Russian scientists are planning to tweak their ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) to target near-earth objects (NEOs), according to a report by news agency TASS. The news came from Sabit Saitgarayev, the leading researcher at the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau. The projectiles could be aimed at meteorites measuring 20-50 meters in size.
A meteorite is a chunk of debris that can originate from a sun-orbiting asteroid and survives the trip through the atmosphere to reach Earth’s surface. The scientists plan to test their missiles on the asteroid 99942 Apophis, which Saitgarayev believes may pass “dangerously close” to Earth in 2036. There is a general consensus as to this expected close encounter, though NASA has “effectively ruled out the possibility” of an impact. READ MORE