If the risk of a near-miss becomes too high, it remains to be seen whether we will rely on the know-how of Bruce Willis’ bottom drillers or rather consider a scientific approach to this asteroid.
In 2007, more than 100 teams from 25 countries presented their project to the Planetary Society and the winner could be chosen by NASA and ESA who will jointly develop their project. Among these is the construction of a huge magnet that would attract the asteroid and move it far enough out of its path to avoid any risk of collision. One can also strike Apophis with relatively massive space probes in order to gradually deviate from its trajectory.
In both cases, if we do it early enough (before 2025), a displacement of less than 1 ° would prevent a catastrophe.
Launching rockets equipped with missiles with nuclear warheads or loaded with atomic bombs to try to break the asteroid is excluded due to the risk of accidents and the fact that Apophis is all the same an iron object, very dense and resistant.
As for the “Armagedon” drilling or the “Deep Impact” explosion, it is theoretically possible, just like the idea of pushing back the asteroid with rocket engines for example, but these projects are very ambitious and very dear, though the price becomes relative when human lives are at stake.
During the Air Force Association’s annual symposium held on September 17, 2018, Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX reported that she was asked a question she had never heard before: ” Will SpaceX launch military weapons? ” His response was, “If it was for the defense of this country, yes, I think we would.” (cf. Spacenews, 2018). Remember that SpaceX has already signed contracts with the Pentagon, in particular to launch spy satellites.
More recently, British engineers unveiled the drafts of a satellite which should track and monitor Apophis, until the day when governments decide to permanently remove this danger from our skies.
junya watanabe on