Russian scientists plan to upgrade their nuclear missiles so they can shoot down meteorites threatening to smash into Earth
- Russian scientists wants to upgrade nuclear missiles to shoot meteors
- They want to use intercontinental ballistic missiles to protect Earth
- But project to update them would cost millions and they need permission
- They plan to test missiles on asteroid 99942 Apophis which they think will pass ‘dangerously close’ in 2036 – although NASA has ruled this out
Russian scientists want to upgrade their nuclear missiles in order to prevent meteorites threatening to hit earth by smashing them while they are still in space.
While it may sound similar to the plot of sci-fi disaster films Armageddon and Deep Impact, Russian scientists are planning to tweak their intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs, to target meteorites.
Russian news agency TASS reports the missiles would have the power to destroy meteorites measuring from 20m and up to 50m in size.
Senior rocket researcher Sabit Saitgaraye, from the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau, said they plan to test their missiles on the asteroid 99942 Apophis, which he believes will pass ‘dangerously close’ to Earth in 2036.
However, NASA has ‘effectively ruled out the possibility’ of an impact.
Discovered in 2004, the asteroid, which is the size of three-and-a-half football fields, gathered the immediate attention of space scientists and the media when initial calculations of its orbit indicated a 2.7% possibility of an Earth impact, but the possibility was later ruled out.
Mr Saitgarayev said: ‘Most rockets work on boiling fuel. Their fueling begins 10 days before the launch and, therefore, they are unfit for destroying meteorites
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