Nuclear Interceptors Designed For Planetary Protection

Should humanity retain nuclear weapons for the purpose of planetary defense? NASA is working on it.


(Nuclear interceptor diagram)

[The] Obama Administration’s new Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, signed an agreement with the Russians that the Americans said could open the door to new collaboration between nuclear weapons scientists on asteroid defense. The topic has been particularly interesting to the Russians since an asteroid the size of a tour-bus exploded high in the skies of Russia’s Chelyabinsk region last February.

President Barack Obama has committed the United States to seeking a world without nuclear weapons, pushed for joint reductions in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals and sought tighter security for nuclear explosives worldwide. “When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp,” Obama said during his landmark speech in Prague in April 2009.

But in recent years, advocates of the use of nuclear weapons to counter space threats have been gaining ground. NASA is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to study the idea, and the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are itching to work with the Russians on it.

Sci-FI movie buffs will certainly remember the 1979 movie Meteor describes how the world's scientists (particularly the US and the USSR) work together to use nuclear weapons to protect the planet from an 8 kilometer-wide asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

Via Public Integrity; special thanks to Dewtey for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/16/2013)

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