Aiming for Armageddon: Russia Scientists Want to Shoot Asteroid Apophis in 2029

From Russia With Love Credit: Armageddon

From Russia With Love
Credit: Armageddon

Apparently some Russian scientists have been watching the SYFY channel’s horrendous Saturday night movies, and would like to make their own contribution to the “What could possibly go wrong? ” category.

From TASS:

“Russian scientists have developed a project of upgrading intercontinental ballistic missiles to destroy near-Earth meteorites 20-50 meters in size, leading researcher of the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau Sabit Saitgarayev told TASS on Thursday.

The scientists would like to test the improved missiles’ capabilities against the asteroid Apophis expected to come dangerously close to the Earth in 2036, the scientist said.”

The story goes on to state that the primary reason for using ICBM’s is the launch on demand capability, one which is not currently available in liquid fueled launch vehicles with cryogenic propellants. It is does not specify what sort of payload the ICBM might be carrying.

Apophis, named after an Egyptian god of evil, was only discovered in 2004, and initially caused a scare when predictions indicated at 2.7% chance of striking Earth on April 13th, 2029. Unhelpfully, that happens to be a Friday, but on the plus side at least for Americans, impending Armageddon at least provides a plausible excuse for late filing of income taxes. On the other hand, even if the world got lucky, a return visit scheduled for 2036 offered another chance for the dinosaurs to stage a belated comeback.

As it turned out however, revised predictions made during a 2013 radar scan resulted in the 325 meter space rock being downgraded to the “near miss only” category, with a 2068 return still be a possible cause for concern. If by that point the only launch on demand boosters are still ICBM’s, perhaps its time to give up anyway. Assuming that is, Russia doesn’t follow a SyFy script in 2029 and deflect it right into Earth.


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1 Comment on "Aiming for Armageddon: Russia Scientists Want to Shoot Asteroid Apophis in 2029"

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  1. Keith Pickering says:

    Completely off-topic, but last week Gwen Shotwell, speaking at the Commercial Space Transportation Conference, promised that Falcon Heavy’s payloads would be updated on their website by “late this week or early next week” to reflect full-thrust cores. Now it’s the end of “next week” and no update. Hm.

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