Natalie Starkey is a cosmochemist who cares about protecting Earth for future generations and is the author of the 2018 book Catching Stardust. Inside, Dr. Starky discusses how asteroids – the millions of small rocky bodies lurking in the inner solar system – can end life on Earth one day. NASA is constantly scanning the Universe and categorizing all near-Earth objects (NEOs) as potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) if they can pose a threat.
However, if a distant cosmic rock manages to sneak through the space agency's defense, there are several desperate steps that can be taken to save life on Earth, it was revealed throughout the text.
Dr. Starky wrote last year: "If we have very limited time, then we need an approach that can work in weeks or months.
"So a more drastic method of avoiding impact with the Earth may be required that can work on any object, regardless of its composition.
"What about the use of nuclear weapons? It may sound like utter madness but, believe it or not, scientists are considering firing such a device on a space object to blow it into small pieces, maybe even reducing it to a cloud of gas and liquid droplets .
Natalie Starky warns that it rains nuclear rocks
Probably not something we would want to rain on the planet
“It may sound like a great solution, but there is a potentially big problem. "
Dr. Starky goes on to explain how launching nuclear weapons into space rock can cause nuclear rain to drift toward the Blue Planet.
She explained: "The result of shrapnel from such an explosion, however small, may be highly radioactive, so it is probably not something we would want to be down on the planet.
"This would almost certainly be the case if we were to blow up the object in the short term if it targeted us.
"If the object was one that often passed over the Earth and moved ever closer to the impact with each orbit, then it could have been blown with a preventive blow on one of its previous visits near the Earth before that for which was expected to cause total destruction, killing him as he left Earth.
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" Thus, any radioactive fallout from destruction will not affect the life of the Earth.
"It may sound like a relief that whatever happens is a strategy."
However, Dr. Starky raises a valid policy point behind the launch. it nuclear weapons in space.
She stated, "There are some additional complications.
" First, under the Outer Space Treaty, nuclear weapons cannot be used in space.
"Perhaps in an extraordinary circumstance – as a great threat to the Earth – an exception can be made to save us from the impending doom.
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NASA can shoot asteroid nuclear weapons
Natalie Starky gave a stern warning
"Second, a modern nuclear warhead is unlikely to withstand the energies associated with this course of action.
"Instead, it would be more than likely to explode close to the space object so that the energy of the nuclear explosion could be diverted to another course, otherwise known as a nuclear stand-off explosion. "
Asteroid 101955 Bennu, officially known as 1999 RQ36, is the PHO included in the sentencing risk table with the second highest cumulative rating of the technical impact hazard scale in Palermo.
Researchers have already warned the space agency that it could be detrimental if they did not take action.
According to a study by scientist Maria Eugenia Sanaturrio, the 1999 asteroid could affect the Earth.
Four asteroids that could strike the Earth
Dr. Sansaturio warned in a report on the Icarus Solar System that there is a good chance of hitting an asteroid.
She told Universe Today in 2010: "The overall probability of an asteroid 1999 RQ36 impact can be estimated to be 0.00092, an approximately one-thousandth chance, but most surprising is that over half that chance ( 0.00054) corresponds to 2182. "
However, NASA has a less destructive move for Bennu.
The Space Agency is currently on a mission with its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to find out more about the rock. [1965г9048] The spacecraft spent two years pursuing Ben before orbiting it for another two years and taking samples.
Then, in 2023, it will explode back to Earth to allow scientists from all over the world to study it.
The mission team is particularly interested in learning the role that asteroids like Bennu – dark, primitive and seemingly carbon-rich – could have played in the creation of life on Earth.
It will also help scientists refine the chances of a blow to Earth.