It was around 66 million years ago that a huge asteroid hit planet Earth, resulting in the extinction of dinosaurs. Since the day of that deadly impact, no asteroid has hit the Earth, and the absence of threats from deep space played a crucial role in determining the evolution of humans. However, top space experts believe that humans cannot rule out the possibility of a future asteroid impact. In order to combat such an impact, NASA is busy developing a planetary defense weapon aimed to deflect an asteroid from its current trajectory using a giant spacecraft.
Forget Nukes and Planetary Defense Weapon
Even though NASA is very much confident about the effectiveness of the planetary defense weapon, some space experts believe that nuking is the only way to protect the planet from future space impacts. However, nuking the space rock could result in radioactive rain which will cause more harm than good. As the dilemma surrounding the protection of the planet continues, a new study report has suggested that the best way to combat an asteroid hit is by using another asteroid.
The research led by Flaviane Venditti from the University of Central Florida suggested that the best and the most effective way to protect the Earth from an asteroid is by connecting the approaching space body with another asteroid. During the research, scientists made use of computer simulations with asteroid Bennu as a test object.
"The simulations showed that the method is dynamically feasible for asteroid impact mitigation. The technique studied offers the flexibility to adjust the amount of deflection by changing the different parameters for the system, considering the warning time available," wrote the researchers in the study report.
Fragmentation of Asteroids Can Be Avoided
This advanced method will not result in the fragmentation of asteroids. As fragmentation can be controlled, experts believe that further damage due to the detonation of space bodies can be contained to a great extent.
However, like any other technique, this method also has a drawback, as it will require a huge amount of time to carry out, while high impact techniques could knock out the asteroids quickly from their collision trajectory.