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MOSCOW – Russia's space agency chief announced last Wednesday that they may dispatch a space craft to deflect a killer asteroid and reduce its chances of slamming into earth.
Russian scientist Anatoly Perminov said the astroid measuring 1150 feet in diameter code named Apophis was getting closer and may hit Earth in 2032, just 22 years from now.
He said "People's lives are at stake and we must find a way to prevent the collision rather than wait for it to hit."
When the giant asteroid was first discovered in 2004, astronomers estimated its chances of hitting earth in its first fly-by in 2029 were 1 in 37.
Further studies however have ruled out the possibility of an impact in 2029 when the asteroid is expected to come within 29,450 kilometers from earth but claimed a hit was possible in its later fly-bys.
Don Yeomans, who heads NASA's Near-Earth Object Program said "While Apophis was not an immediate threat, I am glad the Russians are studying the various deflection options that would be available in the event of a future earth threatening collision with an asteroid."
Scientists have long theorized about asteroid deflection strategies. Some have proposed sending a space craft to circle around it to gradually change its trajectory. While others recommend blasting it with nuclear weapons.
Scientists believe that if an asteroid the size of Apophis should hit earth, it would create a new desert the size of France and cast an era of darkness that could last for decades.
(Novosti news agency)





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