Russian scientists believe that nuclear weapons are currently mankind’s best option of dealing with giant asteroids threatening Earth.

The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) 1 telescope on Maui's Mount Haleakala, Hawaii has produced the most near-Earth object discoveries of the NASA-funded NEO surveys in 2015. - Sputnik International
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A team of Russian scientists has been contracted by an EU-sponsored program called NEOShield to develop a way of using nuclear weapons to protect our planet from rogue asteroids, the Telegraph reports.

According to a press release by the Russian Central Scientific Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash) — a part of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency specializing in the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, air defense missiles, and their propulsion units — NEOShield tasked science teams from various countries with developing effective anti-asteroid countermeasures, and that "work on deflecting dangerous space objects with nuclear explosions was conducted by Russia" between 2012 and 2015, the newspaper adds.

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Despite the fact that the existing international space treaties prohibit the deployment of nuclear ordnance in space, scientists believe that if some wayward celestial body were to pose a clear and present danger to Earth, such restrictions would be waived.

According to the researchers, the most effective and safest way to deal with a potentially dangerous Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) would be to intercept them in deep space and to alter the asteroid’s course via a nuclear detonation instead of attempting to completely obliterate it.

As part of its 2016-2025 federal space program, Russia also intends to establish a national center dedicated to detecting and tracking potentially dangerous objects on a collision course with our planet, with four observation satellites constantly scanning the space for any threats.

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