Massive asteroid heading our way?
We have options, apparently. Just how viable they are -- well, let's hope we never have to find out.
The American Museum of Natural History offers a few ideas to avert catastrophe in a new video, "Deflecting Asteroids."
Watch the video, above.
Denton Ebel, curator in the museum's Division of Physical Sciences, says in the video that we could place something massive near the space rock that would provide enough gravitational force to pull it into another orbit. Or we could paint part of the asteroid with "something reflective that will allow sunlight itself to push the asteroid into a different orbit."
And of course there's the option of blowing the thing up, something Hollywood has already tried in such films as "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact." Scientists have considered the idea of destroying an asteroid with a nuclear bomb, though diverting it via an explosive may be a more realistic alternative.
Asteroids have crashed into Earth for billions of years. And a few have been doozies, including the 6-mile-wide chunk that eliminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Asteroids that can result in serious damage hit the planet every 200 or 300 years. Wednesday was the anniversary of a space object explosion that wiped out 800 square miles of Siberian forest on June 30, 1908.
It's possible to avoid a big hit, Ebel says in the video: "We have the technology to do this kind of thing."
Man, we hope so.
For even more thoughts on how to stop an asteroid, check out this video. Hey, we'll consider anything to avoid this:
H/T Laughing Squid