In investigating all possible mitigation technologies, including those seemingly from the movies, scientists from the United States are looking at nuclear detonations to protect Earth from dangerous asteroids.
A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory teamed up with a US Air Force technology team to test whether nuclear detonations are enough to deflect an Earth-threatening asteroid. CBS affiliate station KTVT first reported on the plan, with team member Lansing Horan IV explaining that the collaborative effort is looking to utilize neutron radiation from nuclear detonations to do the job.
"This means that a neutron yield can potentially heat greater amounts of asteroid surface material, and therefore be more effective for deflecting asteroids than an X-ray yield," Horan said. He adds that this neutron radiation is more penetrative compared to X-rays.
A report on the concept is presented as Horan's thesis, titled "Neutron Energy Effects on Asteroid Deflection," submitted to the Air Force Institute of Technology.
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