What to do in the face of the imminent impact of an asteroid with the Earth? This was the question that researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California tried to answer.
For years it has been thought that the most practical method of avoiding a collision is to deflect the asteroid. However, this option is valid when the body is not yet so close to our planet.
For the same reason, the scientists put themselves in the case that the asteroid was already very close to Earth.
“If the alert time is too short to organize a successful deflection, another option is to gather a lot of energy against the asteroid to break it into numerous well-dispersed fragments,” the researchers explain.
Thus, the study published in the journal Acta Astronautica, concludes that the use of a nuclear weapon to impact and disintegrate an asteroid that is heading towards Earth would be a “very effective planetary defense strategy”.
In the research, the scientists evaluated the possible consequences of detonating a one-megaton nuclear bomb a few meters from the surface of an asteroid about 100 meters in diameter.
& mdash; LLNL (@Livermore_Lab) October 5, 2021
Thus, the professionals determined that the impact mass could be reduced to 0.1 percent of the original mass if the operation is carried out two months before the collision.
If the asteroid is larger, it would be possible to reduce the impact mass to 1 percent, if the procedure is carried out six months earlier.
Scientists have also been in charge of clarifying that this procedure would be the last one that should be applied.