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Russian Scientists Suggest that Asteroids are Blasted When Moving away from the Earth
March 30, 2016 13:34

Russian scientists have simulated a nuclear explosion of an asteroid menacing to the Earth, and not on its way towards the planet as it was suggested earlier but when moving away from it, the press service of the Tomsk State University reports.
"Earlier elimination of a dangerous asteroid on its approach to the Earth was proponed as a preventive measure, but it may lead to catastrophic aftermath, such as ground impact of a number of highly radioactive asteroid fragments. Scientists of the Tomsk State University with their colleagues from other scientific centers have proponed a different solution", - the press release reads.
Most of the potentially dangerous celestial bodies pass near the Earth several times before colliding with it. Therefore, the scientists assume, there is an opportunity to blast an asteroid while it is moving away from the planet on its another passing by. "It is reasonable to use the suggested method of eliminating the space threat in case of the impossibility of sidetracking the object away from the collision orbit and for elimination of an object, which keeps coming back close to the Earth", - the astrometry expert Tatyana Galushina explains.
By means of a supercomputer scientists have simulated a nuclear explosion of an asteroid of 200 m in diameter in such a way that its irradiated fragments did not reach the Earth. For modeling as a potential target they chose Asteroid Apophis, which is going to approach the Earth to the distance of 38 thousand km in 2029. Calculations showed that a nuclear device with the energy release of one megaton in trotyl equivalent is required for blasting the menacing space object. In that case some part of the asteroid will turn into gas and drops of liquid, whereas the remaining part will break up into fragments of no more than 10 m large.
"Since the missile overtakes an asteroid from behind, practically all of its fragments will move forward after its explosion. At the same time orbits of these fragments will significantly differ from the whole asteroid orbit. For the period of 10 years after the blast a small number of fragments will impact the Earth and over this time their radioactivity will significantly decrease. In several years they will not be a hazard to the Earth anymore" - Tatyana Galushina emphasized.
She explained that, according to her information, such methods of eliminating the space have never been proponed before. The works on developing preventive measures to protect the Earth against potentially dangerous celestial bodies are conducted by researchers of the Tomsk State University with their colleagues from the St. Petersburg State University, the Keldysh Research Center in Moscow and the scientific research institute Sirius in Nizhny Novgorod. Research is supported by the Mendeleyev Scientific Fund and a grant received by the St. Petersburg University from the Russian Fund of Basic Research.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian scientists space    

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