Russia developing anti-asteroid rockets

2012-02-24 20:44
Moscow - Russian rockets tipped with nuclear weapons could be used to intercept asteroids on a trajectory for a catastrophic collision with Earth, officials at the Russian aerospace research institute said on Friday.

Russia's veteran Soyuz-2 booster, and its even bigger planned replacement, the Rus-M, could be used to divert or destroy an incoming asteroid up to 700m in diameter, said Vladimir Degtyar, director of the Makeyev State Rocket Centre (MSRC).

Smaller asteroids would be shattered by explosions set off on a planetoid's surface, while the flight path of larger asteroids could be shifted with nuclear detonations adjacent to them, Degtyar said.

Russian scientists have researched the technologies needed for the project and believe it to be workable. However, additional Russian government funding is needed to develop a functional anti-asteroid weapon, Degtyar was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

MSRC technicians have also developed plans for a reconnaissance rocket that would fly to a potentially threatening asteroid to determine its mass and make-up, prior to the launch of nuclear-tipped rockets.

Asteroid collisions with the Earth are extremely rare, with almost all of them breaking up in the atmosphere.

Scientists have suggested an asteroid that fell near Mexico's Yucatan peninsula some 65 million years ago triggered tremendous climate change and caused the dinosaurs' extinction.

Read more on:    space

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.