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    Apocalypse Not Now: Nuclear Warheads Could Save Earth From Asteroids

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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.
    © NASA . University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy / Rob Ratkowski
    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.

    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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    Tags:
    intercept, asteroid, nuclear weapons, research, collision, TsNIIMASH, Roscosmos, Russia
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