It’s been a while since the cold war between Russia and the United States. After it ended, both countries remained with weapons they wouldn’t, at least hopefully, be using against the other one any time soon. So why let them go to waste? Since Russians tend to be entrepreneurial and inventive by nature, Russian authorities to use ICBMs against asteroid threats.
Cold war remnants
Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missiles have troubled United States authorities for decades, and this time it isn’t any different. Even though we would most certainly not be the target of the Russian missiles, there are chances that they’ll set something in motion that will have devastating consequences.
According to a report from a Russian news agency, a team of researchers working for the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau is trying to convert Russia’s old ICBMs into weapons that can be used against potential threatening near-Earth objects (NEOs).
Since most rockets work on boiling fuel, which takes 10 days to prepare, the Russian authorities are convinces that having ICBMs on stand-by in case of an asteroid threat is a good idea. Most meteorites are detected only a few hours before impact, which would indeed be the ideal window of opportunity for using the missiles.
This decision came after a meteor hit a Russian city in February 2015, exploding 18 miles high, and injuring 1,500 people in the city of Chelyabinsk. The phenomenon was recorded and became an international sensation, despite huge amounts of damage and injuries.
As one of their first tests, the Russian scientists intend to target 99942 Apophis, an asteroid thought to be passing dangerously close to Earth in 2036. Despite very slim chances of it actually hitting on its current trajectory, American scientists are worried about a potential disastrous effect destroying it might have.
Basically, what the scientists are worried about is a potential “Asteroids” situation, where the rocket will only cause the huge asteroid that was going to pass close to Earth to split into multiple smaller asteroids which will have a much higher chance of crashing into our beloved planet.
That would take huge expenses to counteract, and the scientists aren’t sure if they could even do it. Especially since all their current calculations would be obsolete, American scientists are really hoping that the Russians won’t go through with their plan.
However, since the Russian government would have to spend huge amounts of money and resources to build, as well as permission from various government authorities, they are skeptical about the potential success of the program.
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