asteroid in a collision course
Representational image of asteroids approaching the earth Pixabay

NASA, the United States space agency is currently developing a planetary defence weapon to protect the earth from devastating events like asteroid hits which may happen in the future. The basic idea behind this plan is to hit approaching space bodies using a large spacecraft so that their original collision will get deviated. However, experts believe that this action plan will not work with giant asteroids, and the only option left for humans will be to nuke them.

Some space experts claim that nuking an asteroid will create radioactive rain that could create devastating effects on humans and other species living on the planet.

"How about using a nuclear weapon? It may sound like total madness but, believe it or not, scientists are looking at the possibility of firing such a device at a space object to blow it into tiny pieces, maybe even reducing it to a cloud of gas and liquid droplets. The resultant shrapnel from such an explosion, however small, would be highly radioactive, so it's probably not something we would want raining down on the planet," writes Natalie Starkey, a space scientist in her book 'Catching Stardust', Express.co.uk reports.

In order to avoid this devastating outcome, Natalie Starkey urges experts to conduct a pre-emptive strike so that the earth can be saved from a nuclear rain, post the asteroid destruction. The concept of a pre-emptive strike is pretty simple; humans should blow up asteroids on one of its prior close-Earth visits.

"If the object was one that passed Earth frequently, moving ever closer to impact with each orbit, then it could be blown up in a pre-emptive strike on one of its prior close-Earth visits before the one that was predicted to cause total annihilation, nuking it as it was heading away from Earth. In this way, any radioactive fallout from the destruction wouldn't affect life on Earth," added Starkey.

A few days back, SpaceX founder Elon Musk called NASA's planetary defence mission 'Armageddon', and it made many space experts believe that something sinister from deep space is soon going to hit the earth. The comments from Musk came just a few days after NASA tapped the help of SpaceX to deflect asteroids that might collide with the earth.