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article imageEnd of the world: Canadian, U.S. astronauts warn of 'the big one'

By Andrew Moran     Sep 6, 2010 in Science
Montreal - Astronauts from Canada and the United States are urging governments to get ready for an asteroid that could potentially end civilization as we know it. Ignoring it, says astronauts, would be "foolish" and "ignorant."
In Hollywood motion pictures, there are always scenes of people standing around and watching the asteroid or meteor take its time flying through the sky about to make contact with planet Earth. Of course, an impact would not look like that because an asteroid or meteor would smash into Earth at supersonic speed and possibly even blind you (depending where you are).
Judging the importance and severity of an impact one day, you’d imagine that governments around the world have worked with the greatest of minds to create a plan that would defeat an asteroid. Unfortunately, no government or scientific body has established an official concrete preparation for such an incident.
However, American and Canadian astronauts of the Associate of Space Explorers (ASE) have submitted a report to the United Nations, which will discuss asteroid threats, how to detect objects that threaten Earth and different methods of deflecting the rock.
“You're just sticking your head in the sand if you think the world will live out its entire natural life until the end of our sun and never be hit by another big rock,” said President of the ASE and Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, in an interview with the Toronto Star. “That's just foolishness. That's just ignorance. We're rolling the dice that the big one is not coming right away.”
So what would be one way of getting rid of an asteroid? One method is to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid and knock it off its collision course. In a History Channel documentary, astronauts and scientists also discussed a method of shifting its gravity and putting it in a direction where it will never threaten Earth again.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is set to play a big part in saving the planet. The agency will launch the $15-million NEOSSat in March and its mission parameter is to detect asteroids near the Sun, notes CTV News.
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