clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Scientists want to annihilate asteroids using nuclear weapons

New, 28 comments
asteroid (wikimedia)
asteroid (wikimedia)

There's a devastating asteroid hurtling towards Earth, and humanity only has a few years to destroy it before it destroys us. Scientists around the world are looking for solutions to just that scenario, and some of them are channeling Bruce Willis to do it.

Experts have previously pondered the idea of using nuclear weapons to thwart asteroids — either by diverting the oncoming rock or by ramming right into it before blowing up. But the idea has recently gained traction, and as The Atlantic reports, several teams are working with NASA funding to investigate the prospect of unleashing a nuke attack on Earth-bound asteroids. Plus, the federal government recently signed a deal that might see the US collaborate with Russian nuclear scientists on an asteroid defense system. Of course, the entire idea isn't without its detractors."The threat of nuclear weapons is not a hypothetical threat, it's a real threat we face right now," Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert, said. "So it sounds crazy to make it harder to fight the spread of nuclear weapons in order to guard against a tiny subset of the already pretty unlikely asteroid risk."