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What To Do About an Asteroid That Has a 1 In 625 Chance of Hitting Us In 2040? 412

The Bad Astronomer writes "The asteroid 2011 AG5 is 140 meters across: football-stadium-sized. Its orbit isn't nailed down well enough to say yet, but using what's currently known, there's a 1 in 625 chance it will impact the Earth in 2040. It's behind the Sun until September 2013, and more observations taken then will probably reduce the odds of impact to something close to 0. But does it make sense to wait until then to start investigating a mission to deflect it away our planet? Astronomers are debating this right now, and what they conclude may pave the way for how we deal with an asteroid threat in the future."

Nukes Against Earth-Impacting Asteroids 491

TopSpin writes "Flight International reports that scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center have developed designs for an array of asteroid interceptors wielding 1.2-megaton B83 nuclear warheads. The hypothetical mission for these designs is based on an Apophis-sized Earth impactor 2 to 5 years out. According to NASA, 'Nuclear standoff explosions are assessed to be 10-100 times more effective [at deflection] than the non-nuclear alternatives analyzed in this study." On April 13, 2029, Apophis will pass closer to earth than geosynchronous satellites orbit.

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