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
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.