Off the Edge of the Map: Russia to Arm World Against Asteroid

Every once in a while (though it seems more frequently in this oft-strange world we live in) a story comes along that, while true, seems to be the work of Hollywood writers.

Case in point: Russia’s battle plan to save earth from an asteroid collision.

In this case – unlike virtually, every single Hollywood movie (…yawn…)- it won’t be the U.S.A. that saves the day. Russian scientists have stepped forward with a (vague) plan to send a spacecraft up to bump the asteroid off course.

The over 1,100-feet long asteroid Apophis is expected to pass close to earth in 2029 and in 2036. Most astronomers believe Apophis will pass earth by in 2029, but there is a chance gravitational pull could cause the asteroid to slingshot back and hit in 2036. Calculations by NASA in October put the chance of collision at 1-in-250,000, but as scientist Dr. William Ailor quipped to the Toronto Star “that’s a pretty high probability if you’re betting the planet.”

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) scientists plan to remove the threat. “People’s lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people,” Anatoly Perminov, Roscosmos agency head said, according to The Guardian. Perminov reportedly has plans to ask NASA and the European Space Agency to help.