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U.S. scientist says tie up asteroids to protect Earth from strike


MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - If an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, the best way to avoid a global catastrophe could be to attach a long tether with a weight at the end to deflect its orbit, a U.S. scientist has suggested.

David French, a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, said that by attaching ballast and a tether to asteroids "you change the object's center of mass, effectively changing the object's orbit and allowing it to pass by the Earth, rather than impacting it."

NASA has identified over 1,000 of potentially dangerous objects nearing the Earth, and the number is growing.

"While none of these objects is currently projected to hit Earth in the near future, slight changes in the orbits of these bodies, which could be caused by the gravitational pull of other objects, push from the solar wind, or some other effect could cause an intersection," French said.

French said that while his solution sounds far-fetched, it compares favorably with other methods, which include painting the asteroid to change the effect sunlight has on its orbit or using nuclear weapons.

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