NASA formalised Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) to find and track Near-Earth objects

The European Union sponsored a program called NEOShield, which is developing methods of using nuclear weapons to deflect rogue asteroids that will one day cross the path of Earth and lead to a cataclysmic collision, wiping out life from the planet, much akin to the extinction of dinosaurs that have been blamed on an asteroid colliding with Earth. A team of Russian scientists has been contracted by the EU to devise a method to deflect such asteroids that cross the earth’s orbit.

In a press release by the Russian Central Scientific Research Institute of Machine Building [TsNIIMash] — a part of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency is developing a technology to use nuclear explosions to deflect asteroids that cross the Earth’s path.

Russian researchers say that the safest and the most effective way to deal with such potentially hazardous asteroid is to deflect it from Earth path by a nuclear detonation, deep in space instead of completely obliterating it.

The planet has been hit by asteroids in the past, and it will strike once again in the future. The latest incident happened in 2013 when a large asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk. The scariest part of the event was that NASA was not even aware of the asteroid that is said to be about 19 meters in diameter. The asteroid was not detected because weeks before it was too close to the sun.

Such encounters are not rare and happen regularly. However, most of the asteroids are small enough and burn up in the atmosphere. Most of the asteroids orbit in the asteroid belt beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

In fact, the Earth has sometimes been saved by Jupiter, which acts as a huge vacuum cleaner drawing the asteroids away from Earth.

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