Russians Want to Launch an ICBM at a Near-Earth Asteroid and Nuke It in 2036
If all of this sounds like doom-and-gloom, or a page out of a bad ‘90s disaster movie, know that scientists have addressed this possibility of a large asteroid striking the planet. Here is Neil DeGrasse Tyson giving a little narrative of what a hit from Apophis would look like here on Earth:
Now the Kakeyev Rocket Design Bureau’s asteroid blasting project is seeking seven million dollars and the OK from the Ministry of Defense to modify one of their ICBMs. As far as which ICBM type they want to use remains unclear, but Russia is working to rapidly upgrade its land-based ICBM arsenal so there are surely hand-me downs available.
Still, some scientists say the nuclear option is the way to go, while others are firmly against it and want to use gravitational tugs, kinetic impacts or even the solar wind to push killer asteroids off course. The fact is that these other options take time which we may not have, especially for attempting to deflect smaller asteroid impacts. Although we are now tracking the 10,000 largest “earth killer” asteroids, 100 times more exist that we do not track but can still do horrific damage to life on our planet.