American company won the tender for the construction of a space Korablin capable of preventing collision of asteroid Apophis with the Earth.
In January of this aerospace giant flying at a distance of half a million kilometers from Earth (in astronomical terms it is negligible). Scientists predict that an asteroid will approach us again as early as 2029, and by 2036 may change its orbit so that Apophis will fall on our planet. In this case the power of the explosion will be equal to 400 Mt of TNT.
"Apophis-99942 - not fiction scientists and not a Hollywood blockbuster. This asteroid is a real threat, "- says Dan Gerachi, chairman of the planetary community. This asteroid came to the attention of scientists in 2004. Then the experts in one voice saying that to save the earth from the deadly giant man can only, as opposed to robots and other mechanisms able to quickly orient themselves on the ground and make decisions. The Braves, who agreed to go alone into battle with a celestial monster, then is not found, and scientists soon abandoned this idea and decided to entrust the salvation of the world technique.
The spacecraft, designed by SpaceWork Engineering, will face the apophyses in space and thus displace the center of gravity. Then the satellite will conduct regular monitoring of changes in the orbit of the cosmic body. Starting Korablin planning to implement by 2012. In the meantime, research will be conducted from terrestrial laboratories, but experts believe that these observations are not enough. Now scientists are focusing all their attention on how to collect as much information about an asteroid in the shortest possible time. Otherwise, the threat of a collision will be impossible to prevent. "Ideally, we need to change the orbit of Apophis already in 2025, to be absolutely sure that the asteroid will pass our planet" - said the project manager, Matthew Graham.
Scientists from SpaceWork Engineering for many years working on projects to prevent the collision of celestial bodies with the Earth's surface. In 2004, engineers have proposed a fundamentally new method of changing the orbits of asteroids. According to them, blow up asteroids with powerful nuclear weapons ineffective. It is much easier to send a celestial body a few small number of stations that can change its orbit, "chipping" pieces and throwing them in the opposite direction of traffic. "It's like throwing a stone from the boat. After a while it can be made to move, "- said Graham. Now experts are at the initial stage of this method. After completing the preliminary research plan for the project will be handed over the leadership of NASA, which will decide the question of its future funding.