Roskosmos' Central Machine Building Research Institute reported today on the so-called NEOShield project, an offshoot of the EU seventh framework programme on development of scientific research and technologies between 2012 and 2015. According to the news NEOShield will in effect be a sort of "asteroid killer" project to develop weapons against hazardous objects in space.
In an announcement reminiscent of the film, Armageddon with Bruce Willis, the institute's press service said:
"The work was distributed among different participants from various countries, and the task on deflecting hazardous space objects by nuclear explosions was placed with Russia, represented by the Central Machine Building Research Institute."
Russian scientists say a nuclear explosion near a hazardous asteroid would be one of the most effective deterrents to a so-called "world killer" event like that depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster. The experts went on to explain that a nuclear explosion detonated in proximity to such an asteroid would be able to deflect their trajectories, thereby protecting Earth.
At a recent conference, scientists and experts explored various strategies for averting just such catastrophes. Theories were covered even including crashing spacecraft into such near Earth objects, or even projecting Ion beam weapons at them. As far-out as these theories may sound, agencies including NASA are hard at work figuring out the best case strategies. NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission will test out a 40 kW ion engine, and the recent Russian announcement reveals the same spectrum of solutions as the action-science fiction film already mentioned.
From an interested observer's position, I only hope the international rocket scientists also have the now famous "Road Runner Thrust Move" in order to effectively launch whatever Wile E. Coyote emergency strategies they come up with.
Image credit: State Farm from Flickr - feature image