Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Science Article Summary - 15

Science Article Summary - 15

Russia to Plan Deflection of Asteroid From Earth

[1]E. Barry, “Russia to Plan Deflection of Asteroid From Earth,” The New York Times, Dec. 2009. [Online]. Available: [Accessed Feb. 10, 2010].

After movies like Armageddon, people get very weary when they hear about the possibility of asteroids hitting Earth, and this is very evident with Russia's newest pet project.  The head of Russia's Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, said that Russia plans to try and deflect the asteroid, code-named Apophis, or "destruction", in order to keep it from hitting the Earth in 2032.  Although the scientists say that it is about three times as big as the Tunguska meteorite that hit Siberia in the early 1900s, NASA gives it very small odds that it will actually come in contact with the Earth.  Nonetheless, Russia still feels the need to intervene, and they say there is just enough time to design and build a spacecraft that can do the deflection job.  Among the methods proposed, Russian scientists have said that electric motors that turn its trajectory, striking it with missiles, or sending up satellites that use gravitation pull to change the orbit are at the top of the list.  None of the proposed methods have even slighted at the hint of using nuclear weapons, despite the widespread success rates in some of Hollywood's best asteroid filled movies.

Even though Perminov has been called the most influential person to ever articulate such a plan, many still have doubts with his reasoning.  Since it isn't very likely to even hit the Earth, many people don't see the need for such risks.  Scientists have noted that a wrong move could manage to have a horrible effect, instead sending it colliding into the Earth rather than avoiding it.

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