SCIENCE

Russian Scientists Plan To Reinvent ICBMs To Destroy Asteroids

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Feb, 14, 2016, 04:10 PM
Tags : Asteroid, Comet
ICBM
(Photo : Getty Images/Frank Whitney)

Russian scientists are planning to reinvent their ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) so that they can be used to destroy asteroids in the future. According to news agency TASS, their current concern is the asteroid 99942 Apophis.

Their tweaked ICBMs could be aimed at any near-earth objects measuring up to 164 feet in size. The scientists at the Makayev Rocket Design Bureau said that Apophis might pass dangerously close to Earth in 2036.

The Makayev Rocket Design scientists could test out ICBMs on Apophis.

"Most rockets work on boiling fuel," said Sabit Saitgarayev, the leading researcher at the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau. "Their fueling begins 10 days before the launch and, therefore, they are unfit for destroying meteorites similar to the Chelyabinsk meteorite in diameter, which are detected several hours before coming close to the Earth. For this purpose, intercontinental ballistic missiles can be used, which requires their upgrade."

NASA disagrees about the possibility of an impact, and although asteroids and comets strikes big enough to threaten people are rare, the scientists suggest that over time, the chances increase. They referred to the meteor that fell over Chelyabinsk, Russia on Feb. 13, 2015 that injured up to 1,500 people.

"An event like Chelyabinsk happens about once every 50 years, and we don't have a system designed to discover and track these things," Mark Boslough, a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories, said at the conference. He is one of the founders of Asteroid Day, an event dedicated to spreading awareness about asteroids that might collide with Earth.

"Bringing space technology to bear to deflect asteroids will require widespread public support," said Tom Jones, a former space shuttle astronaut. "We only need modest resources compared to the cost of absorbing impact. Asteroid Day is to educate the public so we can work together to avoid an impact."

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