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Nuking an Approaching Asteroid Could Save Earth: Study March 5, 2014
Artist image of asteroid nearing Earth.
A reliable asteroid warning system is epected to be operational by next year.
Researchers are designing a spacecraft equipped with a nuclear bomb that could be deployed to blast apart an asteroid even less than a week before it could bring Armageddon to Earth.

The Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle, or HAIV, would first bore a crater on the threatening space debris before the nuclear bomb would be detonated inside it.

Scientists say that would increase the destructive power of the blast by a factor of 20 and leave only 0.1 percent of the destroyed object’s mass to strike Earth in tiny bits.

A presentation on the proposed asteroid buster was given last month at the 2014 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts meeting at Stanford University.

Bong Wie, of Iowa State University, told the gathering that the project would need to be coupled with the proposed Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), which could give days or months of warning should Earth be threatened.

It’s now being studied with NASA funding and could become operational in 2015.

Photo: File