Whatever it was, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has gradually calculate the possibility of a nuclear strike by an asteroid. Thus, the scientists were able to simulate the conduct of a nuclear explosion in space with a capacity of 1 megaton, which is ten times stronger than the bomb exploded over Hiroshima. In this case, the Russian side is even more excited: according to Oleg Shubin, who heads the department of development and testing of nuclear weapons and military power plants to capture large asteroids need a device much more power. For example, such as shock tube "Caissa", a concept which is still in 2011, developers have voiced the State Rocket Center Makeyev.
According to their calculations, the charge that is able to send into space booster middle class "Soyuz-2" will protect the planet from the objects with a diameter of up to 300 m, and the prospective missile "Rus-M" - is up to 700 m.
Other projects rely not so much on the power of the charge as to the effectiveness of its impact. Thus, developers of mission HAIV (Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle - В«hypersonic interceptor asteroids") suggest drawing on the aggressor double blow: first, kinetic, should leave a deep hole in it, and only then it gently falls to the second probe, carrying the atomic charge. This would allow for greater efficiency without unduly large impact of a nuclear explosion. However, many experts doubt at all that these funds are able to stop the power of really dangerous asteroid. According to the calculations of the famous American geophysicist Jay Melosh, even the most powerful rockets with charges of 20 megatons only complicate the situation: an explosion, arranged on a large asteroid, just tear it to pieces on the Earth s showered boulders, in addition also radioactive! These considerations stimulated the search for an alternative approach to the use of nuclear energy to protect against threats from space. This approach was found quickly: if you can not blow up the asteroid, it can just knock off the path, affecting the shock wave from an explosion somewhere in the side. In fact, if the time to recognize the danger and conduct such an impact in advance, for 10 years before the expected collision, it is quite capable to make an asteroid go with fatal course. Unfortunately - and this idea is not flawless. An explosion at a distance justify itself only if the celestial body is made up of solid rock. But if it is composed of a relatively lightweight and porous material? Such a situation is modeled in the vacuum chamber of the American researchers Dan Darda, showing that these rocks can act like a sponge, extinguishing the force of impact. Such an asteroid blast wave transcend -one it simply will not notice. The good news is that today we can determine the density of cosmic objects by the nature of their rotation around its axis. Bad-that are found in the space of hundreds and hundreds of slowly rotating asteroids are likely to resistance to change in a nuclear explosion.
Photos © Dieter Schneider