A group of Russian scientists claims that using nuclear weapons in the event of a looming asteroid impact is both safe and effective. The group says that following certain conditions, it would help prevent a collision without doing any harm to our planet. The team of scientists suggests hitting the asteroid while it is approaching the Earth. It is easy to accomplish, they say, as all known asteroids that could pose a danger to us wind up appearing in near-Earth space several times.
Scientists say that using nuclear weapons to avert a collision with a celestial object is, of course, the last resort. "It’s possible to change an object’s trajectory by sending a probe, which would fly alongside an asteroid for a long time", the group said. However, scientists note that in order to change an asteroid’s trajectory, they would need to perform this process many times, while a nuclear bomb would deal with the issue once and for all.
The events shown in the film Armageddon, where a group of men led by an oil driller (Bruce Willis) place a nuclear bomb inside an asteroid heading towards Earth, may have seemed impossible, but 20 years later, this scenario is no longer considered quite as unrealistic.
Research on near-Earth objects (NEOs) started in 2010, when a group of scientists from Russia, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, and Spain started the NEOShield project. The Russian scientists were focused on finding out how to avert an asteroid impact by using nuclear weapons. Moscow and Washington even signed a nuclear planetary defence agreement in 2013.