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article imageNukes not the best option to stop asteroids, says Apollo astronaut

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Jul 30, 2008 in Science
Apollo 9 legend Rusty Schweickart slammed NASA's plan to stop earth bound asteroids out of space with nuclear weapons saying that nukes is not the best option to deal with the threat.
Last year, NASA had come out with a report planning to use nuclear missiles to blast asteroids before entering the earth's orbit. In fact, NASA had proposed to set up a permanent nuclear interceptor system in space to stop asteroids.
Speaking at a public lecture in San Francisco, Rusty Schweickart , the astronaut-turned-scientist who has spend more than 240 hours in space criticized NASA's plan to set up a nuclear interceptor in space. According to him, cash strapped NASA was under tremendous political pressure from Washington to endorse such a programme. The ulterior motive of the politicians was to put nuclear weapons in space.
Schweickart, who heads B612 Foundation which researches on deflecting asteroids from the earth said
We intends to "use gentler tactics" to observe and eventually deflect asteroids. It's totally make love, not intergalactic war, man. These new methods include using more powerful telescopes as they come online throughout this century to ID targets ASAP, as well as unmanned spacecraft and probes. Most asteroids could be redirected easily by rear-ending or towing them with these craft.
He compared earth's citizens to be standing blindfolded in a batting cage. We know there is a threat ,but don't know when it is going to happen.
Right now, we can't do anything, but we know that some balls are hurling towards us. In a few years, our blindfold will come off, and the whole world will be forced to decide -- together -- when to duck.
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