NASA Working With National Nuclear Security Administration On Plan To Use Nukes On Doomsday Asteroid
If NASA has its way, the human race won’t be going the way of the dinosaurs any time soon.
The space agency is teaming up with the National Nuclear Security Administration to work on a planetary defense plan to deflect a potential doomsday asteroid so it doesn’t strike Earth, according to The New York Times.
Last week’s announcement came ahead of the first official “Asteroid Day” on June 30, a day scientists hope will raise awareness of the threat posed by near-Earth objects and encourage governments to develop a better plan to detect and track them.
June 30 is the anniversary of the 1908 impact of an asteroid in Siberia that wiped out some 800 square miles of forest. The surprise impact of the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor, which caused a 500-kiloton airburst over Russia, shows potentially threatening space rocks are still out there.
“There are swarms of them orbiting between Mars and Jupiter,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, said at a 2013 panel discussion of asteroids. “And some of them have orbits that come in a little too close, and cross the orbit of Earth around the Sun.”
Dealing with a threatening near-Earth object isn’t as simple as aiming a nuclear weapon at it.
In 2013, researchers at the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University came up with a plan to use a two-section spacecraft to first smash a hole in the asteroid, then dump a nuclear weapon into the crater to blow it up.