Armageddon 2036: Russian scientists say no
A celestial body named Apophis – asteroid 2004 MN4 – is considered the greatest space danger for Earth. In 2029 it will pass within 30 thousand kilometers of Earth, closer than some orbital satellites. The greater danger, though, is to be expected in 2036 when the next encounter with Earth by the asteroid is planned – the trajectory of the celestial body is expected to change so that the collision is quite likely, the head of Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia radio. He mentioned the data comes from research by an unnamed scientist claiming the accident is almost inevitable.
If the meteor hits our planet, a territory the size of France would turn into a devastated desert. Russian scientists say, no need to worry: they are on the way to create a spaceship that will divert the threatening asteroid from its orbit. No nuclear bombs or Bruce Willis tricks are planned, only the laws of physics will be applied to saving Earth. The exact nature of the device has not yet been unveiled.
“It is about the lives of people”, Anatoly Perminov said, “It is better to pay some hundreds of millions of dollars and create the system that will prevent the collision than wait for hundreds of thousands of people to die”. After the solution is found, the plan is to attract other space states to finance the project, the USA and China among them.
Some scientists, though, doubt the crash is inevitable. According to NASA, the probability of such an accident is 1 to 250 000, though earlier they considered the collision scenario quite possible.
Author and space expert Jeff Manber told RT that Apophis is certainly one of the asteroids astronomer around the world are closely watching, and even though it has been labeled as posing a minor threat, anything could happen to change its trajectory and direct it to Earth.
He shared his opinion that exploding an asteroid of the Apophis size, about 270 meters in diameter, in Hollywood-style is not necessary; it is enough to use a satellite to push it a little bit and change its trajectory.
“We need some sort of international action. People have wondered ‘what do we do with asteroids?’" Jeff Manber said.
“Right now, NASA is not working with China so this would be very interesting to see if, first of all, Russia takes the lead on this, does move forward with the asteroid rescue mission and finally, for the Americans and the Chinese agree to go along. It’s going to be very interesting to watch,” he added.