Armageddon can be prevented by crashing spaceship into meteorite, reckon boffins
Boffins reckon they can prevent Armageddon by purposely crashing a spaceship into any meteorite headed towards Earth.
It was thought the only way to stop a giant space rock on a collision course with Earth was to blast it with nuclear missiles.
Now they think it would be more effective – and safer – to deflect the meteorite by flying a spaceship into it.
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NASA’s Dart mission crashed a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid last year, proving that the perhaps outlandish-sounding ploy is in fact possible.
Ian Carnelli, of the European Space Agency, said: “A spacecraft will be a lot more precise because you can select the mass, the velocity and the direction of the impact – you can really control the deflection.”
It comes after a museum revealed is offering $25,000 (£20,000) to the person who finds the remains of a "fireball" meteor that landed on Earth.
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum — which claims to house the largest collection of meteorites from the moon — is offering the money to the lucky person who can find the fallen space rock, which crash landed near the US-Canadian border in the US state of Maine on Saturday (April 8) morning.
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A NASA reader picked up the fallen debris just before noon, while witnesses said they spotted the fireball zooming past in the sky.
They described it as bright, despite the sun being out and heard "loud sonic booms".
The prospective specimen that people bring into the museum should weigh at least 2.2lbs (1kg) and will be examined for authenticity, the museum curator, Myles Felch, told Miami News.
The curator explained that meteorite hunters may be able to deduce where the rock landed based on radar detection and CCTV and dash cam footage.
The ability to spot it also depends on its composition, with Felch explaining that a metallic meteorite is easier to spot in the field, whereas a stony one can be harder.
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