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What to Do About an Asteroid

Computers aren't just used to figure out the present?they can also predict the future. Supercomputers play out various scenarios having to do with global warming?and asteroid impacts. You can be sure that the scenario in Iraq was played out on superocomputers before we invaded. It's one way scientists can know what to do, in case the worst happens. Now a supercomputer has simulated how to keep the earth safe from an asteroid impact. This is what killed the dinosaurs and it?s almost inevitable that it will eventually wipe us out as well?unless we're prepared.

The latest idea is that when we know that an asteroid is going to collide with earth, we fly up and fasten an explosive device to it. Leonard David writes in Space.com that a supercomputer in New Mexico called Red Storm has modeled exactly how much explosive power it would take to destroy or at least deflect an incoming asteroid using this method.

Astronomer Mark Boslough has discovered that using many, low-yield deflecting explosions will work much faster than using a single high-yield device. He says, "You want to solve the problem quickly. Even if we know about an impact decades in advance, the public perception will be that time is of the essence."

It would be best to use explosives to deflect the asteroid, rather than blow it up. Boslough says, "If you do break the asteroid, you want to make sure none of the big pieces hit the Earth."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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